Ugh so incredibly tired, although it was self-inflicted due to playing cricket yesterday, the count right now is a sore right knee, left ankle, calf, thighs and bad lower back. And I did it for fun, go figure lol.
Ninja Gaiden 2 is a hack and slasher from Team Ninja lead by Tomonobu Itagaki who is renowned for being somewhat of an eccentric, but damn he can make good games. Now sadly Itagaki-San is no longer with Team Ninja so that kind of dilutes the future ninja gaiden games for me, as proof of that look at ninja gaiden 3, that was freaking terrible. Boring combat mechanics and being guilty of holding your hand too much, it just wasnt ninja gaiden as I knew it. Well, ninja gaiden as I knew it starting from the original Xbox being ninja gaiden 1 which is still up there as one of my favourite games of all time.
So i guess you can call Ninja Gaiden 2 Itagaki’s last hurrah before we see the series descend into the design by committee, bore-fest it will inevitably become. And again I love this game, I had bought it on release and could not put it down as I am already a fan of hack and slasher games anyway, so I was all set.
One of the main talking points about the game was that it was apparently designed in a way to appeal even more to westerners, so how did they do that I hear you ask? Well they ramped up the blood and dismemberment plus extra titties, im not sure what that says about us westerners or about how the Japanese view us. It must have worked for me especially because I loved it, it was a different direction from Ninja Gaiden 1 as that had very little blood in it, save for a blood spurt here and there (It had got taken out for the European version I believe). You can find more differences to in the story, while your never going to get a “Realistic” type of story with this and nor should you. It’s about being a bad ass ninja cutting your way through hordes of bad guys, it’s that feeling of empowerment that makes it such a big draw.
Ninja Gaiden 1 had a more subdued story to it, while still about demons and such it had that air of a legend/myth about it. Now with Ninja Gaiden 2 it has that air of a cheesy 80s B-Movie classic like “Commando” again maybe they changed it because they thought us westerners would prefer that? Thankfully the excellent combat system saves the utterly stupid, completely over the top story, which has you cutting your way through multiple locations taking down hoards of werewolves, flying bat things, purple bat demons, massive explody armadillo type creatures (at least that’s what they look like!) looking for the 4 greater demons that got unleashed on the world, then in turn you hunt down the arch-fiend after that is all done. That’s the story in a nutshell and also the brief description of a few of the monsters you fight during the game, see what I mean now about it being slightly over the top?
Even while things have gotten immeasurably wackier when compared to the first ninja gaiden on Xbox, it’s still a hell of a lot of fun, the combat is so much fun, granted it’s a learning curve but hey that’s what the games are known for, presenting you with a challenge and making you work for your gamerscore or extra unlocks etc. Although it takes it a little bit too far here as there are a few achievements which involve you playing through the whole game using only 1 weapon, so that’s roughly 4 playthroughs minimum, which at least to me sounds incredibly daunting and not at all appealing to my lazy bones.
Now this game used to be an Xbox 360 exclusive, until Itagaki got fired from Team Ninja… Or resigned I can never remember. And now there is a PS3 version, with the blood and gore taken out. Which kind of defeats the point, without that the combat has no impact, even though the combat system is great, surely it takes away from the impact because rather than slaying beasts its like your beating something with a blunt stick? Then all your left with is the shitty story and it’s totally non-glitchy platforming sections…..
Although there are glitches in both versions there usually not of the game breaking variety, ive only encountered that once where a boss fight arena just refused to load up and I end up running straight into the dark abyss of video game programming errors.
Despite its faults and at times utterly demented design choices and aesthetics, I love it and would recommend you give it a whirl aswell because you can pick it up immensely cheap now. As there should be a fair few 2nd hand copies knocking around aswell, at least there was the last time I checked. So give it a go, the combat system alone makes it worth the money.
Thanks for reading this Ninja Gaiden 2 love-in 🙂 hope you enjoyed it