October 8, 2013

Puppeteer (PS3)

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , , , , , , — Yukino @ 4:03 PM

Status: Finished all 21 curtains
Playtime: About 15 hours or so
Heads Collected: 66 of 100

With the holiday season approaching and the usual slew of annual sequels nipping at our heels, new and innovative titles such as Puppeteer are a welcome sight to this long-time gamer’s eyes. I knew from the first moment I caught wind of this fanciful Kabuki-style platformer from JapanStudio that it would become part of my Playstation library, something I will never regret and most likely chastise anyone who doesn’t add it to their own.

In this vibrant and charming chunk of software, you play as Kutaro, a young boy who’s been turned into a wooden puppet and caught up in a galactic struggle. The evil Moon Bear King has conquered the White Moon Castle and is capturing the souls of children, turning them into unwilling servants better known as grubs. The Moon Bear King has seized the Black Moon Stone for himself, destroyed the White Moon Stone, shattering it into shards and entrusting those shiny bits to his Zodiac themed generals. Recruited by the Moon Witch, Ezma Potts, Kutaro sets out to steal a pair of powerful scissors known as Calibrus and put a stop to the Moon Bear King ‘s plans. (more…)

June 12, 2012

Sorcery

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , , , , , — Yukino @ 5:03 PM

Status: Finished one run on Casual in 6 hours
Trophies: 21 of 34 unlocked

It’s not often a game running purely on motion controls comes along that I absolutely have to have. In fact, Sorcery was the very first one. Hell, I was so excited for a game that would utilize my Move controllers that I made sure we picked it up at midnight. While everyone else was in line to pick up their copies of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, I was the one lone pre-order for the wand waving extravaganza.
(more…)

March 15, 2012

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure

Stealth Elf is stealthy

Status: Finished once (played coop with my husband)
Achievements: 26 of 38
Gamerscore: 640/1000
Adventure Packs Purchased: Darklight Crypt, Dragon’s Peak

Skylanders had flown under my radar for a long time, mostly because I have a major prejudice against Activision these days (although not as bad as my hatred of Lionhead) but also due to my increasing dislike of gimmicky games. I’d also been extremely pumped for Skyrim, which had been my big Holiday 2011 game and consumed my life for a month straight.

After coming out of my Skyrim haze and seeing a bunch of our friends talking about how much they were enjoying Skylanders, we decided to take the plunge and picked up the starter kit, and adventure pack and a couple additional characters. Over his Christmas break, my husband and I drove all over looking for the now impossible to find toys and I watched him play at night until we managed to find a few toys I could register to myself.

Once I had Hex (Undead), Whirlwind (Air) and FlameSlinger (Fire) in hand, I was ready to venture into the Skylands. (more…)

March 30, 2011

The Curious Case of the Never-Ending Backlog

Nine out of ten gamers have one. We don’t mean for it to happen, but new and shinier things always seem to come our way, leading to last week’s new release finding its way to the stack of games we promise ourselves we will get back to just as soon as the summer lull comes around.

For some of us, it’s not so bad. Less than a baker’s dozen of past releases remain sealed or still have that fresh from the factory smell. And we will get to those, just as soon as we finish up a season of whatever EA Sports title or in-depth RPG is causing the hold up. For others (primarily those working in the industry, whether it be as developer or journalist), that stack of games is more likely triple what a normal gamer has waiting.  It’s not that you don’t want to play them, because you most definitely do, but in between playing or making games for work, plowing through weekly review copies and picking up the ones you aren’t comped, it doesn’t take long to watch your backlog develop into a monster. (more…)

You Don’t Know Jack

Status: Working through the last rounds
Achievements: 20 of 50
Gamerscore: 430/1250
DLC Purchased: None (yet!)

