|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Team Ninja||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Tecmo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 29, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
All in all, the Team Missions mode is great fun. It is the defining and truly distinguishing feature of this title. Not only does it provide a lot of replay value, it amplifies the challenge factor immensely. Unfortunately, I can't attest to the stability of the mode in terms of online play, as we were given review code for the debug unit. As such, we were unable to get online with other reviewers or developers. Nevertheless, we're sure that playing Sigma 2's Team Missions, both locally and online, will be the highlight of the game, especially for those who have already played through the story in Ninja Gaiden II.
After beating the story on any difficulty setting, PS3 owners will be treated to some other unmentionable exclusives, but they'll also get their hands on the Chapter Challenge mode. Much like Team Missions, players will try and accrue as much Karma as possible in order to leave their legacy on the leaderboards. After the chapter is complete, you'll be given a ranking - from Ninja Dog to Ninja Master - that encapsulates your mastery of that portion of the story. If you want to up the ante even further, you'll have to go back through the game on the highest difficulty setting in order to unlock the next set of Chapter Challenges.
Gameplay and control in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, unlike most other aspects of the title, are identical to what was found in Ninja Gaiden II. Sigma 2 is the same, tight action-ninja-brawler that makes you feel like a deadly weapon. Starting off as an accessible, forgiving button-masher, the game's difficulty and complexity steadily ramp up, forcing players to get comfortable with the combos and master new ninja techniques by finding scrolls and upgrading the weaponry. The biggest difference between the controls on either console's version is simply the hardware-specific controllers - for longtime DualShock users, you'll be happy with the comfortable, perfectly mapped actions and combos.
Visually, though attention was paid to make the game look even better than the previous version, it is imperceptibly so. All of the textures are equally shiny, and the character animations are every bit as smooth. What does stand out slightly is the solidity and stability of the framerate. Shifting the camera around the environments quickly reveals very limited seaming and screen-tearing, and other CheatCC staff mentioned that previously permeable walls seem to be impervious. These graphical changes may be limited but, needless to say, the game looks awesome. However, environments are still quite sterile. Aurally, the game is also identical. The voice acting and sound effects are still top-notch, and the funky bass line whilst in Muramasa's shop is solid gold.
Players expecting a wildly different experience from what was featured in Ninja Gaiden II will be disappointed. On the other hand, if you've been holding out to play this game on the PS3, you'll be happy to know that your patience has been rewarded. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 has enough extra content and polish to make it the hands down, definitive version of the game.
CCC Editor / News Director