Ninja Gaiden 2 reviewed

Thursday, 5th June 2008 12:34 GMT By Patrick Garratt


Ninja Gaiden 2 is one of the most frustrating games we’ve played in a long time. Not because we found it too difficult. We didn’t.

In fact, the frustration isn’t borne out of something entirely negative either. The trouble with Ninja Gaiden 2 is that, up to a point, it was easily the most brainless fun we’ve had all year: the problem was that the game suddenly turned round at chapter eight and stuck both it’s fingers up at us.

The premise of Ninja Gaiden 2, for the uninitiated, is to slash your way through hordes of enemies, racking up as many combos as you can and dismembering as many limbs as possible in the process. There isn’t that much more to it. That doesn’t make the game boring however: far from it, in fact.

Ninja Gaiden 2 really has nailed the “30 seconds of fun” adage Bungie coined all those years ago. For hours on end we had grins on our faces as we twirled our Lunar Staff, obliterating everyone that crossed our path. Who could ever get bored of being surrounded by up to five enemies, motion-blurred and gilded with blood, especially when emerging victorious with body parts lying all over the place and red goo splattered over the walls and floor? We didn’t.

The problem is that Ninja Gaiden 2 does. Around two thirds of the way through, the game suddenly removes those 30 seconds and forces you to attack from range. All of a sudden the close-quarter combat, which is what makes the whole experience so damn good, is removed. Instead, you find yourself dodging heat-seeking rockets from across the other side of the game map and fighting mechs while being bombarded with bombs you can do nothing to block.

The first Ninja Gaiden was just hard. We’ve got no qualms in admitting we couldn’t complete it. It was too much for us. We enjoyed it while it lasted but we simply couldn’t do it. The hardcore among us laughed as they beat the game on every difficulty and racked up as many Karma Points as possible in order to gloat. Ninja Gaiden 2, however, has all that: depth of moves, loads of weapons, many difficulty levels (at last one we can progress on), but from the eighth chapter onwards, those Karma Points and combos that many of you will be striving to attain won’t be down to the fact the you are any good at the game. It all comes down to luck.

Example: we turn down an alley-way and instantly are knocked back from a rocket. We looked around, can’t see anything. Get hit again. Run forward a bit, desperately looking for the origin. We get hit again. So we start to zig-zag, hoping whoever it bloody is that’s firing us will eventually miss. Get hit again. Finally get to the other side of the alleyway to find there are around six rocket-bearing ninjas who’ve all fired their rockets at the same time. Dead. Yes. Fun? No.

Should this irritant completely dominate your buying decision? We don’t think so. Hang on to the fact that we said that up until that point Ninja Gaiden 2 is the most fun we’ve had this year, because we weren’t lying. However, the reason we’re focusing so much on the negative is because the positive was so positive. We’d been taken from starry-eyed gamers to moany old cynics within minutes and we’d prefer the former, thanks very much.

Ninja Gaiden 2 is its own worst enemy. A few minor camera issues aside, the game up until that point was brilliant. The graphics were a little dated but the character models, particle effects and animations are top notch. For the first eight to ten hours you’ll have nothing but fun, and that’s more value for money than most games these days. However, instead of forcing you to actually become better at the game – as Acolyte (Easy) difficulty really doesn’t push the player that hard – it simply becomes unfair. And what’s worse, those 30 seconds of fun occur much less frequently. What a shame.

By Mike Bowden



  1. Blerk

    Gaiden, schmaiden. My Lego Indiana Jones has turned up! \o/

    #1 7 years ago
  2. patlike

    Oooh, nice. I’ll get that this weekend.

    #2 7 years ago
  3. pjmaybe

    Doesn’t count, you didn’t complete it on the hardest level :P

    #3 7 years ago
  4. morriss

    Leglol Indy! :)

    #4 7 years ago
  5. Blerk

    Nice review, although I raise an eyebrow at you referring to yourself as a collection of people. Surely “I” rather than “we” would have been sufficient here? Unless you have multiple personality disorder, of course. :-)

    #5 7 years ago
  6. morriss

    We is the site. There’s no ‘I’ in team, Blerk.