You Don’t Know Jack is the perfect trivia video game. No silly jumping around in front of a camera when all you want to do is veg out on the couch. Just crazy button mashing, yelling, and Screwing (no, not that kind of screwing!!) all in the name of winning. And collecting awesome prizes (but more on that in a bit). (more…)

March 18, 2011

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Status: 1 playthrough complete, no multiplayer
Achievements: 35 of 60
Gamerscore: 690/1250
DLC Purchased: None

There are few games that cause me to scream obscenities at my television on a regular basis that I still find enjoyable and push through to complete. The Assassin’s Creed franchise currently ranks number one in that category, with Brotherhood feeling more like an extension of AC2 than being a real “third” installment. (more…)

July 27, 2010

Naughty Bear

Filed under: Xbox — Tags: , , , , — Yukino @ 1:07 PM

Optional Goal: Destroy 1 video game, preferably this one

The concept was alluring – an M rated game starring an evil and malicious stuffed animal hell-bent on revenge and destruction. Everything seen in previews and trailers looked promising. It was one of the few summer releases that actually was on my “To Buy” list. Unfortunately, once Naughty Bear made its way into my Xbox 360 nothing but disappointment followed.

Poor Naughty. He didn’t deserve this.

The repetitive nature of the game coupled with a map that never seems to change is just the first of many complaints I have with Naughty Bear. While the game offers seven chapters with additional challenges, the map is exactly the same each time with very minimal changes to the goals for each challenge. They always have one particular Bear that you need to reach and punish and the optional destruction of X amount of item (insert gift, bird, rosette, etc here). Some challenges require stealth, or simply to not be injured, and that’s all fine and good. Games should be both fun and challenging. However, when you are on your twelfth attempt to clear a challenge asking you to not be seen and out of nowhere five enemies all seem to see you trying to cross the bridge to the next section of the map, you just want to throw your hands up in the air and walk away.

Clearing these challenges is imperative to your advancement in the game. The trophies gained from completing a level helps to unlock additional challenges and main story levels, as well as costumes to increase various stats for Naughty. It’s too bad that playing through them begins to feel like a chore. I would much rather scrub a toilet in a public bathroom than attempt one more run-through on an Indestructible mode challenge.

Ahh! The refreshing feel of water swirling around your head.

Earning points isn’t all that difficult. You can really add to the multiplier meter by sabotaging items and laying a trap right in front of it, then hiding in the forest until some poor sucker gets caught and scaring the stuffing out of him. Then let him limp around the disco for a while before slamming his head into the fire-pit and watching him burn to a smoldering pile of nothingness. But when you get to the challenges that require you to stay out of sight, you have to rely on sabotage and traps to buffer up some points, which is extremely boring and seems to take forever. Over time the de-fluffication moves become stale and you would rather just stab the opposition to death than set up the more elaborate kills and scares.

Naughty Bear also has a multiplayer game mode, but I was not able to experience it. All of my attempts to join matches failed. More often than not I would find myself all alone in the lobby, waiting patiently for someone to arrive. And when someone did show up, they disappeared almost as fast as the arrived. If there had been people available to play with, the multiplayer may have been entertaining, especially with friends.

My other major issue with Naughty Bear was with the sheer amount of glitches that I encountered. The very first level I played my game froze right as I was walking through the gate back to Naughty’s house to end the episode. Frustrating, but I can forgive it the first time. Second glitch I run into, literally, was getting stuck in a tree in the forest surrounding the Disco. Another disappointment as I was just about to progress to the last area of the map. There was also poor collision detection with the doors of the buildings. Often times bears would be standing in the doorway and the doors would close on them, but the bear would be fused with the door. Several times, especially during Stealth and Untouchable modes, I would be attacking an enemy who was coming through the door. And somehow, bears would be able to see or attack me even if the door was closed.

Overall Opinion

Naughty Bear could have been a lot of fun, but it underwhelms and under delivers. A major disappointment as it was one of the few summer titles that had originally caught my interest. Perhaps if the game had released with fewer glitches and more variety in the levels it would have seen a longer stay in my 360.

Buy Naughty Bear on Xbox 360 or PS3 from Amazon today

July 1, 2010

The Age of Motion

Why is it that game companies want to force me into moving around like an idiot in front of my TV to play my games? When I want to move around I tend to do something constructive, like baking, exercising or running away from spiders.

Going completely controller-free is not in my future, no matter how hard some companies might be trying to steer us in that direction. Part of being a gamer is memorizing button combos and having something in your hands you could almost throw at your TV. The controller is a natural extension of who and what we are.

