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Ninja Gaiden 2

Overall: After 8yrs as a loyal member of I am finally reviewing my first game ever. So here it goes:
Tecmo's Ninja Gaiden II, the sequel to the critically acclaimed Action game exclusively-released on the original Xbox July 1st 2004 under the name Ninja Gaiden (not to be confused with the NES original of the same name) which was followed up a year later with it's re-release updated version Ninja Gaiden BLACK with new downloadable content included (Hurricane Packs, which was downloadable for free for the original release), and supposed fixed camera option (well get to that later for NG2), on September 21, 2005.
Ninja Gaiden BLACK was in many opinions, and mines as well not only the best Action game on Xbox, but arguably of ALL-TIMES! This game was an evolution for this genre, and to this day has not been matched, ... not even with the PS3 release of the same game (Ninja Gaiden Sigma- July 2007, the 2nd re-release of the same game w/ a few added features) released on Xbox,... no, not even the big breasted broad whom is playable in this version was enough. ... Not even NG2 can fit in the original NG's shoes... or shiney black socks if you will.

About Ninja Gaiden II, the story,... or lack thereof. Tecmo has never been known to be about telling it's fans a tale or two. And NG2 is no exception. The story is all over the place. Without spoiling the progress of the game, Ryu has a father, and his name "Joe". Yes, Joe Hyabusa. And his clan is being run over for whatever reason (position of power maybe?) by the Spider Clan. His home is been ambushed and before you know it, you forget you had a father named Joe because you never see him again. And he is barely mentioned since.

During this time Ryu whom it very vocal this time around unlike the original where if im not mistaking never spoke one word? He is on a mission to avenge his ninja clan peeps.
During this tour de force, that is the same run of the mill as the first NG you will encounter "Fiends", whom are from,.. uh, I dont know, ... but thanks to Tecmo,.. I still dont know. Anyways, these villian characters are forgetful with no personalities, charisma, or detailed dialog.
A few of them are really sad and silly. You will encounter a "Fiend" Wolf, whoms name is get this ... Volf. =/ Right.
Enough of my sarcasm. Basically, you Ryu Hyabusa are on a mission to kick @!%#*!, take names, and save the day! Oh, and you have a new broad on your side. this time her hair is blonde, with huge DOA style boobs for some nice eye candy,.. oh wait, the 1st NG had the same thing. ... hmmmm... think this is a coincidence?

The biggest complain, and what may scare gamers from giving NG2 a chance would be it's infamous difficulty. Well things have changed for the better! Developer Team Ninja has eased up on this matter and provided an easier difficulty level "Acolyte" as well as more save points that are not only all over the place, but will replinish your health.

Players will also be happy to know after every battle sequence in the game you will gain some health back. So no worry about throwing your controller through the HDTV. This game should be accessible to everyone,... that can play games M for Mature that is! =D Though dont think you will just breeze through this game. It is still a challenge even with the addition of more various ways of replinishing your health bar. This game is no cake walk by any means, just more accessible. Naw Mean?

As for achievements, will get many just going through the motions of the game. Which include learning moves for Ryu, finding hidden skulls like NG1 & Gears Of War, beating each chapter, or defeating bosses.
Dont expect to get no where near the 1000-gamerspoints unless you want to spend time beating the game with 1 weapon used the whole game for each of Ryu's weapons for a rediculious 5-points each. That is really intended for the hardcore fan.

Bottom Line: Ninja Gaiden is still the best Action series ever! Ryu is still king of this genre, however better step his game up next go around to continue to carry this crown.

Gameplay: The hack & slash has never looked better or been more fun! This game is not for the faint of heart as Ryu decapitates his foes with no remorse for human life! Whether it's your legs, arms, head, he does it so smoothly, and viciously, it is a work of art to admire.
The controls are great and solid for every weapon in Ryu's repertoire except for that @!%#*! Bow&Arrow. A complete pain in the @%*! Worst part about it, is you will need to use this secondary weapon for a few boss fights, including, gulp ... the final boss battle!
Ryu has several weapons at his disposal. From his trusty Dragon Sword to Wolverine claws, Nunchucks, Gattling Gun, Dual Swords, Lunar Staff, and my personal favorite- the "Eclipse Scythe". aka the weapon Ryu is holding on the cover box art for the game, aka your good friendly Fiend Volf the Wolf's weapon he will kindly give you for handing him is @!%#*! Maximus Gladiator style! Keep playing to know what I'm referring to.

The Camera is by far the worst part of this game. It is almost as frustrating as Sonic Adventures (yeah, that bad) on Dreamcast. It gets so bad it will cause you alot of deaths and anger. You are supposed to be able to always move the camera behind Ryu at any time by the push of a button, however it is mostly unresponsive unless you are in a huge open area with no enemies.
The camera takes away from the atmosphere and balance of most of your battles.
Tecmo could learn alot from DMC4 is this regard.

Overall, fighting system owns, camera blows!

Graphics: Visually NG2 resembles it's predecessor a little too much. With how beautiful NG was on Xbox how could they top that you wonder? Well this day in time on a new current-gen console for a sequel 4yrs later you should expect more, right? The games locations are not drop your mouth and drool material. Matter fact, a few of the levels are terrible to witness. The worst being a later chapter where you are underground battling a Worm boss. Textures are not the standard we are so used to from Team Ninja.
The games locations are not interactive at all. You will see alot of open areas that you will run into only to magically hit a wall. Walking through areas is bland, and you never feel one with the atmosphere of your current location.
You will also incounter a few framerate issues when you are slicin'and dicin your foes. This really only transpires when there are a load of enemies on screen and blood is spewing every which way.
I will have to say im impressed with the enemies body parts (blood & all) always staying where you kindly cut them off. That is realistic, and a great addition to the franchise.
Blood splatter has never looked this great, or done so well. Ryu will even shake the blood left every weapon after each battle sequence!

Overall: Too much of what we have already seen before with minor additions and a horrible frustrating camera. Still impressive visually nonetheless.

Audio: Sound wise for NG2 is pretty much the same as before. Music selections are vastly forgettable, though that is not a bad thing. No composed music to remember here.
The track when the game comes on at the menu is basic average music. Boss battle music tracks are just intense upbeat tracks of no substance.
Now for Ryu's gameplay audio, it's great, though recycled from NG1. Every weapon has it's own various bells & whistle that you feel are legit.
Voice acting is nothing special at all. Ryu never talked in the first NG and it was kinda off wierd hearing someone voicing his dialog. The actor who played him didnt fit it for me. It just wasnt Ryu to me. The dialog was minimal for all characters anyways as this game is just a straight forward action game, period.

Suggestions: Suggestions for Team Ninja/Tecmo would be to really take pride in fixing the camera issue for this game (patch please). The NG series deserves much better. This series has been my heart since the original trilogy on NES.
Improve the story. We all know it's gamplay, action, graphics that Team Ninja focuses on mostly, but for the love of story telling, please hire a great writer. Maybe the guy who wrote the anime "Ninja Scroll" movie? =D
Serious, this series needs a legitiment story. It needs personality, and not just giving us some big breasted broad and calling it a day.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10

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