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Review

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed: February 21, 2012
  • VITA

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus stumbles with its incorporation of the Vita's features, but harnessing the skills of Ryu Hayabusa is as electrifying as ever.

The path of the ninja is a difficult and deadly one. It's brutal and bloody, and if you have the skills to walk it, it's immensely satisfying. 2007's Ninja Gaiden Sigma for the PlayStation 3 was a great update of one of the greatest action games of all time. Now, it's on the Vita as Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, and although the implementation of Vita features occasionally gets in the way, the years since Sigma's original release have done little to dull its edge. If you're up for a challenge and you haven't walked this path before, don't let this opportunity pass you by.

You spend most of your time in Sigma as series protagonist Ryu Hayabusa, a preternaturally agile ninja whose assortment of abilities makes him a swift and merciless bringer of death. The incredible controls make you feel seamlessly connected to Ryu; the instant you direct him to block, roll, or soar through the air to slice an opponent, he does it. It's a thrill to wield Ryu's gifts of power and grace, particularly because you constantly need to make skillful use of them to survive.

None of the enemies are pushovers. You face well-trained military operatives, demon-like fiends, and formidable bosses. Given the chance, any of them can quickly turn the tables on you. Knowing that each battle could easily be your last makes each one you survive a rewarding victory. If you don't want to be fighting for your life every step of the way, Sigma Plus has a difficulty option that makes things much easier, but removing the fangs from the game's combat also removes what makes it so special.

Ryu has the skills to make short work of just about any enemy he encounters, but possessing those skills and using them are two different things. You can't just swing your sword around willy-nilly and expect to emerge victorious; you must know when to evade and when to attack, and you must get past the defenses of your enemies before you can slice them to pieces. It can be grueling at first, and you may initially find yourself losing to the run-of-the-mill ninjas you encounter early on. But as you play, you naturally get better, developing a better sense of how to use Ryu's abilities to more effectively slaughter your enemies.

Ryu is extraordinarily agile, but even he can't avoid a fight forever.

Getting better and being able to surmount challenges that previously seemed dire is an invigoratiing sensation, making combat of Ninja Gaiden as rewarding today as it was when the series made its debut. Unfortunately, the camera still has a tough time in tight spots just like it did when the series made its debut, but this minor blemish doesn't impact the action frequently enough to significantly interfere with the intensity.

Along with a host of minor tweaks to the original Ninja Gaiden, Sigma added a few chapters in which you play as the demon hunter Rachel. Rachel isn't as quick and nimble as Ryu, but her war hammer really packs a wallop, and she has her own arsenal of attacks that are satisfying to learn and employ. Her more hard-hitting approach to combat makes for a pleasant change of pace, and she never overstays her welcome.

As you advance, you're rewarded not only with that intangible sense of becoming a more effective and lethal ninja, but also with better weapons and new techniques that help make you such a ninja. Some of these techniques take the form of ninpo, or ninja magic, and these can be very helpful when you're surrounded by enemies. Unfortunately, Sigma Plus takes one cue from Sigma that it shouldn't have; where that game required you to shake the controller to power up ninpo, this one requires you to perform various simple touch actions, like tapping a particular area of the rear touch pad repeatedly, to build up a spell's strength. These short sequences are easily completed, but they break up the flow of battle.

Two swords. One to deal with the tank and one in case of emergencies.

Sigma Plus also incorporates the Vita's touch and tilt functionality into Ryu's ranged attacks. When using the bow (or just entering first-person view to examine your surroundings), you can look around by moving the Vita, and you can fire at a specific spot by tapping the screen. Unfortunately, just grazing the screen with your finger (which is easy to do) moves you into first-person view, and this can result in disaster when it happens in the heat of combat. Eventually you may learn to keep your fingers from straying onto the screen, but an option to turn this touch functionality off altogether would have been a better solution.

Sigma Plus looks gorgeous on the Vita. Silky-smooth animations make the brutal combat captivating, and though the environments look a bit sterile by current standards, solid art design gives the varied regions you explore an exotic sense of history. More importantly, the fast, intense, challenging combat is as exciting as ever. With its lengthy, consistently thrilling campaign and a slew of ninja trials that really put your skills to the test, Sigma Plus certainly gives you your money's worth. Some of the Vita's features are crammed in here in inelegant ways that don't benefit the overall experience, but this is still a fine version of a stellar action game. If you somehow still haven't experienced the excitement of Ninja Gaiden, you should play Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus.

The Good
Exceptional combat
Superb animation
Lots of great content
The Bad
Camera struggles in tight spaces
Problematic integration of touch controls
8
Great
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Discussion

31 comments
ajay1984
ajay1984

I am tired of trying to beat the game on very hard. I cant even make it past the first level to leave the village let alone reach the first save point. Its a good game up until very hard i dont onow what to do, i dont want to play the other difficulties cause i have played and beaten them but this is one of the most difficult games i have come across this far. If all the other ninja gaidens are this hard i will not be buying another ill just stick to the demos lol.

daviz88
daviz88

the person who designed this game is retarded

randyfitzps3
randyfitzps3

For what it's worth, the in game touch controls are almost entirely optional--the only thing you're absolutely required to do is use the rear touch pad for ninpo charging.  It's kind of dumb, but it's not that intrusive.  The touch bow controls are awful, so just switch it to button control in the options.


