Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ninja Gaiden II Review

The review for Ninja Gaiden II is up!

Check it out...

at the original VFH.

UPDATE (3/22/10) VFH Classic is dead:

Ninja Gaiden 2 seems to play out every kids dream in virtual form. You are a ninja, and you kill shit. Pure gold. Ninja Gaiden used to be, in my mind at least, the Xbox equivalent of the Devil May Cry series. But now that they're both available on the 360, what one should you go for?

Gameplay: 9

Ninja Gaiden's gameplay is very much based on precise timing and twitch reflexes. Unlike Devil May Cry, you cannot just go in guns ablaze and start swinging your sword and hope to take anything out besides the occasional lucky kill. If you're in a room more than 3 seconds without blocking, you're in trouble. The point I'm trying to get across is that this is not a easy game. You will need to know the timing to block, counter, and strike. But when you get it right, oh man, it's satisfying. The ability to do a finishing move with the press of one button once your enemy is injured bad enough or missing a limb is possibly the best addition to this sequel, along with the easy dismemberment of your enemies. They make the experience very visually gratifying.

Minimal platforming, multiple weapons to master, and new enemy types along with environmental changes will keep things fresh and give you enough motivation to continue playing the game. While it should be mentioned that the game is basically a room to room slaughterfest with not too much diversity thrown in, it still managed to keep me interested with the constant feeling of accomplishment that comes with each kick ass kill that you pull off. The only reason that I scored gameplay a 9 is because the boss battles are often cheap and frustrating, ruining the quick pace of the game by making you stop and replay the same boss over and over. The horrible camera doesn't help this at all, on more than one occasion I turned a corner into enemies I couldn't see only to be beaten silly. Or fought in a hallway the camera refused to show. While not too frequent, it is still frustrating when it comes around. Still, I have to say that the feeling I got from this game was very much the same one you get when you play an amazing solo on guitar hero perfectly. Like you have actually done something noteworthy, something that required skill. It will keep you coming back for more, if not just for the gameplay then to complete the in game trail, get your level score up onto the leaderboards, or just to watch on of the level replays you saved.

Graphics: 9

This is the type of game where the graphics play almost as big a role as the gameplay. Your hard work and concentration is paid off in the form of your opponents limbs flying left and right, and their blood covering the walls and floor underneath them. After pulling off a finish technique your opponents head may explode, shooting their brains onto the wall, or you may chop them into 5 different pieces and kick them away. These graphical quirks really make the game what it is. The gameplay would not be half as fun without the visual payoff. While the game as a whole is very nice looking with pretty clean textures, nice effects thrown in here and there, and detailed character models there is a lack of interaction with the environment, such as very limited destructibility, no physics, and then there is the occasional floating blood splotch. These flaws in no way detract from the fun, but if they where fixed it would really kick the presentation up a notch.

Story: 4

Some demon statue has been destroyed unleashing the 4 greater fiends! You have to go and kill the monsters before they destroy the world! Yeah, that same story that you've played a million times before. While it has its moments, the gameplay is what your here for. If you're looking for a great story I'd suggest that you look in some other genre.

Sound: 7

Nothing memorable. While the voice acting is for the most part good, there are a few characters who come off as very cheesy. They still fill their purpose though. The musical score is... well, honestly I cannot remember any piece from the game, if that tells you anything. I'd say that “Nothing memorable” summed it up well.

Overall: 9

While it has its shortcomings the amazing gameplay more than makes up for them. The combat is fast, hectic and addicting. You'll be coming back again and again to try to complete the trial or just to mess around and kill stuff on a higher difficulty. Possibly get yourself a place on the leader-boards or save a replay to show off to your friends. All in all the game is just plain fun, and isn't that what you want in a game.


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