The original Ninja Gaiden has seen more re-releases and special editions than some Capcom fighters. Ryu Hayabusa has been on almost every system since Team Ninja resurrected the series back in 2004, so why should the Vita be any different? Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus is the latest version of the original masterpiece, and for the ten of you who haven’t played it; it could easily be the best one yet. Sure there isn’t much here we haven’t seen over the past eight years in other forms, but this is still one of the best action games of the past decade.
Those who have played the title in one form or fashion will be familiar with the format. This is a straight-up action game that relies heavily on combos and quick reflexes. Hero mode has been added for gamers who always had issues with the unrelenting difficulty. This more casual experience gives you infinite magic and automatic blocking. Sigma Plus also includes the adjustable camera from the PS3 version and all of the new content that has been added over the years.
As for new features, Sigma Plus does utilize some of the specific bells and whistles of the Vita. You can tap the front touch screen in order to go into first-person view. Once in it, you can move the system around using the sixaxis to look around the environment. It is a cool feature, but not a game changing one. Ninpo is also now down by completing onscreen prompts using the touchscreen. Again not a vital change, but cool none the less.
For those of you who have only played the original, a lot has been added to the game. For starters the new camera system allows you to manipulate it with the right analog stick. You can still tap the shoulder button for a quick behind-the-character view, which is nice. The action is ridiculously fast and sometimes the camera still has issues keeping a good view of the action, but being able to manipulate it for some of the platforming sections is a must. There are also new Rachel missions for you to tackle, as well as a series of trials to perfect your ninja skills. The game is certainly not short on content.
Visually, the game looks fantastic for a portable iteration. Sure, this is just a port of an old Xbox game, but the speed in which it moves really showcases the power of the hardware. Environments lack that wow factor, but get the job done. The cut scenes look great, even if they are insanely ridiculous and impossible to decipher. The game is every bit as impressive as it was on PS3 just a few years ago.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus is nothing revolutionary, by far. Instead the novelty of this title is that we can finally tear through Hayabusa’s adventure in all of its glory on the go. That, alone, is impressive and should be a factor in your purchase decision. Ask yourself, “Is this worth it to me for the same game, simply in portable form?” If so, I cannot recommend Plus enough. Everything is neatly pasted into one tiny package and showcased on an impressive piece of hardware that fits in the palm of your hand. Personally, I am taking Ryu with me to release anger on long days in waiting rooms.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.