previews\ Jun 3, 2009 at 8:00 pm


E3 2009 PreviewE3 2008 GameZone Previews

Few games have made the transition from 2D NES classic to 3D modern-day masterpiece more gracefully than Ninja Gaiden. The Xbox original was an unbeatable joy. Literally, the competition could not beat it – and at times, it felt like the players couldn’t either (man those were some tough battles). Though the 2D and 3D games were completely different, they shared many of the same qualities: addictive gameplay, inventive controls, great graphics (for their time), and an unforgettable soundtrack. Without question, both titles belong in every game collection.

Unfortunately, with console exclusivity often attached to the series, not everyone gets to play the latest Ninja Gaiden. In 2008, Ninja Gaiden 2 was exclusive to Xbox 360. But later this year, PlayStation 3 owners will finally get the chance to play it in the form of a PS3-exclusive port/upgrade: Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2.

Ayane, the sexy fighter from the Dead or Alive series, has been turned into a playable character. With multiple swords and light, agile movements, Ayane has never looked or played better. Getting into the groove of the game was as easy as jumping into the original Ninja Gaiden 2. The enemies didn't seem as tough (likely because this is an E3 demo and they can't bog down attendees with an excessive challenge), but in general, you know what to expect. Ayane's sword attacks are as fun to watch as they are to perform. No limb (or head!) is safe once she starts swinging. Blood spills all over the place as body parts are sliced off the monstrous beasts she's fighting, and it looks fantastic.

Which is a good point to bring up. Tecmo informed me that word had recently spread that Sigma 2 would not be as gory as the previous version. They said that this stemmed from a trailer that, due to various rules within the industry, had to be toned down. The actual game, however, is extremely bloody, as confirmed by their E3 presentation.

Over the course of the story, you'll get the chance to unlock two other playable characters: Rachel and Momiji. How this will work, Tecmo didn't say. But you can assume that the better the unlockable, the more difficult it's going to be to unlock it.

The demo ended rather abruptly, but Tecmo did have one final bit of information: the developers are currently examining co-op gameplay. The online features (downloadable content is also being planned) have not been finalized so the developers were not ready to discuss how it will work, how it will change or enhance the game, etc. But if a non-multiplayer series like Resident Evil can include co-op, chances are every game eventually will. In the case of Ninja Gaiden, let's hope that co-op expands the gameplay in a way we could never imagine.

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