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If you include Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword for the DS, the newly-announced PS3-exclusive Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 will be the sixth release for the franchise since Tecmo relaunched it on the Xbox in 2004. That's a lot of games in only five years' time, but during their announcement of Sigma 2 at GDC, Tecmo got to explain how this latest slash-em-up will live up to their concept of the "ultimate Ninja Gaiden game."
The development team’s old leader Tomonubu Itagaki may be gone, but Team Ninja is still around, and they want Sigma 2 to be the Ninja Gaiden game no one ever forgets. To accomplish this, they'll be mixing in elements from all the previous titles in the series. In addition to containing the complete single-player campaign from Ninja Gaiden 2 on the Xbox 360, this upgrade will include bosses and characters from previous Ninja Gaiden games. Momiji from Dragon Sword will make the jump to home consoles, and Ayane from Dead or Alive will also join Ryu, bringing the total playable character count up to three. Strangely, Rachel, who was playable in Ninja Gaiden Sigma, is absent in Sigma 2, although Tecmo hinted that she will likely be involved in future games.
While Momiji and Ayane will be locked from the start, requiring a play-through with Ryu if you want to experience their single-player campaigns, they will be immediately playable in one of Sigma 2's other big new features: online co-op. With two friends taking the roles of Ryu and one of his beautiful female companions, you'll be able to connect on PlayStation Network and run through co-op missions for the first time in the series' history. This is pure co-op – fighting your buddies is not allowed – but if decimating demons is as fun with a pal as it is solo, this game mode should provide another satisfying way to rack up combos.
While we're yet to actually touch the game ourselves, Tecmo made it very clear that Sigma 2 is more than just a port. Along with the game-changing additions mentioned above, they're also promising new weapons for Ryu, tweaks to the camera and difficulty issues that plagues the 360 version, and more. Ninja Gaiden 2 had a ton of promise but ended up falling short. If Sigma 2 can genuinely deliver on both fixing those problems and adding a mess of new content, Ryu Hayabusa could be a contender once more. We'll find out for sure when Sigma 2 arrives for the PlayStation 3 this fall.
Mar 25, 2009