At first I thought that we were set with the ridiculousness of the Wii. A controller shaped like a remote, waving our arms around, starving for real games and then watching as the great games sold horribly while the shovelware flew off store shelves. The Wii quickly became a hot item for the casual and new gamer demographics, with slews of four player sporting games leading the way. Nintendo also brought out some games for their core gamers, however the wait time in between those games turned a lot of those original purchases into dust collecting machines.

At E3 2010, Microsoft and Sony showcased their new motion control line up for the coming Holiday season. I was not at E3, so my opinions below do not contain any hands-on experience, but I believe there are other gamers who share in my hesitance to have another console turn into another fitness program.

Xbox Kinect (aka-Project Natal)

After everything I have seen and read post-E3, Kinect looks to be a large disappointment for its core gamers. Microsoft’s desire to convert more casual gamers to the system is all fine and good, but it’s a major slap in the face to the long term supporters. Not adding optional support for console selling franchises such as Halo and Gears of War doesn’t entice those hardcore FPS and action adventure gamers to run out and drop the $150 on a fancy motorized camera.

Being completely upfront with my readers, I strongly favour my Xbox 360 over my PS3 or the household Wii. I have spent thousands of dollars on retail and DLC games, I pay for a Gold subscription so that I can play online with my friends. I am not against purchasing accessories and games for a console if I believe that I am going to have a great gaming experience. Kinect’s high price tag and a launch line up of completely casual games that remind me of all the shovelware titles that we’ve previously seen on the Wii make me want to keep that $150 in my pocket. And not including any games (as of now) in that package leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

The only impressive game that I saw for Kinect was Dance Central, which I’m sure will be a hit with people who want to dance. Me, not so much. From everything I’ve read about it and impressions of people I know who were able to try it out, Dance Central is fun and challenging and worked well with the Kinect camera.

If Kinect remains a tool used only for casual and family games, it will inevitably fail. As much as they believe their hardcore gamers will be buying this on day one, I think that they will be shocked when that does not happen. I don’t know too many people who want to wave their hands around or use voice commands to play movies. Voice commands are fine if you’re the only person in the room, but what happens when you are having a party and everyone is talking? Who’s voice will the system respond to? How will it be able to differentiate amongst everyone in the room and pick out only your voice? And if someone walks behind you while you are playing, how can the Xbox be certain that person is just walking by and not mistake their actions as someone else trying to sign in? These are just a few questions I have not found the answers to, and we probably won’t until much closer to the November launch.

They talk a big game on how Kinect will be something their core gamers will embrace, yet I fail to see anything that makes me feel the need to run out and pre-order this today. We’ll see how things change as we come closer to the Holiday 2010 launch of Kinect and what Microsoft does to counteract a potential loss of sales to the Playstation Move.

Playstation Move

Instead of going completely controller free, Sony’s Move is a lot like the Wii – two unique controller pieces working together with the Eye (camera) to bring the player a new sense of involvement with their Playstation gaming. So while you can choose to play games swinging your arms around, you’ll at least look as though you’re actually doing something.

The key difference between Kinect and Move is that Sony is ensuring it’s motion controllers will resonate with the potential new and casual gamer markets as well as their core gamers. They are bringing a solid mix of family, casual and hardcore games to the PS3 that will make use, if you so choose, of the Move controllers. Killzone 3 and the newest SOCOM title will both offer DualShock 3 and Move support, giving their core gamers a perfect reason to invest in Move. It’s nice to be able to play with your family every once in a while, but there are times when you want to play online with your buddies, and pretending to look down the scope of a sniper rifle is more fun with a controller than it is just pointing your finger at a screen.

Another bonus with Move is that Sony has announced that their Move line-up will be retailing for $39.99 per title (this does not include other titles that support Move controls such as Killzone 3, etc). Smarter still is their introduction Move bundle for people who would like to be up and running with a  game. Granted, it is the standard sports collection, but it is better than getting a peripheral without any software.

