Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 cuts back on gore

Xbox 360 owners have been enjoying Ninja Gaiden 2 for a whole year already and until now PS3 owners have had to settle for their 'Sigma' version of the first game for their ninja killing fix. Finally an updated version of NG2 is heading to the Sony machine, but while it's bigger and better in almost every respect, there's one thing that's certainly not. Gore.

Play the PS3 version after the Xbox one and you'll notice a distinct drop in the amount of blood spilled during fights. Not only does the floor look spattered rather than drenched, beheadings now feature a blue magical glow in place of the claret shoulder fountain of before. Check out this video and see the difference for yourself:

Odd, isn't it? Especially considering all the ultra-violent beheadings, dismemberment and impaled bodies are all still present. With brutal killing such an integral part of the game, this is still clearly 18-rated, so why the pussyfooting? We asked the game's director and producer Yosuke Hayashi, who told us (through a translator) that the censorship was deliberate:

"Each game has its own concept and with Ninja Gaiden 2, the focus was on extreme violence. But with Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, we really questioned whether violence is a necessity for a game, so we decided to move away from that trend. So the violence 'approach' is not the way we approached the development of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. Being able to unlock higher levels of gore would be out of kilter with the concept of the game."

But let's look past the blood. The game is essentially about killing with style and it certainly has plenty of that. Characters dart around the screen at inhuman speeds, dancing away from projectiles and spinning around in a blur of blades, bruises and breasts.

Breasts? Yup, that's right. While Ryu Hayabusa's story is still the meat of the game here (no pun intended), PS3 gamers get a whole host of new girls to play with, each with their own sub-story.

Rachel returns from the first Ninja Gaiden Sigma with her S&M-style leather outfit, but adding a more dainty, feminine touch is Dead or Alive favourite Ayane making a return appearance in the series. She's more top-heavy than ever but still moves like some kind of lethal ballet dancer stuck on fast forward.

Then there's new girl Momiji. DS owners may remember her from Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword but she's never been rendered in glorious HD before. Hayashi told us that there's always the possibility that new characters will make their way across to other Team Ninja IPs, so here's hoping she appears in Dead or Alive 5. And our Sexy Fan Art gallery too. Feel free to get on that…

Some moves only become accessible to you after you've injured an enemy, which is also when they're often at their most dangerous. Lop off a leg and they'll crawl towards you, in scenes eerily reminiscent of the Black Knight from Monty Python.

Hit triangle and you can put him out of his misery with a devastating finishing move. There are also magic attacks and charged combos unique to each character, both of which you can see in Momiji's video above, and they certainly add some welcome variety to the hack 'n' slash gameplay.

The game has benefited from the extra time and Hayashi says he's certain that this is Team Ninja's best game yet. He's had time to tweak the camera, which now features a 'reset to centre' button, mapped to R1. It still gets caught behind things every now and then, but at least the option's there to sort that with one button press now.

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  • Japanjack - July 3, 2009 7:44 a.m.

    Now I'm no fanboy, but when I get the sequel to one of my favorite games for $60, put in quite a few hours, get the downloadable content, and beat the crap out of that it is disappointing to see that I was playing the less amazing version. Now I understand over time things change and a lot of this wasn't thought of at the time, or whatever reason they had... But I would like some downloadable content for all the new modes and characters, I mean this is ridiculous! I'll be buying I PS3 soon, I just don't really want to have to buy the game and beat it all over for the new things; that is ludicrous. Also, epic recaptcha: Recommended Barbecue!!!!!!!
  • RebornKusabi - July 1, 2009 9:42 p.m.

    I really couldn't ****ing stand Ninja Gaiden 2 because of the difficulty level. Glad to hear they toned that shit down. Also, I dig the inclusion of Momiji as I was a huge fan of the Ninja Gaiden DS game. Ayane is alright... I don't know- I loved the hell out of the first Ninja Gaiden (I own the original, Black and Sigma) so the sequel really dissapointed me in many ways and I'm glad Itagaki is gone because I hated his elitist bullshit that he put on Team Ninja. I greatly look forward to a Dead or Alive game without a cheating bitch of a computer!
  • lewis42025 - June 30, 2009 7:25 p.m.

    very interesting article. i don't know how i feel about there not being any gore, cuz i honestly found that to be one of ninja gaiden 2's most endearing qualities. least it was fun to look at lol. quick question, what does amalgamation mean???
  • crumbdunky - July 6, 2009 8:17 p.m.

