- Developer: Team Ninja
- Publisher: KOEI TECMO EUROPE
- Release Date: 10/06/2021
- Price: £32.99 / $39.99 (as part of a collection)
- Review code provided by KOEI TECMO AMERICA
- Note: released as part of NINJA GAIDEN: Master Collection
- Click here for Ninja Gaiden
- Click here for Ninja Gaiden 3
*Disclaimer: All of the visual effects that will be in the final retail version were not present during my review of NINJA GAIDEN Sigma 2. There will be a day one patch adding these effects.
Introducing NINJA GAIDEN Σ2 Switch Review
You know, I remember this game series from when I was a kid. Though that is only in bits and pieces as I mainly remember them being difficult games. So when the remastered collection was announced I was actually interested in revisiting these games again and here we are. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit one of the game genres that impacted the very formula for the action adventure genre and review NINJA GAIDEN Sigma 2 for the Switch.
The Spider Clan is Back at it Again
For those that are familiar with NINJA GAIDEN Σ2 then you will be happy to know that the story has not changed. You play as the young ninja of the Dragon Clan, Ryu Hayabusa against the Spider Clan. Their ultimate goal is to revive a high ranking demon and take over the world. As Ryu, you will travel through various stages, hacking and slashing your way through hordes of enemies, to recover the Demon Statue and prevent the revival of the Archfiend Vazdah.
Chapter Structure Returns
NINJA GAIDEN Σ2 uses a chapter structure to tell its story. With the inclusion of different play characters and varied settings, I found that it was a good transition for the game to use. Also, each chapter screen has a little text blurb to tell you what is going on which without them you would have no idea why you were jumping between New York City and your own village. Unfortunately though this is the only text in the game that explains what is going on. There are no subtitles for the cut-scenes which I found a little disappointing.
However, there was a chapter featuring one of the side characters that didn’t seem to need to be there. It didn’t really add to the story at all, except to introduce a boss you would fight later. Unlike the other two side chapters this one didn’t tie back into the main story. Though it was rather fun to swing that character’s hammer around. Pretty satisfying to bash a demon’s head in with a giant hammer.
Hack and Slash Your Way Through Your Mission
The classic hack and slash game play of NINJA GAIDEN series is on full display in NINJA GAIDEN Σ2. You get a variety of weapons, from the classic Dragon Sword to some tonfas and even a scythe weapon. Combine this with the bow and cannon alongside your Ninpo, your magic ninja arts, and you have a rather hectic time ahead of you. Personally, I found myself using the flail weapon for crowds and then the Dragon Sword against bosses. One of the best things about your Ninpo in-game was the invincibility frames you got while casting it. As long as you are using any Ninpo aside from the one that summons fire phoenixs that surround you, you get invincibility frames while casting. I particularly found this useful during boss fights for more dodging over damaging them. Speaking of, let’s talk about the wide variety of enemies and bosses within NINJA GAIDEN Σ2.
Quite the Bestiary You Got There
When I fired up NINJA GAIDEN Sigma 2 for my review, I expected to be killing mainly ninjas and demons because that is all I remembered from my childhood. This game has a lot more than that however. There are pure bone creatures, and spider-like creatures that explode upon death. I was surprised that even towards the end of the game I was encountering new enemies to fight.
There is a good bit of variation in the bosses as well. Though there are a lot of repeat boss fights throughout later chapters. I have no idea how I forgot this but you actually fight the Statue of Liberty. It was brought to life by some higher ranking demon who controls lightning, but still the mere fact that that fight exists is just insane to me.
Wacky, Waving Camera Man
So, I remember NINJA GAIDEN Σ2 being difficult when I was a kid. And I didn’t actually find the game that challenging this time. But something they seemed to have neglected to fix with their remaster is the camera. I spent more time fighting the camera in combat than I did blocking and dodging and when your game focuses on blocking and dodging, well that is a problem. I only died to three of the bosses. And it was really the same fight across different points in the game. Because he could just jump over you and shoot himself off camera for you. Now you can snap the camera back in place with the R button towards the way you are facing, but that wasn’t always good enough during higher stakes fights.
There were also several sections of platforming in NINJA GAIDEN Σ2 that I felt the camera actively hurt. I would either jump in the wrong direction because the camera switched angles on me. Also, there is a path focusing mechanic that will focus the camera in the direction you are supposed to go. But for the few bigger rooms in the game the camera focusing just seemed to break, particularly in the chapter after the aqua city. I am sincerely hoping that the day one patch fixes some of these camera issues.
And We Are Loading Again
This is kind of an issue I didn’t expect. But there are some performance issues with the remaster in regards to lag and flat out pause loading. When bigger crowds of enemies would come at you the game would start to very noticeably slog and lag, sometimes to the point where my hits didn’t register on enemies. Sometimes I would be running down an alley and all of a sudden I stopped moving because the game had to load a good chunk. Also, entering and exiting the shop was a little on the rough side with load times. I am not sure why the game slogs in these places, but I do hope that they address them in a future update as they can pull you out of the action of the game.
Graphics of a Bygone Era
There really is not a whole lot to say about the graphics here. It looks rather reminiscent of the original games themselves. The cut-scenes however seem to have been given a true HD polish to them. Kind of creates a jarring feeling though going from cut-scenes and back to missions in the middle of a level.
I’m glad NINJA GAIDEN Sigma 2 was a fun trip down memory lane for my review. I loved the hack and slash nature of the game and the varied enemy types kept me guessing all the way to the final boss. I do hope that they fix the game performance issues and that camera because it will truly make this a great experience. Especially for those that grew up loving this series.
- Fun Hack and Slash game play
- Unique enemies throughout the whole experience
- Slight performance issues like load stops and lag
- Too much fighting with the camera
- Lack of subtitles in cut-scenes