Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, the sequel to the best ninja game, satisfies any hunger left over from the first installment and leaves you craving more.
The story picks up shortly after the first one ends and once again, you don the helm of Ryu Hyabusa, the young dragon ninja, and this time you have to stop the Black Spider Clan from resurrecting the Arch Fiend and throwing the world into total darkness.
This time around you get a little more than you did in the first game as you get to play to as three other female characters in certain levels of the game that play into the main story.
As you make your way through the game, you acquire an arsenal of ninja weapons like you did in the first one with some favorites coming back for a second tour, like the Vigorian Flail and the Lunar Staff. But Ryu also gets to play with a few new toys as well like the Emma Fang and the Eclipse Scythe, which are fun to go around and hack your enemies into a million pieces.
In this installment ,you are not confined to just one city for the whole game. You travel to New York and Paris in your journey to stop the Black Spider Clan and you even get to travel to the underworld for parts of the game. The boss battles are more intense than the first installment and this time around you just don't have one boss battle per level; there are multiple.
When it comes to leveling up your weapons in Sigma 2, you don't get to use essence that you collect throughout your journey. Instead you get a chance to level up one weapon at the beginning of each level. So when choosing which weapon to power up, choose wisely; there are only a handful of chances.
The cut scenes and animation in the game are unmatched and game play itself is unbelievable. The third person view plays out great, but every now and then the camera gets hung up and while you get to see Ryu in all his glory, you usually get nailed by an attack you can't see coming and causing you to throw the controller or say a few words that are unbecoming of a Dragon Ninja.
Now this game does pack an additional feature the first one did not have -- Co-Op mode. You and a friend, or the AI if none of your friends are around, can team up and take on the game in a team mission mode where you get to go through the same levels you did with Ryu, this time with a buddy. You and your friend can pick one of the four characters from the game and go through slicing and dicing through each level and when you get cornered, you can release a dual Nimpo attack and watch the fireworks fly.
MY TWO BITs -- Overall, this game is worth buying. Even if you beat the game on one of the two selectable difficulties in the beginning, you are not a true ninja master until you have conquered the game on all the difficulty modes. The Co-op mode is a nice addition to the franchise and the story is great as well. Even when you beat the game you get a sense that the story is not over with.
I give the game a 3-out-of-4 stars rating. Even though it has great cinematic and story line and some awesome weapons, there are some things that need worked on if they decided to do a third one, like the battling the same boss over and over again, and maybe revamping the weapons leveling up method again.
But if you can look past the few flaws that this game does have, then you will find yourself in ours of enjoyment.