    And GR-very other site feels that the resolution and detail is now better on the PS3 game so why fly in the face of that with old pictures? The OBLY advantage the 360 version has graphically is now the AA lacking on PS3 version(which does happen sometimes I agree)but, that apart, there's no doubt that Sigma is already the better looking game. Unless you're a blood fetishist. Also, I read somewhere else that losing the gore was "dumbing down the game"-is bloodlust now a sign of the intellectual? Still a disgrace that the camera wasn't fixed for 360 though-properly poor show from Tecmo-they'll lose fans doing that stuff.
  • SwampRock - July 3, 2009 9:37 p.m.

    Sony wants to even the playing field after being denied so much DLC from Microsoft eh? Guess Bill Gates isn't a fanatic for delicious ninja females
  • SG1979 - July 3, 2009 1:36 a.m.

    Fairly poor comparison shots since both are taken off compressed vids. And even then, the 2nd PS3 shot shows bloom lighting absent on the 360. I've spoken to one developer who was at E3 and played the demo, who noted better lighting, specular maps, self shadowing etc. on the new version. Then one of the guys at the Digital Foundry analyzed the screens concluding that the new version runs at full 1280x720. The 360 original ran at a sub HD res of 1120x585. So aside from the censored violence, there is no way that the 360 original is in fact the better looking one. What's interesting to note that the texture resolution is the same in both versions.
  • Doomwaffle - July 1, 2009 6:20 p.m.

    Sometimes I think you mean Ryu < Ayane for two reasons. Amirite guys?
  • crumbdunky - July 1, 2009 8:21 a.m.

    I'm a big series fan and last time out bought the original 360 game and Sigma on PS3. Also, I remember the PS3 version being just as good, if not better, looking than it's 360 counterpart back then despite looking more "jaggy"(which is a usual problem for games going from AA heavy 360 to PS3 which deals with things differently)during development-many PS3 games really get brushed up on in the last month or two of development too so I wouldn't worry unduly over that score. This time, playing through NG2 was, apart from obviously being hard,really made a chore for me byu that camera so the biggest thing is them fixing that-though for 360 only gamers it's really poor that they haven't allowed a patch to fix the original too, imo. Allied to that the new content will put more people in the same, buying both, boat as myself(I wold imagine anyway)and the variety is very welcome-the co-op being a big bonus IF it's good. As for the gore? Well, I'm glad it's been scaled back as NG2 got a bit silly with it for my taste(I felt Itigaki went too far) and it dominated the screen at times, and with that camera, ruined some of the action. That said there doesn't look to be much more than footprints this time which just seems far too little so a middle way would be best for me. Whatever, it's great that PS3 gamers get the chance to play the game at last and though I can't agree completely with the design choices the big plus is the camera fix which should have come waaay back. And again, as the game supposedly will finally run at the same fps and a higher res than last time I wouldn't concern myself with how the two games look at this stage. Sorry, went on a bit eh? Well, I do love me some ninja action-and even better with back breaking breasts, no?
  • norid - July 1, 2009 5:46 a.m.

    @AnoymouZ just one of the many mysteries of life.
  • SwampRock - July 1, 2009 2:53 a.m.

    I have to comment now because of my recaptcha just for ayane. rosebush that XDDD
  • AnonymouZ - July 1, 2009 2:24 a.m.

    @norid how do ninjas keep attacking the same guy, in waves, after waves, after waves, after waves, after waves and he never dies/they never fail to show up? Why is there magic in the game, when i can't really perform a kamehameha? oh wait... i got it...
  • DasavageJ - June 30, 2009 8:52 p.m.

    Ironically i just got my copy of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 1 today and I just wanted to point out the whole R1 Recenter ability is remnisent of that game. Also I was wonderin if their might be same screen co-op?
  • norid - June 30, 2009 5:43 p.m.

    how does Ayane move with that load on her chest with out back problems?
  • Cyberninja - June 30, 2009 4:25 p.m.

    interesting Recaptcha:lizzie his
  • skyline19 - June 30, 2009 4:18 p.m.

    Can't wait!
  • garnsr - June 30, 2009 4:04 p.m.

    Nice butterfly.