Graphics:
7.4
Gameplay:
7.6
Sound:
7.0
Control:
6.8
Replay Value:
7.2
Overall Rating:
7.3
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Tecmo
Developer:
Team Ninja
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
Action
Release Date:
February 22, 2012


For the most part, Ninja Gaiden has been synonymous with quality in the past few generations. But after you make the same game four times, even the lightning-speed action that remains amazingly fast and fluid starts to feel a little…old. There’s nothing wrong with the Vita iteration of Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus (which began its life back as Ninja Gaiden Black on the Xbox) and the game remains mostly solid. It’s just underwhelming, that's all.

Considering the excellent graphics of past series installments, you might assume this one looks great on Sony’s new portable. But while the presentation is very clean and the cut-scenes are still pretty damn impressive, even the technologically proficient Vita can’t hide the marks of age. Visually, games get old quick, and Sigma Plus suffers from a lack of richness and detail we find in more visually accomplished titles. That being said, you won’t find many visual miscues, despite the aging palette.

The sound is in very much the same boat. We still get that ultra-satisfying slashing effect that accompanies Ryu’s incessant attacks, and most all effects are crisp and effective. The soundtrack is pretty good, too, but it takes a backseat to the effects for most of the adventure. Sadly, the voice acting is where this one betrays its age; the corny voices might be nostalgic and even charming, but the bottom line is that the performances are mediocre at best.

So in short, Team Ninja didn’t really bother to upgrade anything for the Vita entry. Now, the game holds up very well so it’s not a catastrophe, but given when I’ve seen of this handheld’s capabilities, the developers should’ve taken the opportunity. They could’ve issued new Vita owners a fully updated Ninja Gaiden but instead, we get basically the same game we’ve had for years. However, a few cleverly implemented features make use of the front touchscreen and rear touchpad.

You simply tap enemies to throw your shurikens or shoot arrows, which adds some much-needed flavor to a very familiar action mechanic. At first, I was worried that with such a ridiculously fast game, taking my fingers away from the face buttons would be ill-advised at best, suicidal at worst. But logically speaking, you only use ranged weapons like the shurikens and your bow when you’re a certain distance away, so it actually worked out very well. It’s not a game-changer, but it’s a nice addition.