By Matt Vickery
Ninja Gaiden, or Ninja Ryukenden as it was known in arcades, started out on the NES from developer Team Ninja and publisher Tecmo. The game was resurrected years later on the Xbox with the name Ninja Gaiden. The game became a smash hit and prompted Team Ninja to re-release the Xbox version of Ninja Gaiden a second time; they called it Ninja Gaiden Black. Now, one year after Black was released, Tecmo has ported Ninja Gaiden Black to the Playstation 3. Hence, Ninja Gaiden Sigma was born.
Ninja Gaiden is an action adventure game where you control Ryu Hayabusa. As Ryu, it’s your duty to avenge the destruction of your village and recover the magical Ryuken, both done at the hands of the Vigor Empire. In addition to Ryu, you will be given the chance to play as Rachael, the devil hunter from the original Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox. Ryu, after crashing his Zeppelin, is warned by Rachael of the Empire’s strength, and so their destiny’s intertwine. Rachael will have a total of four chapters, but the remaining sixteen are devoted to Ryu’s story.
When you first take a look at Ninja Gaiden Sigma, you will notice the sharp graphics. It will definitely be one of the more beautiful looking games on the Playstation 3. The game runs at 1080p natively and maintains 60fps during combat sequences, cinematics, and platforming alike. The game is vibrant and full of color, and the attention to detail will immerse you quickly.
The games controls are fairly simple and once mastered can be deadly. You pull off combos by combining strong, weak, and projectile attacks, while pushing the analog stick in different directions. While in in the middle of battle, you can hit the d-pad as a quick route to using your items. The L1 button is used to block or dodge enemies’ attacks; when playing against the stronger opponents, this becomes paramount to survival. The game can be very fast paced and button mashing isn’t recommended, especially on higher difficulties, as your enemies will out-maneuver and out-damage you. The platforming is fairly simple to control: you can pull off moves such as running up a wall by running towards the wall and jumping, or running along a wall to get across a gap by running diagonal towards a wall and jumping.
Sigma will have you solve small puzzles and venture out to find a weapon or new item throughout each level. Boss battles are customary at the end of each stage, and platforming elements can be found everywhere. Collecting “essence,” the in-game currency one uses to purchase items and upgrade weapons, is done through defeating enemies or destroying objects.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma will feature a few new additions never before seen in a Ninja Gaiden: new levels, weapons, game modes, costumes, and the PS3-optimized graphics engine. There is also a change to the cut scenes in the game: instead of seeing some CGI scenes, you will now see them with in-game graphics.
On the PSN, Tecmo has released a playable demo. By playing the demo and finishing it on various difficultly levels, you will unlock some goodies in the release version of the game. The game will reward you with additional essence that you can use immediately. The full game is expected to hit store shelves in the US around June 26 and has recently launched in Japan. So go out and download the demo now and give it a shot!
[EditorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Note: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s come to my attention that this title will be releasing in NA on July 3rd, instead of the above stated June 26th. While I doubt this mistake will throw a wrench in anyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plans, please keep this in mind. Thanks!