Although Tecmo still refuses to initially bring new Ninja Gaiden installments to the PlayStation 3, it seems that fans of Sony’s machine only have to wait a bit longer to receive an updated and overall superior version. It happened with Ninja Gaiden Sigma , and after Ninja Gaiden II launched on the Xbox 360 last year, Tecmo is doing it again with Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 , set for release on the PS3 later this year. If you’re not familiar, this is actually a prequel to the early NG titles on the NES, and you will once again step into the fleet and competent shoes of Ryu Hayabusa, who seeks to restore order to a world infested with bad guys and demons. Sigma 2 will further boast plenty of additions and enhancements based in part on fan feedback taken from the 360 version, and this includes new playable characters and what Tecmo is calling “30% more content” for the single-player campaign alone. We’re specifying because another new option will be the online co-op mode, which is destined to appeal to many hardcore action aficionados out there.
GDC 09 is here and snippets of the game and gameplay, in the form of both screenshots and videos, have begun to sprout up all over the Internet. GameSpot got a peek at the game, and several other sources can’t wait to relay the fresh information…and we’re one of those sources. When the game was first announced a few days ago, we immediately latched onto the most appealing factor in our eyes: those new playable characters. As much as we love Ryu, a new character completely changes the game dynamic, as players have access to an entirely new move set, and usually, an entirely new weapon set. Both new playable characters are female – perhaps as a nod to all you teenagers with raging hormones out there – and the first is the sexy, purple-haired Ayane, the ninja from the popular Dead or Alive franchise. And yes, she will have her own skills, weapons, and magical attacks, which we can’t wait to try. Then there’s Momiji, who has only been seen in the Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword iteration on the Nintendo DS. Obviously, it’s going to be a whole lot different to see her in brilliant 1080p high-definition on the PS3.
Perhaps best of all, both characters will actually serve a purpose; they’re not merely tossed arbitrarily into the storyline, so you’ll be able to see how the back-stories and plots surrounding each character connect. Also, you won’t want to ignore Ryu entirely, as he will come fully equipped with new weapons of his own, which he’ll need to face off against a fresh assortment of enemies and bosses. But Tecmo isn’t stopping there. They’re going to toss in Trophy support, and you’re going to need a serious amount of time and talent to nab them all; you can be sure that many Trophies will be extraordinarily difficult to get. Furthermore, some of the Trophies will only be available if you’re playing that new online co-op mode, so make sure you give that a try. Sigma 2 will also support rumble in the Dual Shock 3 controller, and all in all, you’re looking at a completely overhauled Ninja Gaiden II experience, which ranges from nearly every aspect of the gameplay to rumored new locales and environments to explore. The latter hasn’t been confirmed, but there are quite a few unconfirmed extra content rumors floating around concerning Sigma 2 .
As for that online co-op mode we’ve mentioned a few times, don’t consider it a rushed, tacked-on, incomplete feature. No, you and a buddy can slash your way through no less than 30 challenge stages, each of which can be attempted on four different difficulty settings. How you perform will be registered on the leaderboards, and we’ll also receive the benefit of full stat-tracking; i.e., preferred weapons and time records. The designers will even toss in a few extra tweaks that should make the entire experience smoother: for instance, if you’re lost and aren’t sure where to go, simply watch your character’s head. He or she will look in the correct direction. There’s also some talk about Tecmo altering the camera angle in Sigma 2 based on NGII player feedback, although we’re not entirely sure how they’ve adjusted the view. In the original NG, many of even the most ardent fans complained that the camera would often sit too low behind Ryu. Perhaps we’ll find a camera that sits higher and a little further away in Sigma 2 , although we can’t confirm that until we see some more gameplay.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is exactly what the PS3 fans deserve. It’s unfortunate that they have to wait a year to play the excellent sequel to one of last generation’s best titles, but the sheer amount of extras and enhancements make it an extremely attractive package. The online co-op mode alone should lure plenty of gamers, and with “30% more content” in the regular single-player adventure, two new fully developed characters, new weapons and enemies, new story additions, and absolutely gorgeous HD visuals, Sigma 2 is going to be a definite consideration for your holiday list. Hopefully, we’ll have a solidified release date for you soon.