While games like Invizimals and the sports collection are not titles I would spend my money on, Sony will be bringing out some action adventure titles such as Heroes on the Move and the Sly Cooper Collection which has a lot of the core gamers talking. These are the kinds of games that Microsoft is missing from it’s launch line up – games that do more than have you swat flies from the screen or run on the spot. Sony already made those types of games for the PS2 when they released the EyeToy.

My only concern with Move is that I might experience the same stiffness/soreness in my wrist that I get when playing a Wii game for more than 20 minutes. Holding a traditional style controller is much more natural position. While I may not play a Move title for an extended period of time, they are bringing some excellent titles to the system that I am sure will have me using my PS3 more often than I do now.

~~~

I’d love to hear any thoughts or concerns that any readers of this post might have. Objective thoughts only, please!

June 4, 2010

3D Dot Game Heroes

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , , , — Yukino @ 12:13 AM

Purchase 3D Dot Game Heroes now from Amazon

(Playing a trade copy of the game which does not have trophies enabled.)

There is a saying that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That is definitely the case with 3D Dot Game Heroes as it pays its respects to the classic 2D role playing masterpieces that shaped so many gamers of my generation.

3D Dot Game Heroes is a brilliant adventure game styled after the most famous 2D adventure RPG of all time: Legend of Zelda. A tale of a reluctant hero summoned by the King to retrieve six magical orbs and defeat an evil sorcerer, the only thing missing from this story is a princess in distress. Throw in a few dashes of humour, and a 3-D environment, and you have yourself an entertaining jaunt through the vast land of Dotnia.

After a brief cinematic where the King of Dotnia pleads with you to save the kingdom, you collect the Ancient Sword and begin your journey across the vast plains, forests and deserts of Dotnia. You’ll want to start out wandering the fields close to Dotnia and its neighbouring village in search of some coin to purchase a nifty shield and some other supplies, not to mention start a couple of side quests moving along. Now you are on your way to becoming a grade A hero.

Your destiny includes listening to smart-ass comments from old men in temples

I believe I wasted a good three or four hours traveling the countryside and talking with villagers, slashing up enemies and tufts of grass for coins in order to enhance my sword. While the basic sword is fine and you don’t have to upgrade or use any other sword, I felt that beefing up my sword was best for getting through the later temples. The extra length and width allowed me to move more quickly through rooms that I had been struggling in and dying too soon for my liking. Exploring the countryside early on proved a bit of a mistake as I soon found myself far off on pathways that I was not prepared for with no means to defend myself. Nothing like getting hit with projectiles and not having a shield to defend with.

Along the way you will acquire the rest of the weapons for your arsenal. It wouldn’t be right if this game didn’t include a boomerang, trusty bombs, and special foot gear. The boomerang is perfect for hitting those just out of reach red buttons. Hidden passages and caves can be discovered with a well-placed bomb in front of cracked walls or stones. Yes, there are even fairy caverns where you can replenish your health at no cost. My favourite cave is From Cave, where there are plenty of in-jokes regarding From Software’s games, including Demon’s Souls.

Now, I was never a big fan of Zelda games. Link never seemed to question why Princess Zelda was always getting herself in trouble. The top-down view of the original games just didn’t appeal to me. I even attempted to play one of the Nintendo 64 versions hoping that I would enjoy it, but it only took a few hours to remind me that I just cannot get into the Zelda groove. This may be due to the lack of proper direction that seems to plague me. 3D Dot Heroes suffers from the same lack of direction, or extremely vague directions, at various points throughout the game. Armed with nothing more than “head west” and a flashing marker on your world map, there are times when you just have to wander around and pray you are going in the right direction.

Once I got past that minor hurdle, the game progressed much more smoothly. Within a few short hours I had made my way through three caves, solved a couple puzzles, delivered mail (a fun little side quest that netted me another Life Shard) and even located a bow for long range attacks. All I needed was to get into a rhythm and I was flying through the main storyline. All told, the main quest doesn’t take too long to complete; a little over a dozen or so hours if you run through the basics. Dungeons can be revisited and new rooms discovered with coloured keys for added bonuses. You can also replay any of the bosses if you wish.

