The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Back in 1993, controversial arcade fighter Mortal Kombat released on
home consoles. The SNES version replaced the gore with sweat, but was
graphically superior to the bloody Sega Genesis port. Guess which one
everybody liked? Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is the SNES version in this case,
replacing spraying blood with blue smoke while adding co-op play,
streamlining the gameplay, and introducing new chapters and characters.
With all these great advances, why did Tecmo give bloodthirsty gamers
an excuse to blow off this edition? It’s still rated M, so what’s
really gained out of this decision?
While the dried pools of
blood may disappoint some, Sigma 2 features many gameplay improvements.
The bow and arrow has unlimited ammo so you no longer have to collect
arrows, plus the streamlined controls make shooting way more appealing.
It’s nice not having to track down keys to open locked doors, and
there’s a nice path indicator you can bring up if you get lost. While
it stinks that you’re blocked from maxing your weapons completely until
late in the game, at least you don’t have to spend orbs on them anymore
(you just choose one per level).
Rachel, Momiji, and Ayane’s new
chapters are a fun diversion from Ryu’s quest and offer a chance to
experiment with different play styles and alternate bosses. It is
slightly lame, however, that these environments are mostly backward
versions of Ryu’s stages. The co-op mode is a large collection of
plotless arena missions featuring waves of enemies and various boss
compilations. Be sure to beat the main game before you delve into this
mode or you won’t have any weapons or bonus characters. Unfortunately,
team play is online only; otherwise you’re stuck with an AI bot.
2 is a longer, more action-packed edition of Ninja Gaiden II, and if
you’ve never played the original you won’t notice the missing gore.
While the first Sigma featured a drastic graphical improvement thanks
to the console generation jump, Sigma 2 doesn’t have the same
immediately noticeable upgrade. Because it’s not jumping generations,
the changes are less about visuals and more about subtle improvements
to the controls and inventory system. The method of aiming your
projectile weapons is vastly improved, and the new characters and
enemies add variety to the campaign. The decision to tone the gore down
is confusing considering that the visceral kill animations were one of
the most striking aspects of the original. Violence alone can’t make a
game good, but there are certain series that just don’t feel right when
it’s taken down a notch (see MK vs DC). The notoriously spastic camera
is still a hassle, and the story is as incoherent as ever, but Sigma 2
improves upon enough of the original to be worth checking out.