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Hands On: Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Demo

Tecmo makes its upcoming demo available for play in advance. Find out what to expect.


We'll all be getting an early sampler of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 later this week as Tecmo releases a demo for the upcoming PS3 port on September 17. The demo was available for advance play at a series of demo events over the weekend, so I headed out to Shinjuku on Sunday for a sneak peak.

Your early Sigma 2 experience will include playable Ryu and Ayane, each in unique stages.

Ryu's stage, available in three difficulty settings, is set in the heights of the Tokyo city stage that opens up the game. His stage ends with a battle against a giant Buddha boss.

Ayane's stage is a lot less vertical, taking place strictly on the ground as you navigate through a maze of city streets. Her stage, somewhat oddly, just comes to an end at a certain point, with nothing as impressive the signature statue boss of Ryu's stage.

International press have previewed both stages before. You can see clips from the two stages on IGN's video page.

In the demo, Ryu fights a different giant, although the upper body perspective looks the same.
Team Missions look like this (although the demo has just Ayane and Ryu).

I'm not really a master Ninja Gaiden player, so I'm going to refrain from commenting on gameplay or level design changes from the Xbox 360 Ninja Gaiden 2. I't also a bit difficult to do visual comparisons without the two versions next to each other, although my initial reaction was that Sigma 2 doesn't look as clean as the 360 version. You'll be able to make direct comparisons yourself, even if you don't have the 360 version, as Ryu's stage is also available in that version's demo.

Sigma 2 most impressed me, and seemed to draw the biggest crowd, during the giant Buddha boss fight. You don't actually take on the full statue -- just its upper body, which menaces you from the side of the building. After sufficiently beating up on the statue's arms and upper body, the player I was watching (I didn't get to try the fight myself, as my demo session was with Ayane) pulled off an impressive cinematic finishing move on the statue's face.

Also of note in the demo build is the previously reported lack of gore. While I noticed enemy body parts getting chopped off, I didn't see any blood. The difference between the 360 and PS3 versions are very clear in this particular area. I don't personally care one way or the other, but Sigma 2 seems to earn its D CERO rating, up from the adults-only Z rating of the 360 version. (Players outside of Japan should note that there could be regional differences in this area, so you should check the demo for yourself.)

Sigma 2 on playable display at Bic Camera Shinjuku. They also had Dynasty Warriors Strike Force Special playable on Xbox 360.

In addition to the two scenario stages, the demo will feature two Team Mission mode stages playable as either Ayane or Ryu. These stages pair you up with a second character and ask that you complete certain tasks. In the stage I played, I just had to keep on taking out a seemingly endless stream of enemies. At the end, both characters are ranked for karma.

In the final version of the game, the Team Mission stages will be online multiplayer. The Tecmo Koei rep at the demo session told me that the demo we'll get on Thursday will be strictly offline, with the partner controlled by the CPU.

Even with online disabled, the Sigma 2 demo looks like it's going to provide a content-packed sampler of the full experience. Best of all, if you like what you see, that full experience is itself just a couple of weeks away.

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