Dotnia’s #1 Mini-Game: Block Defense

In between temple and cave spelunking, there are oodles of side quests and some very addicting mini-games your hero can enjoy. Everyone needs to take a break once in a while, so why not do it playing a fun game and maybe pocket some free money or prizes in the process? My personal favourite is Blockout, a brick breaking game which you can find in Ortego Village on your way to the third temple. You can also put your fancy Dash Boots to use by running laps in Dash Circuit, where the goal is to complete three laps without bumping into obstacles which will slow you down. The third mini-game, very popular with Dotnians of all ages, is Block Defense and it plays exactly like you think it would. Like any tower defense game, you must build defenses along a path to stop oncoming waves of enemies from reaching and destroying your castle.

By far the best selling point of 3D Dot Game Heroes is the character creation tool. Hours can be lovingly wasted on building all sorts of people, animals, mecha and just plain random objects to become your avatar as you slay the beasts of Dotnia. Using the in-game tool or the online version, you can save your heroes to a USB stick and upload them to the Hall of Heroes. At the Hall, you can also browse through other submitted Heroes and download them to use in your own game. 3D Dot Game Heroes has a great community of creators Atlus is committed to nurturing and assisting it in any way that it can. Atlus has always been great to its fans, and this is just one more notch on their belt of awesome.

Bringing back the Pompadour

Overall Opinion

If you are looking to relive your gamer roots, give 3D Dot Game Heroes a spin in your PS3. Not only will you remember everything you loved and hated way back when, you’ll also get a good kick out of the several load screen images featuring all kinds of RPG game covers remade in 3D Dot style. Since the text is pretty limited in most cases and fairly easy to understand, you can introduce your kids to the sometimes frustratingly good, clean fun that was our childhood. And at $40 for a brand new copy, including all the things that were once DLC in Japan, 3D Dot Game Heroes won’t hurt your wallet too much.

Review product was provided by Atlus, and does not affect the outcome of this review.

Original First Look from GamingAngels (March 2010)

Once upon a time, in an 8-bit land not so very far away, the 8-bit people and their 8-bit pets, 8-bit grannies and 8-bit monsters came to the realization that 8-bit worlds didn’t have the market value they once did. The money stopped pouring in and life became pretty stagnant. It was around this time they sold their story to the fine creative minds at Atlus, at a reduced rate of course, and proclaimed that they would try this “3-D” craze all the kids have been talking about. (Plus, the King had seen James Cameron’s Avatar, and he knew that 3-D meant billion dollar sales, so he figured it couldn’t hurt.)

Coming May 2010 – 3D Dot Game Heroes: The Game

Dotnia is a land of many classic dungeons and colour coded keys. And swords. Like the giant one the greatest Hero of them all used to wield, until he stuck it into the ground. His sword was so great that it was nearly three times his size and could go through trees. No other sword can do that, just his uber special “yeah that’s not really a glitch” sword. And there are orbs. Because the people of Dotnia have seen countless fantasy movies at the 8-bit drive in and they know that magical orbs don’t get enough love these days.

Oh the humority!

So the King gets up from his throne and declares they are going to upgrade from a 3D 8-bit existence to a 3D one. Now everyone is excited. There is purpose again to their mundane lives. Something is going to happen! And you are chosen to be the new Hero. Aren’t you just happy?

Here we are in 2010 and we are talking about an 8-bit game that isn’t pre-1990s. Why? Because 8-bit games have universal appeal, they are fun and charming, and 3D Dot Heroes is probably the best flattery for the classic 2D action adventure genre that ever will be.

Everybody wants to play a game that is fun. 3D Dot Heroes has all the in-humour and basic yet not-so-basic familiarity of games such as Legend of Zelda or Castlevania way back in the day. From what I have seen via the live web demo I attended last week and through various clips online, I have determined that this game is going to have copious amounts of fun wrapped inside a candy coating of awesome. It’s up to you just how much fun you want to have. Journeying in seven expansive dungeons and exploring the vast lands of Dotnia will probably take about 15 hours for a basic start to finish with a bit of dabbling adventure. Increased difficulties can be unlocked for those who want more of a hardcore “I grew up in the 80s!” experience. (And for those of you out there, just because we grew up with these games in the 80s doesn’t mean they didn’t kick our bumbs back then.)

