Developer: Tomonobu Itagaki’s Team of Ninjas
Platform: Microsoft 360° Entertainment System
Availablity: NINJA in U.S.A. June 3rd, BACK to TOKYO June 5th, Vigoorian Empire June 6th
Genre: Dial-A-Combo Action
MSRP: 5999 yellow essence
ESRB Rating: Mature 17+ (full frontal ninjitsu, graphic mammary physics, amputation without consent)
Final US Box Art
-The Sequel to the Original
Ryu Hayabusa returns in the only true sequel to Ninja Gaiden®. Ninja Gaiden® II© features a new and improved game engine developed from the ground up exclusively for Microsoft® and Xbox 360™ by Team NINJA and legendary game developer Tomonobu Itagaki. Ninja Gaiden® II© represents the best in amazing visuals, responsive control, and thrilling combat with an extensive assortment of ninja weaponry. Now go buy Ninja Gaiden® II©, a Zune™, and stop holding out for Windows 7!
-“It doesn’t have to make sense, just make it awesome” Design
Team Ninja doesn’t worry itself too much with things like narrative, or even cohesion between one level and the next. It’s as if they brainstormed as many awesome things as they could and gave the list to a tank of manatees to sort out. Zombies with chainsaws and cannons for arms, fighting an angel that shoots lightning bolts on the Statue of Liberty, taking on a six-limbed werewolf in the Coliseum, ninja dogs with bees in their mouths so when they bark they shoot bees at you…it's so bad!
-4 Difficulty Levels, something for everyone
Path of the Acolyte– The lowest difficulty level, it is designed specifically for people who have not played many action games or aren't very good at action games. Whereas “Ninja Dog Mode” was really just the normal difficulty with extra health items thrown in, Path of the Acolyte has the inherent difficulty toned down significantly. Along with more forgiving health regeneration, expect to see smaller groups of less aggressive enemies in this mode. Itagaki has said he designed this mode so that his wife can beat NGII.
Path of the Warrior– This is the difficulty for people who've beaten Ninja Gaiden. It’s been designed so that it remains enjoyable while still maintaining an appropriate level of challenge to keep things interesting, but if you are a Ninja Gaiden veteran don't be surprised if it still seems pretty easy. Itagaki claims he can beat this mode while drunk.
Path of the Mentor– This is where things start to get difficult. The goal with this mode is to challenge even experienced Ninja Gaiden players without discouraging them. Itagaki says he needs to be sober and really focused in order to get through this mode.
Path of the Master Ninja– Beating the game on this difficulty will be a badge of honor. Any GAFfers who accomplish this feat will have their names listed here so they may be worshiped.
-70 Achievements, collect them all!
The achievements are your standard fair, with some being “secret achievements” to avoid spoiling exactly how many chapters the game has and some boss fights. There are also 5 point achievements that are rewarded for playing through the entire game with a single weapon.The 60th is one of Team Ninja’s patented “Mark of Shame” achievements. It apparently is unlocked when you use 100 continues.
Players can now record their battles from any save statue and to watch whenever they want. They can also upload a single clip to Xbox LIVE that others can download and view from the leaderboard.
-60 FPS > HD
Ninja Gaiden II not only runs at 60 frames per second (on the lowest difficulty), it also features the most efficient use of the 360's EDRAM ever! It uses 9.998MB of the available 10MB, leaving just 2KB go to waste. 1120x585 > 1024x600, in your face COD4!
-Over the top violence, different health and inventory systems, same old camera
Deal with it, fuckers.
Ryu seemed to have a large assortment of weapons in the original Ninja Gaiden on Xbox, but the reality is the game only had three distinct classes of melee weapons. As unfortunate as that was, the real problem with the arsenal was there was almost no incentive to use anything besides the Dragon Sword because it was the most effective weapon in just about every situation. This time around Team Ninja has decided to do away with the palate-swops and create eight distinct (and hopefully useful) melee weapons.
Dragon Sword- It’s still Ryu’s balanced, go-to weapon, but give the other stuff a try.
Vigoorian Flails- These nunchuks of death are the only other returning melee weapon from the original Ninja Gaiden on Xbox.
Lunar Staff- Added in the DLC expansion, and later included in Ninja Gaiden Black, this staff can now be upgraded to with spiked balls on chains at either end.
Dragon’s Claw and Tiger’s Fang- These dual swords were the best part about Sigma.
Tonfa- They start out as little more than nightsticks, but after an upgrade they’ll be able to slice through anything.
Kusari-gama- A chain with a small scythe on one end and a spiked weight on the other. It has incredible range.
Falcon’s Talon- These bad boys turn Ninja Gaiden II into the Wolverine.
Eclipse Scythe- It’s a huge scythe with immense power. You are the angel of death.
The biggest change to the projectile weapons is that they can now be charged to perform Ultimate Techniques, just like the melee weapons.
Shuriken- These cross-shaped throwing stars are weak, but they are useful for maintaining combos.
Incendiary Shuriken- This shuriken sticks to an enemy and detonates after a short time.
Windmill Shuriken- It’s a large, bladed boomerang. The weapon of choice for feral Australian children.
Fiend’s Bane Bow- This powerful compound bow can be fired on the run or stop and aim it using an over-the-shoulder camera.
Gatling Spear Gun- A significant departure from the original’s spear gun, this weapon fires a constant barrage of explosive darts after it takes its sweet time reving up.
Ninpo is ninja magic. And awesome.