    #6 7 years ago
  7. pjmaybe

    All games reviewers do this. It’s like they belong to some glorious whole. Instead of a glorious hole.

    Good review. Confirmed that this’ll be a bargain basement job for me if at all.

    #7 7 years ago
  8. patlike

    We, as Mike says, is the site. We are hive.

    #8 7 years ago
  9. morriss

    Still, 10 hours or so of some of the best fun you’ll have all year is well worth the circa £25 you can pick it up for.

    #9 7 years ago
  10. Spiral

    I’m with Peej on this one. The demo camera annoyed the crap out of me far more than it did you by the looks of things, and if the game gets as unfair as you say then I’d just get fed up with it. One for later if nothing better comes along.

    #10 7 years ago
  11. morriss

    Still, 10 hours or so of some of the best fun you’ll have all year is well worth the circa £25 you can pick it up for.


    #11 7 years ago
  12. pjmaybe

    Might’ve lasted longer if you’d played it on the non-pussy level :)

    #12 7 years ago
  13. morriss

    Probably not, as I wouldn’t've been able to get that far at all and gave up. :)

    #13 7 years ago
  14. patlike

    Doesn’t sound amazing to me, to be honest. I’ve deleted the demo and there’s no way I’m going to pay for it.

    #14 7 years ago
  15. pjmaybe

    OT – did you play Sigma, Mike btw – and if so, how would you compare the two, difficulty wise. People keep telling me NG2 isn’t a patch on Sigma / the original NG for toughness…

    Fair comment or are they talking arsehats?

    #15 7 years ago
  16. Spiral

    I play games to death though. So I’d have 30 hours of fun over the 3 difficulty levels and many more of impotent rage. That’s a point: Do the rocket guys show up earlier on harder difficulties, or does it just make the usual ones stronger and throw more of the same type at you like the first one did?

    #16 7 years ago
  17. morriss

    Well again, I played through on Acolyte, which for me was perfect. Still died every now and then, and it didn’t crave me having to memorize 400 different moves.

    Warrior difficulty is about the same as NG1/B I reckon. Didn’t play Sigma, the tearing in demo put me off and the fact that I’d played both Black and 1 before wasn’t exactly a draw.

    #17 7 years ago
  18. morriss

    Spiral: the rocket guys show up a bit, in chapter 7, but as you’re in narrow corridors, they can be dealt with easily enough. However, in Chapter 8, they’re so far away and there more of them, and as your gaming space is much bigger, and you’ve got other enemies so close, it’s almost impossible to deal with them.

    You simply don’t have the time to aim with your arrow and a) not get hit by close-quarter enemies and b) not get hit by another rocket guy to the side, or behind you.


    #18 7 years ago
  19. DiodeX

    Umm, puts me off, I’ll wait til it hits the bargain bin.
    Lego Indy then :D

    #19 7 years ago
  20. morriss

    Lego Indy is getting the same scores as NG2.

    #20 7 years ago
  21. patlike

    I’m all over 360 Indy. Get it tomorrow, definitely.

    #21 7 years ago
  22. DiodeX

    As long as it doesn’t screw over then its fine!

    #22 7 years ago
  23. Psychotext

    I enjoyed the review and especially morriss referring to his multiple personalities.

    #23 7 years ago
  24. patlike

    I make them do that. All three of them.

    #24 7 years ago
  25. morriss

    We appreciate it, too.

    Weird though how everyone’s picking up on it this time when this is the 5th review and they all say, “we”.

    #25 7 years ago
  26. Psychotext

    No-one bothered reading the other reviews.

    #26 7 years ago
  27. morriss

    Well that would explain it, yeah. :)

    #27 7 years ago
  28. patlike

    Don’t listen to him. I read them.

    #28 7 years ago
  29. morriss

    Thanks Pat!

    #29 7 years ago

    Morriss, ninpo is your friend ;) Makes you invincibile don’t you know ;)

    #30 7 years ago
  31. morriss

    yeah. Play chapter 8 and tell me how that helps when they’re just tiny dots on the other side of the map.

    #31 7 years ago

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