Also, is it just me or was this game free on plus for like only a week?  I'm glad I got it when it was up.

MALMSTEEN4774
MALMSTEEN4774

Im getting a PS Vita, and this Game is going to be my First to buy. im buying this Game from the PS Vita Store! :D

LatinproX
LatinproX

There are better looking games on the psp, but the controls seem tight on the vita.

krakarcedes
krakarcedes

I think they forgot to include the motion control bow as one of the worst feaures in this game. Personaly I travel a lot and play with my vita when I am in the bus I can never take a clear shot. For me it is a big problem but I guess when you are not moving the problem isn't that big.

tr1n1tr1n1
tr1n1tr1n1

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

eliebaz
eliebaz

I believe the Vita is still a new system and therefore producers aren't able to tap into the potential of the vita and as time progresses games will get a lot better also people will be more willing to buy the console but, ninja gaiden is definitely a game i would love to play on a portable system

kent6650
kent6650

Haha. I've played the original Ninja Gaiden on Xbox then Ninja Gaiden Black, lastly Ninja Gaiden Sigma, and now this... haha. It's really getting old. Glad to see it though, it just means this game is awesome. I'd recommend it to those who haven't played Ninja Gaiden before.

KadeStorm
KadeStorm

@Triangels I would say that the graphics are virtually PS3 save for some of the textures, which one can only notice upon close-up careful observation. So really, in essence, it is as close to being identical as a game gets. . . great stuff! I really wanted to play this on the PS3, but I have an aversion to spending long hours in front of consoles. So the PSVita version is a real blood-soaked treat!

twizzickle
twizzickle

when you include learning curve its way way longer than 10 hours

Triangels
Triangels

The Game is aged, but graphics are still pretty cool on VITA and way close to PS3 version also - but if u never had chance to Play ninja gaiden, the gameplay is not really aged. its still 10 hours of fun and unforgettable moments and battles .

JmanSeo
JmanSeo

@rax1000 I guess how the game aged, and how it's near exactly the same as the PS3 version. Since this is technically a new game, you would think they would add something new. Personally 8.0, not bad for a port of a game that's pretty old.

rax1000
rax1000

If you compare PS3 to PS Vita version you will see that it isn`t that much different,but PS3 version got 9.0, while Vita got just 8.0. I mean where is the logic there???

digi-demon
digi-demon

Love NG but wont be buying a Vita just to play this game again... But if NG3+ or a NG Trilogy was released things may differ....

IkariShinji
IkariShinji

I love Ninja Gaiden games but now it, seeing it re-released again, it actually seems either a little too old or not old enough to want to play again.

thelostkin
thelostkin

unless you're a diehard trophy whore collector.. no need to buy the same game again

Raziel_0
Raziel_0

this awesome game is now portale!!!! im in the future.

IkedaTeramusa
IkedaTeramusa

I'm eyeballing this but we used to see who could get the furthest in this game without a death. Fun times. So if it's just portable now... I don't know if the value is there. But don't think I'm not eyeballing it. This Vita launch has some very good games mixed in with the crap.

Dante9916
Dante9916

2 bad already played on Ps3.

Thorgallll
Thorgallll

I played NG and NG black on the XBOX, later on my XBOX 360, I bought Sigma for the PS3. I stop here I think lol. I don't have to mention anymore that I somewhat like this game.

doomguy9
doomguy9

Never played this game before so I'm getting this today when I pick up my VIta.

anticusho1984
anticusho1984

didn't try the other versions only the first for xbox I'll get this one for sure

Pelon208
Pelon208

typing this on my vita yeiii

megakick
megakick

I guess great if you haven't played it already...

Renzokucant
Renzokucant

never played ninja gaiden on ps3 before; but i'll give it a shot on the vita

ALLoY1717
ALLoY1717

I'm glad it scored high but I already own this game twice. I just hope that Sony realise that this time around simply porting console games is fine, but they can't be the main attraction.

SolidSnakeJT
SolidSnakeJT

@ajay1984 who cares if you dont finish it on very hard...you played the game already and probably enjoyed it.

Zevvion
Zevvion

@kent6650 I've played all the new Ninja Gaiden games. Including Black,, the best. 

I still got this, because it meant Ninja Gaiden whenever. That's a huge plus for me.

zzamaro
zzamaro

 @kent6650 Same here. I wouldn't have gotten this if the PS3 version had trophies. Anyway, I love this game. It's leagues better than NG2/NGS2.

MALMSTEEN4774
MALMSTEEN4774

 @rax1000 I know right. they are the EXACT same Game. This Game is a Legend! i never get bored of it. its so Challenging, and it test your reflex in a ridiculous way. Not to mention when you get into higher Difficulties, mistakes are extremely deadly. 

Ninja Gaiden Sigma More Info

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  • First Released
    • PlayStation 3
    • PlayStation Vita
    The Ninja Gaiden series makes its way onto the PS3, under the title Sigma.
    8.5
    Average User RatingOut of 6422 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Ninja Gaiden Sigma
    Developed by:
    Team Ninja
    Published by:
    Tecmo, Koei Tecmo Games, Eidos Interactive, TECMO KOEI GAMES CO., LTD., Tecmo Koei America Corp.
    Genres:
    Adventure, Action, 3D, Open-World
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Suggestive Themes