|System: PS Vita|
|Dev: Team Ninja|
|Pub: Tecmo Koei|
|Release: February 26, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 544p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity|
This is all well and good for those who have played a version of Ninja Gaiden 2 before, but what of those who haven’t? How does NGS2P stand on its own merits as a game, and not as an entry in the Ninja Gaiden franchise?
Discounting the slowdown, this is a very attractive game. Even with a reduced resolution, many of the levels feature complex architecture (sometimes to the point of obfuscating objectives) and appealing arenas in which to do battle with one’s foes. The combat itself flows beautifully when the game does, forcing the player to shift seamlessly between attack and defense as the enemy aggressively pursues them, even the lowest of the low providing a credible threat if left unchecked. The wealth of weapons on display and precise controls further serve the action, ensure that one does not want for variety and that Ryu is able to react with split-second timing to changing circumstances.
That said, the plot is still a near non-entity, the platforming that occasionally breaks up the combat ranges from inoffensive-but-dull to controller-chucking-annoying. Ryu’s movement has a fair amount of inertia, which is fine for launching him into combat, but not so great for precise jumping action.
In comparison to what’s out there today, though, NGS2P feels like a relic. While the combat is fun, it’s the only real hook in the game, and enemies don’t really provide enough variety to remain engaging for the entire length of the campaign. Their placement, too, is somewhat haphazard, with them sometimes popping up as you enter narrow hallways only to be totally absent from large, perfectly outfitted rooms. It also feels very “flat,” since foes will mostly be attacking you in straight lines long the ground, rarely availing themselves of terrain or altitude (not that Ryu’s controls or abilities would lend themselves to such a combat system). Maybe I’ve been spoiled by DmC, with its extremely mobile, multi-tiered combat and quick-swapping of weapons, or Metal Gear Rising and its meticulous placement of enemies to make its levels actual scenarios, rather than slash-and-smash galleries of foes.
This game’s very existence perplexes me. It smacks of having been produced by committee, with anything that might have provided a technical challenge either altered, excised, or ignored. It is visually appealing, but its performance is lacking. At least one of the additional modes is engaging, but the online functionality that could have given it lasting appeal is absent. And the gameplay itself, the core of the experience, is faithful to the original, but lacks value in the face of advances in the genre. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus is a sub-par port of a game that was impressive when it launched, but has since been overshadowed.
Date: March 1, 2013