You can choose from one of three various alignments for your Hero – Royal Heir (balanced), Scholar (one of those nerdy book loving… I mean more magically inclined) or Hero (the slightly more I’m going to bash you with this club type). Instead of leveling up your character, all health and magic points are attached to your sword. So make sure you keep an eye out for red (healing) and green (magic) apples if you see you are about to die. And play smart! If you see a monster with a golden crown symbol over his head, that means he’s going to be a bit tougher than an ordinary one of his kind. Don’t think you can take him on? There is no shame in running from a battle if it means you will live to see another dungeon.

And how about mini-games? During the demo I was able to check out two of the three mini-games that are included at NO EXTRA CHARGE! Block Defense is a tower defense mini game in which you will try to stop the bad guys from getting to Point B from Point A, setting up towers (Ha!) along the way in hopes to kill them D-E-D dead. You can also use your custom made character to help if you want, or you can make your towers do all the work (boy, you really are a lazy Hero!). The second game Blockout challenges you to clear out all of the offending blocks in your way with just a few balls at your disposal.

Now, the Japanese were able to get an awesome version of 3D Dot Heroes a few months ago, which is cool and all, but they had to wait for some things to be released as download content and we North Americans don’t. Neener neener neener! There are bonus Block Defense levels that we get on the disc, as well as some added pre-made characters to choose from, the option to install the game to the PS3 hard drive (yes, I said “option”-you don’t have to, but the game will load faster if you do) and the best part of it all – the Loading Screen Gallery.

I could spend hours just watching the Loading Screen Gallery. Our 8-bit inhabitants spent hours posing themselves against white backdrops to look like our favourite game box art just to get our attention. Part of the fun is trying to guess them all.

So what do the people of Dotnia ask in return for all the awesome fun they are bundling up for us?

$39.99 US

Yup, for all that stuff I talked about and the epic in-game soundtrack that I am mentioning now, $39.99 will buy you a ginormous good time. There will be several hours of creating amazing characters that you can save to USB and share online with friends and strangers, all of which will be supported by Atlus. Can’t forget about all those cool trophies you’ll want to collect, which will mean more than one play through, not like you won’t play it over and over again to see if you can find all the swords and easter eggs without cheating. You also get a handy camera option, so you can take snapshots of your character taking down hordes of beasts and then use that as a desktop or PS3 background and brag to your friends or impress that boy/girl in your life with your “skillz”.

If you start saving 20 cents a day right now, you will be able to buy 3D Dot Game Heroes on May 11th and bring some financial stability back to Dotnia. What are you waiting for? Check your couches, your car and your linty pockets and pre-order it now!

(No editors were harmed during the writing of this article, however you are urged have a tall latte instead of a grande one and use that 20 cents you save everyday to help the Dotnians clothe and feed their pet dragons. And if you do that, they just might let Yukino out of the Flame Temple. It’s pretty hot in here. There’s fire in the Flame Temple, you know.)

May 5, 2010

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , , , — Yukino @ 8:25 PM

Status: Further than I did in the 360 version, but not completed
Trophies: 12 of 51
DLC Purchased: None

Purchase Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 from Amazon

Reviewed for GamingAngels – Oct 2, 2009

Excerpt from review:

Having played (and been stumped) by the original version of Ninja Gaiden 2 on the 360, I decided to give the Sigma version of the game a try. Traditionally, the Sigma and Black versions of Ninja Gaiden have been near impossible to play difficulty-wise. Yet, knowing this full well, I find myself enjoying the latest Team Ninja had to offer me.

Some people will laugh at me. “Ninja Gaiden isn’t that hard,”  they’ll say. Well, let me tell you, as some one who is not the best and hack & slash-esque titles, even playing this on easy is more difficult than most other games in this genre. Add in the fact there are a couple new bosses and you have one female gamer mashing buttons like crazy trying to take out the Black Spider Ninja Clan who have been pestering Ryu Hayabusa for so long.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is going to require some install room on your PS3, so make sure there is a little more than 3.25 Gigabytes of space open for it. The install itself took my 60gig system about 10 minutes to load to its memory. (Yes, you will still need the game disc in order to play!) While the game puts vitals on your harddrive, you are treated to a voiced over version of the comic that is included in the Special Edition booklet.

