Review by jennafaith1

"Ninja Gaiden 2 offers great thrills but is unbalanced and repetative."

Ninja Gaiden 2 is finally here and everyone is expecting a fantastic game from the elites at Team Ninja. The good news is that Ninja Gaiden 2 is a solid game with great graphics and decent game play. The bad news is that the game is simply too cheap and unbalanced, and tries to pass this off as having a high difficulty. Overall, the game will please fans. However, this game is simply not as good as the first one (Ninja Gaiden Black).

STORY 5/10: (Spoiler Free) Ninja Gaiden usually delivers a decent story. However, this story is simple rehash. A demon is being resurrected and you have to fight all the way through Hell to defeat it. Some of characters from the first game return and are joined by Ryu's Father and a new Rachel clone named Sonia. Overall, these new characters are simply not as interesting as I would like them to be and at the end of the story, you have plenty of plot holes. Who is this Sonia and why is she helping Ryu? What happened to Ryu's Father? The box of the game says something about vengeance and the line being crossed, but I really didn't see any of that. Overall, the graphics of the game really help the lame and ancient plotline.

GRAPHICS 10/10: Tecmo is simply awesome at pushing hardware to its limits and Ninja Gaiden 2 really shines. The movements of the characters are natural and fluid. Even, irregularly shaped demons move realistically as if they really existed. Their animation is ferocious and fantastic. Enemy soldiers attack in slick patterns and enemy ninjas look menacing. The boss monsters are all imaginative and cool. Ryu himself looks much better than before, not that he ever looked bad. His body is buffer and his suit has special details that really make it shine. Even when Ryu speaks, the mouth animation's articulate. The backgrounds are a little simple in design, but the detail is impressive. You will recognize many of the stages of DOA4 in this game. Moreover, there is plenty of new and beautiful scenery to slay demons in. Oh, and there is plenty of gore in this game. It's all about severing limbs and then finishing them off with a gruesome fatality. The new character Sonia is also animated well, but I simply don't like her as much as Rachel. I believe the consensus is that Rachel was better and should have been brought back. Either way, the graphics are everything you would expect. Some of the Stages are huge and have multi-levels. The X-box simply awes you with the beauty of HD. Not much more can be said about these graphics, other than that they are perfect.

MUSIC/SOUND 7/10: The music in this game is alright. Not great. Most of the songs are actually pretty generic sounding with repetitive beats. There are a few songs that are better, but they are few and far in between. The sound effects are a different story. They are great and will rock your sound system. Explosions and bullets sound great. The sword slashes and the cries of your victims are awesome. The voice acting is good in Japanese and in English. The music is well edited and fits the stage. Some music is simply boring like the stage it's on. However, the music does its part and compliments the game well, even if it is not Tecmo's best effort.

GAMEPLAY 7/10: This is where the game starts to show its problems. There are a few camera issues, but they are not nearly as bad as people make them out to be. You may occasionally have to rotate the camera so you are not inside a wall. The main problem is actually how the enemies swarm you all at once. Some demons are bigger than the screen and when they all gang up; you simply cannot see what is happening. Moreover, some of the bosses' attacks simply take up the screen and you CANNOT and WILL NOT see what is going on. My husband was watching me play and asked, “Do you know what is going on? You can't even see...” I answered that there are many areas like this and you simply have to know and exploit the game's ultimate techniques and invincibilities. Another issue is the sheer number of cheap shots the game takes at you. Anytime you enter a room, some huge demon will come out of nowhere and pounce on you. Reaction time is not a factor because it simply happens when you hit “checkpoints of cheapness”. You simply have to know that the demon is there and block. Thus this is really a camera issue since there are many of these blind spots throughout the game. The game works well though. There is little to no slowdown or visual glitches. You can execute all of your moves easily and the combat is furious. However, the “Difficulty” or cheapness is very high. For example, the first level and second level bosses are incredibly difficult. The third levels through the fifth level bosses are a snap. Then the game goes back to cheapness with enemies that simply don't flinch even when you are hacking with your max powered sword. There also always seem to be that enemy on the other side of the stage that unloads his automatic rocket launcher on you while the three giant monsters also tear you apart. But I digress, the game is playable and the exploitation of your ultimate techniques will carry you to victory, most of the time. You also end up jamming and mashing the Strong Attack button since any other combo simply doesn't do as much damage. Overall, this gameplay gets a little repetitive. The enemies are also VERY repetitive. The same group of ninja's will hound you throughout the game. The game offers the variety of a large demon or a ninja on its enemy dinner menu. This will probably be fixed with future Downloads. However as the game is now, it's a little thin. The verdict is that the game is this game is well made but cheap! The game throws a lot of cheap shots at you and seems to think that fighting the same ninja 1000 times is “fun”. The game could simply use more content and when the DLC finally comes out, Ninja Gaiden 2 will probably get the score it should have. Until then, we have to wait...

FUNFACTOR 7/10: Ninja Gaiden 2 is a good action game. Plenty of action and some light puzzle elements make it a winner. There is plenty of fun to be had here but only players who like a challenge will really enjoy this game. The game is simply unbalanced and filled with cheap annoyances. I respect what the game was trying to do, but it was executed in the wrong way. The verdict is that this game is great, but just expect frustration.

OVERALL 7/10: While Ninja Gaiden 2 is a solid action game that should definitely be purchased; it has its fair share of problems. These problems stem from the choice of the programmers to take cheap shots at you and call it difficulty. Difficulty is meeting a highly skilled opponent. Cheapness is not being able to see what is happening because there are simply too many explosions on the screen or blind spots in the stage design. Ninja Gaiden serves up a lot of action and is a good game that will probably be improved upon in the future with DLC. However, it does take a backseat to Ninja Gaiden Black which is the standard to which most action games are held to now.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 06/23/08

Game Release: Ninja Gaiden II (US, 06/03/08)

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