Until now, Team Ninja has kept one of its flagship titles exclusive to Microsoft's console. In a huge shock, Tecmo made the decision to keep Ninja
Gaiden an Xbox only game in the last generation despite the fact the PlayStation 2 had won the generation pretty much by the time the original Microsoft
console shipped. Alliances have changed this time around however, and Team Ninja has gone back to the drawing board and rebuilt Ninja Gaiden for the
PS3 console, and while it may not be a totally new game, it is certainly the definitive version of this AAA title and at least a must play, if not own, for
In Ninja Gaiden you take the role of Ryu Hyubasa, who many of you will recognize as one of the playable characters in Dead or Alive. After most
of his Ninja clan is wiped out, [img]ninjagaiden_ps3_1[/img]he seeks the Dark Dragon Blade from those who took it to avenge the deaths. This actually is somewhat of a continuation to Ryu's storyline in the Dead or Alive series and you will come across Ayane, another DOA character, before the game is done.
The game is played from a third person perspective with a moveable camera. At the core of the game it really is just a hack and slash, but delve down further
and you start to see where it really shines. While it may feature a simple mechanic of pressing buttons to slash enemies, the challenge comes from the
difficulty of mastering the combat system. If you go in pressing and mashing buttons with no combination in mind, you won't last long as the enemy ninjas
will chop you to shreds. There are also a number of puzzles which need to be solved before progressing further into the game and these also offer quite a
[img]ninjagaiden_ps3_2[/img]The fluid movement of the characters and speed of the game is what really makes this title one of the best action titles around. While you can button mash in
Ninja Gaiden to good effect in the early levels, the game still remains quite difficult and it forces you to really think about your next plan of
attack, something which usually isn't so easy with the amount of action going on. The game does also use the SIXAXIS motion controls, although this feels
tacked on rather than actually planned which is a common problem with many current PS3 games.
However even with the game's challenging gameplay in mind, the PS3 version of the game does feel like it has been toned down in difficulty - either that or we suddenly became good at the game despite not playing it since the original release on Xbox. We found ourselves finishing off enemies easier and progressing quicker through the game than before. It wouldn't surprise us if this is the case because it is a well known fact that Ninja Gaiden has been criticized in the past for being too difficult. If you want easy gamer credibility, finish Ninja Gaiden on Xbox because not many other than the
hardcore crowd have done it.
Outside of the SIXAXIS implementation, there are a few other enhancements to the PS3 game, such as a handful of extra levels included and you also get to play with more weapons and as another character for the first time. That character is the female enemy from the original Xbox game and she offers a wider variety of moves and skills. This addition alone is almost enough to recommend a re-purchase for those who already own the Xbox game. Scores can also be uploaded to the PSN Network which is the form of multiplayer they are touting. It would have been nice to see more but that can wait for the next game.
The other enhancements to the title come from the PS3's power. Obviously being a generation after the Xbox we were expecting a lot and the game has
delivered. Perhaps the best reason to own this game is the stunning visuals. If you want something to show off that 'couple of thousand dollar TV' well, then
this is it. The graphics are absolutely stunning in 1080p and helps demonstrate the gulf between last generation games and the current generation games. Ryu
and the enemies also seem to move faster and in a more fluid fashion. This obviously contributes to the game being easier as there is nary a framerate drop
in sight despite the increased visuals.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma is a nice addition to the Playstation 3 library. Despite the fact that it is based on a last generation game, and has had its day
on a competing console, the additional content that Team Ninja has put into the game, the improved framerate, and the stunning graphics make this a must own
for any Ninja Gaiden fan or those who haven't yet felt the spine tingling power of Ryu's blade.