Where were we when we last saw Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2? Oh right, we were a bit taken aback by Sigma’s lack of gore compared to the original Ninja Gaiden II on 360. For the record, here’s where that stands:
Above: Looks like a ninja sleepover (PS3 screen)
Above: Ahh…that’s more like it (360 screen)
Yes, we’re still angry about Sigma 2’s substitution of bloody limbs with blue smoke. However, the amount of new content included helps to negate the lack of blood spurts and limb-littered rooms. We recently played through some of the single-player mode – as well as Sigma 2’s new co-op mode – as Dead or Alive’s purple-haired ninja Ayane.
Between the three available characters in the version we played – Ryu, Ayane and Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword alumna Momiji – Ayane was easily the fastest. Ripping foes apart with her dual short swords and lightning-fast kicks (not Chun-Li fast, but fast) was very satisfying. Her finishers were also pretty amazing, especially the one where she flips onto an enemy’s shoulders, crouches down and decapitates the poor guy. Her Reverse Wind technique (or dodge, if you haven’t played Ninja Gaiden) also enables her to navigate the environments much more quickly than Ryu or Momiji. To compare the three, Ryu is the most well-rounded character, Ayane the weakest but fastest, and Momiji the slowest but strongest with her naginata (a Japanese polearm).
After spending a fair amount of time with Ayane, we can’t help but appreciate butterflies more than ever before. Here’s why:
But what would happen if the quickness of Ayane was combined with the power of Momiji? All answers lie within Sigma 2’s co-op mode, which enables one or two players to choose from four playable characters, who are then thrown into any of the game’s 30 monster-filled arenas. We haven’t yet had a chance to play as scythe-wielding Rachel (who will be in the final game), but Ryu, Momiji, and Ayane were all selectable in the unfinished version we played.
We were able to choose from three different arenas: two from the Acolyte difficulty and one from Warrior difficulty. The two Acolyte arenas were just a mess of enemies that needed killing, with points awarded for combo chains, finishers, and insta-kills. Ninpo, the strong magic attacks from single player, are also included in co-op. Here, they can be combined, engaging both players in an even stronger attack. Meanwhile, the Warrior arena was pretty much the same as the Acolyte ones, except there was a boss fight to add to the challenge. We're hoping the rest of the Warrior arenas will also feature unique boss fights.
Fans of the Gaiden series will finally have a chance to retest their ninja skills Sept 22, when Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is scheduled to launch. Until then, we recommend purifying your thumbs to prepare for unleashing a slew of well-executed combos on your foes with Ryu, Ayane, Momiji, or Rachel.
Aug 4, 2009
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