I grew up watching martial arts of all types and who hasn’t wanted to be a ninja at some point in their lives? However, for some reason, I never played any of the Ninja Gaiden games. Maybe it’s because The Revenge of Shinobi on the Sega Mega Drive broke me back in the day. It didn’t help as I grew up I got more into sports and RPG games. However, when the Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection was up for grabs, I put my hand straight up. I heard about it and how difficult it is. That it borders on a Soulsborne game and if you know me I hate hard games. However, there was something there that just called to me. I didn’t know that Ninja Gaiden Sigma and the follow-ups are re-masters of remakes so I was going into this blind and I was glad I did.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma: A story of Two Blades
For those of you who have never played this just like myself, you play as the iconic ninja Ryu Hayabusa whose character and costume has shown up in games like Dead or Alive (both this and Ninja Gaiden exist in the same universe) Halo 3 and Super Swing Golf. The story starts in the Hayabusa village where Ryu is travelling to see his uncle Murai.
The journey serves as a tutorial and helps you get to grasps with the fast-paced action and also the platform and puzzle aspects of the game. While visiting and fighting your uncle your village is attacked by the Vigoor Empire lead by Doku a fierce warrior. This warrior is in search of the Dark Dragon Blade which is under the Clan’s protection and is the twin to Ryu’s Dragon Blade. This sets you off on the path of revenge and honour that spans fourteen chapters, a ton of fights and puts you up against some really hard boss battles.
Is the Dark Dragon Blade really worth the bother?
Having never played Ninja Gaiden Sigma before I didn’t really know what to expect. It’s a great hack and slash game that throws you straight into the action and let me tell you, you need reflexes like a cat. It’s that fast. I really loved the learning curve in Ninja Gaiden Sigma. It goes from, here are some ninjas to here is a guy on a horse that climaxes in a warrior in body armour, a rocket launcher and a sword. You really don’t know what is coming next every time you walk through a door or enter a new area and it makes it really exciting and unpredictable.
Ryu is balls to the wall when attacking, which is nothing I have seen other than with Kratos in the God of War games. Most games in this genre have dodge abilities that can pull your arse out of the fire at any time. Ninja Gaiden Sigma has none of that. Once Ryu has started his attack you are going to finish whether you like it or not. It is not all about attacking though. His blocking is equally as important and you can mostly block and counter anything that comes at you. Which is a saving grace when you have multiple enemies coming at you from all angles.
Essence is the game’s currency. They are orbs that are released from dead enemies. There are three different coloured essence orbs that give you something different: yellow gives you money, blue restores health, and red restores ki. You can spend the yellow essence on weapon upgrades and different potions that you buy off statues of an old blacksmith, but the energy essence has a function, too. You can charge a heavy attack near essence which will give you a more powerful attack called ‘Ultimate Technique’. Enemies killed with this drop a lot more essence than normal, this invites you to leave the essence around the battlefield while fighting which goes against everything games have taught me.
There is also ninja magic, called ‘Ninpo’, which can be called upon to perform devastating attacks, and it’s powered by ki. You can replenish ki by using certain potions or collecting the red essence. When playing this on easy mode your Ninpo kicks in automatically when you are near death which is super helpful…I’ve heard…
The way of the Ninja is not always smooth
The only thing that let this game down was the camera. You enter a room and it’s facing you for some reason even if there are enemies all over the place. At some stages, especially the platform parts which made the game unplayable and just frustrating. The look of the game too was a bit disappointing as they just ported the original PS3 version of Ninja Gaiden Sigma so if you are a fan and expecting something new, don’t, kind of like how I was with The Nathan Drake Collection.
With Ninja Gaiden Sigma down it is time to move onto Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. Wish me luck and stay tuned for my review on that.