REVIEW- Ninja Gaiden Σ Plus 2
Ryu Hayabusa is back, in an ultra-violent hack and slash wall running ninjafest. Australia’s first R18+ release and historic landmark in Australian gaming. The Dragon Clan’s sacred relic has been stolen, if not recovered, life as we know it is over and all hell will break loose.
Platforms: PS Vita
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
As far as hand held gaming goes, the PS Vita is capable of really great graphics. Ninja Gaiden Σ Plus 2 does NOT disappoint at all. The cut scenes are animated beautifully, the background is generally crisp and the characters are capable of conveying emotions. However, as a port the voices don’t fit the mouth movements very well, you can’t really fault the game for that though. What you CAN blame the game for is that some of the levels seemed pixelated and grass does not look like grass in the jungle levels.
There is a mass variety of levels, from a ruined modern city, to a werewolf castle all the way to a clock tower. Most look very good and hold up on the PS Vita.
The sounds were all clean and clear. The enemies all sounded like you would expect, even down to death groans. The weapons make the slashing and swishing sound and were spot on as well as the sounds of the ranged weapons and explosions. The voice acting was brilliant and some of the time I wish I could have viewed a montage of the cut scenes just to watch it during my lunch break.
- If you go in to any Ninja Gaiden game without the expectation of ninja weapons, fighting against ninjas, dragons and other fiends, you need to go and start from the first game. This is a ninja game, the focus is going to be on button mashing combos, swords, bows, bow staff and other cliché ninja staples.
- That being said, I don’t mind wall running but there is a few levels that go something like this: single wall run, double wall run and then single onto a pipe to swing into another single followed by a double. One mistake, and it’s back to the start of the wall run and 30 minutes of frustration.
- I loved that there are button and movement combos, instead of just mash square 40 thousand times, there is light attack and heavy attack. Time them right in a certain combination and sometimes with a jump and you have a nice string of massive damage. Also you have magic scrolls along the way that give you an extra attack, a super attack you might say. Though these didn’t seem to have a lot of use on the bosses, mainly they seem tuned to taking out minions.
- If you ever doubted why this is 18+, the game is ultra violent. Your attacks sever limbs some times and after that you can decapitate and dissect most enemies. The decapitation animation alone would send a game like this headed towards an 18+ rating, but with limb removal I have no doubt at all that this should be 18+.
- Also, you don’t just play as Hayabusa, you also get to play as several BOOBS. Sorry, let me try that again. BOOBS. Sorry, distracted. BOOBS. oh fine, see the picture below.
ENEMIES AND WEAPONS
The usual assortment of ninja weapons are here, swords, double swords, tonfas, bow staff, ranged weapons and the list goes on. What’s great id the fact that as you progress you get the chance to upgrade the weapons to shiny versions!
Items can be picked up along the way or bought in shops that are either health boosts, scroll recharges or resurection spells that will instantly revive you, should you die horribly.
You have your standard short and long range enemies who use a variety of weapons including magic, machine guns, claws and the list goes on. These minions provide a decent challenge and don’t seem to get old or make you roll your eyes. The boss fights can be very unforgiving, but with a few deaths you can figure it out.
The franchise staple option of Japanese audio is mysteriously missing and the frame rate can drop when multiple processes are happening. But it is a fun game, the gameplay is interesting, the boss fights are varied and the combat is fluid and not too difficult. The cut scenes are amazing and the story is well written.
I would recommend you pick up a copy and try it for yourself, even if you’re not a Ninja Gaiden fan. Also, I dig the prologue motion comic in the game menu.
7/10 Ninja stars