Review by SRR Capdown

"Casual Gamers Beware!"

Ninja Gaiden II... is not at all accessible for those who just want a casual romp through a game. I picked it up thinking it looked like a nice hack and slash ninja game, not expecting it to be one of the most ridiculously challenging games I've ever played. This is one of those games where you can tell if you're out of your depth after an hour or so of play and on its easiest setting. It appears, with regards to this game, I'm swimming too far into the deep end to enjoy myself.

Graphically it is superb, one of the finest looking games I've played. It is a truly beautiful game. The animation of the characters is excellent, even in the mad flurry of attacks you are giving and or receiving in the heat of battle. The water and fire effects are superb, which at least in my opinion, is a great feat as these two effects are often pulled off very poorly and it's about time. The graphics are let down a tad by repetition and it's art style though. Too many enemies look identical and the giant spider bosses are rather unimaginative. Limb severing! A feature used in enough in my honest opinion. However, it's used far too much in Ninja Gaiden. It's nice when it's a rarity, but when every enemy is left legless, armless and headless it's just loses it's impressive and sought after nature.

The sounds are great. They're far from being intrusive, the music sets the mood enough and the weapon noises are flawless. This is one of the best aspects of the game, as it helps you keep focus and doesn't distract you too much. Distraction is one thing you do NOT need when playing this game, as one accidental slip of the defence button can mean you're pretty much done for. This leads me on to;

The combat system. It's decent enough and works quite well, but it's really dependent on having The Flash-like reflexes and the ability to instantly master the special fighting techniques. I found learning the necessary techniques hard when there are a dozen enemy ninjas and archers surrounding you and hitting you from all angles and ranges. At times the game seems to add a level of depth to what would otherwise be considered button mashing with some really cool combos to perform, as well as a good ‘spell' casting system. But then at other times it completely destroys the concept of button mashing, and not in a good way. You're forced, to not only button mash to get some kills, but you can find yourself in a frenzy of button hitting, button mashing, button squishing, button jamming and any other pressing motion you can think of. So unless you can master the fighting techniques quickly and learn to pull off some stylish combos, you'll grow tired of this constant frenzy of button pressing.

Conclusion:

I can understand why this game is getting rave reviews and 9 and 10 out of 10s. However, as a casual gamer I disagree with them.

Ninja Gaiden 2 is definitely not for the generic and or casual gamer. I cannot stress this enough. DO NOT pick this up if you want to just have a relaxing play through of a nice game. As mentioned in the first paragraph, it's not at all accessible for the casual gamer. People will argue this, but I think this lack of accessibility is what makes this game so poor. It has so much potential to be a fun, stylish game to play. Not only would the combat system suit a much slower pace of game play it would benefit from it, becoming more stylish and complex with more easily executable combos. I can see the appeal to them and I do not doubt that to them this game is fantastic, but this games appeal to a minority group of hardcore gamers is its downfall. It's too hard, too frantic, relies too much on instant reaction times and has a ridiculous learning curve. So unless you're willing to put the time into and truly play one of the most unnecessarily challenging games then I advise you to stay away from Ninja Gaiden II.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 06/09/08

Game Release: Ninja Gaiden II (EU, 06/06/08)


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