Tecmo and Team Ninja have finally brought the legend of Ryu Hayabusa to Sony’s small screen. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus is out now on the PlayStation Vita. A modified port of the 2009 PS3 release, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus brings all the fast-paced, high-flying hack-and-slash you could want from a Ninja Gaiden game on the PS Vita, but doesn’t really innovate anywhere.
I’ll admit that I’m really torn on this game. There are parts where I am completely in love with being a ninja; I run on walls, I decapitate my enemies and generally feel like a total badass. Then the game goes and pretends to be ultra-precision platformer, or it tells me I need to block more, only to turn around and let enemies immediately break through my block. This is when the game begins to lose its luster and my hands want to let my Vita fly.
If there is really any problem with this game, is that there is nothing to differentiate it from any other game in this genre. The controls feel tight and fluid, although the game does demonstrate the occasional frame rate drop. The game looks good on Vita’s OLED screen. You can see that Team Ninja spent some time working on textures to make the game pop on the 5-inch screen, but it doesn’t really look any better than Uncharted: Golden Abyss or Assassin’s Creed: Revelation. I do like the increased blood and dismemberment over the PS3 title, but that’s not really enough to carry the game.
My major complaint with the game is the camera. You would think after many games in this franchise, the camera wouldn’t be such a problem, but at times, it’s crippling. I understand the developers want to make certain parts feel cinematic, but I have a second analog stick, just let me have control of the camera instead of me fighting it all the time. If I was able to swing the camera around, I may not have to fight looking at walls or corners or trees or lamps instead of my enemies.
On the flip side, where Team Ninja succeeded was in how the boss fights play out. One of the major pieces to games in this genre is how epic the boss fights feel. Going up against an animated Statue of Liberty gives you both perspective and the impression of heroism. The boss fights really broke the usual monotony of block, strike, strike, combo, repeat and forced me to break out of my comfort zone to tackle the problems differently. The best part of it all is Team Ninja does not fall prey to the worst sin imaginable: having the end of the boss fight come down to a quick time event (QTE). Instead of having to break out of the game in order to force you to press buttons at certain times, NGS2+ just forgoes that in order to break into a cut-scene to have your character do a super-sweet finishing move. No boring button pushes, just you feeling like a badass super ninja.
Overall, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus is a solid hack-and-slash game. You will not be really be surprised by anything, it has tight controls, a decent story and looks good on the PS Vita. That is also its problem; nothing in the game will surprise you. If you are a fan of Ninja Gaiden or games in this genre, especially if you haven’t played this before on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, this is a solid pick up that you will enjoy putting the hours into. Unfortunately, I do not believe this will appeal to anyone outside of that group.
You can now pick up Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus in the PlayStation Store on the PS Vita for $39.99.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus VITA Official Launch Trailer