Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus

By Joseph K. Saulnier

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus is as basic as you get. Hand and slash, hack and slash. It’s the same basic formula as every next-gen Ninja Gaiden game. Literally. Exactly the same. The only thing that changes are the enemies and the weapons.

The story begins as a young, busty woman is looking for Ryu Hayabusa. She is almost immediately abducted as Ryu is attacked by a rogue ninja, but not before she manages to tell Ryu that someone is trying to awaken the greater fiend and his village will be attacked. Ryu then sets off on a journey to stop the greater fiend from awakening; all the while defeating those who dare stand in his way.

The game has you running around the levels where, in the end, you usually encounter a boss. Using Ryu’s skills like jumping around, using his sixth sense, running on walls… you know… ninja stuff, will help you get by. The one weakness is the camera work in the game. It has always been shoddy, and it is your most difficult enemy. It will cause you to miss locations, items and other equally important items/events.

The game also suffered from consistent frame-rate issues, causing the game to stutter and slow way down at times. It seemed to happen when the screen became extremely populated with enemies. Its kind a sad thing really, considering that this game has far less an enemy count than the original title.

In case you haven’t figured it out, especially by that last cue, the game is a port. It started as an Xbox title, was ported to the PS3, and now the PS Vita. There were a few less desirable changes to the PS3 version (which released 4 years ago, believe it or not), many of which made it the Vita version. A big difference between the PS3 and Vita, as mentioned, is that there are not nearly as many enemies in the game. This seems to make it too easy. But, the Vita managed to add back in the gore that was missing from the PS3. So no more purple blood!

Given how network friendly the Vita is, it was a bit of a disappointment that the Tag Missions were redesigned so that your partner is the CPU. A CPU controlled character who on many instances went off to fight opponents, but not do a very good job of it. It ended up just making it far more annoying and harder than the PS3 version.

The single chapters allow you to play as Ayane, Momoji and Rachel. This can be fun, but also disappointing. Aside from Ayane, the characters have no real contribution to the main story arch. It seems that they were just included to make the game last a little longer.

My overall impression is that this game is both satisfying and disappointing at the same time. I am extremely happy that Team Ninja added the blood and gore back into the game, but it just doesn’t feel challenging. Also, the slowdowns from the camera speed becomes extremely painful as you are in the thick of things. What’s really confusing is how the first Sigma Plus didn’t suffer from any of these problems, but this port is littered with them. From a horrible camera to uneven level design, and combat that tends you cheat you as often as it challenges you, the issues in Sigma 2 Plus take too much from the game and leaves me just wanting to turn on the PS3 version.

3 stars out 5.