You know, it's not very likely that a game is remade just a few years after its release. But it's also not very likely for a remade game to receive an overhaul instead of just an upgrade. That is precisely what Ninja Gaiden Sigma is bringing to the table; a complete overhaul that shares few similarities with the original. As we anticipate this overhaul, Tecmo has thrown a bunch of new details our way. In fact, so many details that we had to dedicate an entirely new and updated preview for the game.
The first bit of information is that Sigma will run 19 long, which is three more than the other two on the Xbox. On top of that, replay value will receive an additional boost with a new difficulty level – as if Ninja Gaiden wasn't painfully hard already. More importantly, Team Ninja claims that absolutely every little nook and cranny of Sigma was specifically remade and that it shares nothing with the previous Ninja Gaidens. This means that environments, animations, texture work, enemies, character models, gameplay elements, and etc. have been redone from the ground up. In addition, the SixAxis' motion sensitivity is expected to be used as a way to cast and power up Ninpo magic.
Team Ninja's going to include three ways to boot/play Sigma and they are: from the Blu-Ray disc itself, from a cached/partial install, or from a full install. Now, partial/cached installs are already something that a number of PS3 games utilize (Virtua Fighter 5 is one of them), but no game has yet to allow a full HDD install to play it. Clearly, this method will be to eliminate load times and you will be required to have the Blu-Ray disc inside the PS3 in order to play. But it still presents a risk, as it's something experienced software hackers can likely exploit – so hopefully the security on the game is pretty tough.
As far as features go, there's a few important things to know. First off, Sigma's going to run at a flawless 60 frames per second in 720p. Though Team Ninja is saying 720p, this announcement doesn't rule out 30 frames per second in 1080i/1080p – which would be a very acceptable tradeoff if we get to play the game in 1080i/1080p. On top of that, self-shadowing will be totally dynamic and will be extensively used in the game; so you can expect the lighting of Sigma to look quite realistic. Team Ninja also says that they're in talks with Sony in regards to providing downloadable content for the game. And speaking of online, Sigma will retain the Karma ranking boards with enhancements made to allow gamers to view a player's stats in greater detail.
The biggest addition to Sigma will be Rachel as a full-fledged playable character. Team Ninja emphasizes that a lot of the new content found in Sigma will be when you're playing Rachel's segments. Rachel will be featuring her own story missions and her own Mission mode levels. She will be able to absorb essences like Hayabusa, but their similarities will end there. Rachel isn't going to control or feel anything like Hayabusa, she has her own set of moves, attacks and animation strands.
The craziest part of all of this is that Team Ninja says that there's still even more unannounced content that we'll have to wait to find out about. In the meantime, make sure you have your calendars marked for this Summer, as Ninja Gaiden Sigma is expected to hit at the end of June.