Art of the Inferno- You can now aim this giant fireball from an over the shoulder camera perspective. This ninpo is useful for doing a massive amount of damage to a single enemy.
Art of the Wind Blades- This causes an explosion of “wind blades” to radiate from your character in all directions. This ninpo is very good for crowd control.
Art of the Piercing Void- This creates a micro black hole that will crush everything that touches it.
Art of the Flame Phoenix- This is a deadlier evolution of the Art of the Fire Wheels.
Why are you reading this section? This is an action game. The story doesn’t matter and shame on you for thinking it should. All you really need is an old school premise that answers the question: Why is my character mercilessly slaughtering thousands of beings without remorse? In the action genre the answer is either a.) revenge or b.) to stop Satan from creating Hell on Earth. In Ninja Gaiden II, Ryu Hayabusa will achieve both…just like he did in the first Ninja Gaiden.
Not good enough? Fine. The diary-keeping, explosive shuriken throwing Black Spider Clan ninjas from the original are back and taking center stage this time around. With their attempt to steal the Dark Dragon Blade, grind it up, and have their leader drink it in his tea to absorb its evil powers thwarted, they now seek to rule the world by making a deal with the Fiends to unleash unspeakable evil using the Demon Statue. Mean while, CIA agent Sonia is desperately searching for Ryu in attempt to locate…I…I can’t do it. I like the old school NES story references and all but I just can’t give a damn about the shitty plot, and neither should you. Just watch the pretty in-game cutscenes and laugh along with me.
Japanese TV Commercial
Japanese TV Commercial 2
Japanese TV Commercial 3
YOU SUCK AT NINJA GAIDEN II COMPARED TO THIS GUY
Golden Scarabs have been replaced by Crystal Skulls in NGII. Achievements unlock for collecting your 10th, 20th, and 30th skulls. You get a gamerpic with the 30th skull too and the ability to pick up the Giant Crystal Skull, which adds some points to your karma score. Basically these skulls are almost as pointless as COG tags.
Tests of Valor
In Chapter 2, soon after you obtain the Falcon's Talons, defeat all the enemies that spawn in the shrine courtyard. The candles of a shrine will then light and if you examine them you will obtain the Rod of Valor. Without this item the tests will not be accessible. Some levels contain portals that transport Ryu to arenas that pit him against waves of enemies. Complete the test and you'll be rewarded with a chest containing items such as health or ninpo upgrades.
Cut down a wooden screen in the museum at the base of the Statue of Liberty in Chapter 4 to reveal a giant prototype Xbox. Interact with the item to replenish your health bar.
Dark Blood- Beat the game on Acolyte
Type 20- Beat the game on Warrior
Black Jaguar- Beat the game on Mentor
Gold Dragon- Beat the game on Master Ninja
When you beat the game you can load your Game Completed save to play the same difficulty again starting at Chapter 1 keeping all your weapons, upgrades, items, and essence. You will not be able to upload your karma score, however. If you start a new game on a difficulty you have already beaten you start with all the weapons at level 1 but you will have the ability to upload your score to the leaderboards.
Music Test and Old Film Filter
After you beat the game you unlock options in the menu to listen to the game's music tracks or turn on a grainy black and white screen filter.
Collect all 30 Crystal Skulls
Beat the game on the Master Ninja difficulty
At the start of Chapter 14, it is possible to kill Sonia with your bow. This will result in a Game Over. The same was possible with Rachel in Ninja Gaiden 1.
It's painfully obvious this game was rushed, most likely because Microsoft wanted to launch a high profile exclusive the week before MGS4, but Itagaki's departure may have played an equally large role. Previously Team Ninja games were always delayed past the originally announced release date and came to market with an exception level of polish. This is not the case with NGII. The game content is fantastic, but that doesn't hide that the game has it's share of bugs, balance, and performance issues.
*A Second Patch Has Been Released*
- The game no longer freezes during certain cutscenes
- Karma farming glitch has been fixed
- Speed run leaderboard has been fixed
- Game ending Chapter 10 glitch fixed
- Less slowdown now that enemies left behind are "forgotten"
*Installing NGII to your HDD helps alleviate level streaming hiccups*
GAF's patch requests of bugs and gameplay and balance tweaks we'd still like to see:
Enemy Spawning Issues- The smaller worms that rise from the water randomly get stuck doing their "rising from the ground" animation on a loop. They instantly disappear when they reach the top only to rise again.
Better Optimization- The biggest thing here would be to improve the framerate anyway possible; it only gets worse the higher the difficulty you play. Improvements to streaming the level data would also be most welcome.
Tone Down Enemy Projectiles, Seriously- Decrease the frequency which enemies throw projectiles, it's overkill. Also consider making Ryu immune to explosive shurikens that don't hit him but instead contact surfaces near him.
Tone Down the Screen Filters- Some environments, especially during boss fights, turn on red or blue screen filters that can obscure the action for some players. It would be nice to have the option to adjust or turn off these filters for the players that want it.
Fiend Ryu - 200 spacebucks
Biometal - 200 spacebucks
Shadow Walker - 200 spacebucks
Mission Mode - 800 spacebucks
24 missions that consistent of rearranged content from the main game. 16 of the missions challenge you to get the highest karma score you can by defeating all the enemies. The other 8 consist of you being limited to a single weapon and the goal is to survive as long as possible against infinitely spawning enemies. This should have been on the disc.
No. This is only the beginning.