We open to see the Black Spider Ninja Clan attack Special Agent Sonia and Muramasa in his shop. Ryu shows his face, and its time to whoop some evil ninja butt. The control layout is very similar to the 360 version. X is your jump function, Square and Triangle are your light and heavy attacks, Circle throws shuriken and is your interaction button (opening chests and using the save and shop totems), with L1 as your block button. As you progress, you will also pick up ranged weapons which you will be using the L2 and R2 buttons to utilize. Wielding your katana and making sure to block, you will quickly find yourself discovering new abilities and techniques, acquiring some easy Trophies for your collection when successfully learning them.

As you chase after the Black Spider Ninja Clan and the elusive Elizebet, not only will you learn new moves, but you will also locate various weapons for Ryu’s arsenal. My personal favourite is the Lunar Staff, but there are many other types of blades you will find. Each weapon can be upgraded at Muramasa shops that have the blue light shining beside them.

You will also find yourself traveling the globe in pursuit of the mysterious Elizebet, who is in possession of the Demon Stone stolen from your village. You will be battling against the Greater Fiends as they transform various locations such as New York City into Fiend Realms, as well as Genshin, leader of the Black Spider Ninja Clan, and others who have sided against you.

Some very powerful female characters are included in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. Other than the evil Elizebet, we are treated to a newcomer in the Dragon Shrine-Maiden Momiji, the dangerous yet beautiful Ayane, and Rachel the Demon Hunter. These three women are available to play during Team Missions mode, once they have been unlocked.

Team Missions mode allows you to play over the PSN with another player or team up with an AI partner and reach certain goals. Available partners, weapons and skills are all determined on how far along you are in Story Mode. There are a few simple rules for this mode:

1) Items cannot be accessed during this mode
2) Weapons and Ninpo cannot be switched once the mission has begun
3) If you cannot save your team mate in time, or you both die at the same time, the mission is over and you will have to retry

In comparison to the Xbox 360 version of the game, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is very close to the original in terms of music and graphics to what I recall. I will say, the design team has tightened up the overall look of the game, and the redrawing of the characters to make them look more adult is a big bonus. I much prefer the new look for Ayane as compared to her usual babyfaced DOA (Dead or Alive franchise) style.

I have only had two issues with the game. First off, the game requires you to be signed into your profile in order to play. While I understand that it wants access to your profile so that it can keep the leaderboards updated, it is not to the player’s advantage if there is an internet issue in your neighbourhood which is keeping you from playing your game. As for my second issue, I cannot be for certain it is the fault of the game itself or if it has to do with the latest PS3 firmware update. I have experienced “black outs” on the screen during boss fights and randomly at other points in the game. I will be playing and the game will pause momentarily, hitting a black screen for a few seconds. It does come back, but always throws me off when it does so.

The last is not so much an issue as it is a slight annoyance. When acquiring items such as technique or notebook scrolls off fallen bodies, I’m noticing it takes about 10 seconds after I hit the Proceed button to return to gameplay. Exiting from Muramasa’s Shop also has this problem. I don’t recall so much of a lag with the 360 version of the game.

Overall Opinion:

If I was to choose between the 360 and PS3 versions of this title, I would have to call it a draw. While this is a bit easier than the first version, it also has the drawbacks of requiring an install and the minor lag issue I noted. That said, this is still an incredibly fun game. The blood has been toned down a bit to a more realistic level than NG2 but that really does not detract from the game. I do give this version a slight plus over the 360 edition purely because I have been able to play it for a much longer period of time. I’m sure that has to do with the fact I am finding it easier to play on Acolyte mode. Team Ninja’s Sigma edition is not nearly as impossible as Ninja Gaiden Black (thank goodness!) which makes it less of a chore to go back in and take another go at a boss that stumps me. If you have less patience than I do (and trust me, sometimes I have very little), then this game is not for you.

Design by ThrallMind