Hướng dẫn - Updated on January 4, 2023

June 3 marks exactly 14 years since the release of the cult slasher from the Japanese studio Team Ninja And Mr. Itagaki – Ninja Gaiden 2, a sequel to the original 2004 reimagining. Just a couple of weeks ago, I replayed it with great pleasure on my favorite Xbox One (thanks to Phil for backwards compatibility), and decided to share my thoughts on this project from Microsoft and answer the question – has the game stood the test of time?

This will not be some kind of full review or detailed analysis of the game, which will reveal to you the history of creation, little-known facts, and so on. Rather, it will be a short story about why I think Ninja Gaiden 2 is an ideal slasher game, which simply has no analogues today and will not be seen in the near future. And yes, my name is Denis, nice to meet you.

And yet, it seems to me that it is worth starting a little with the background of my acquaintance with the series, because without this my story would not have been complete.

I met Ryu Hayabusa and his Ninja Clan back in the time of Dendy, when I played the third game of the original trilogy on a cartridge as a child (which is probably why this part became my favorite), but I got acquainted with the first and second games of the series already at the time of emulation. The whole trilogy came out very well, so it was not surprising that the series, sooner or later, would be continued on modern consoles.

An excerpt from the boss fight from Ninja Gaiden 3: Ancient Ship of Doom

In 2004, a reboot of the series, Ninja Gaiden, was released. which most ordinary gamers bent over and planted in such a way that to this day it reminds of itself. I didn’t play the original, but I started my acquaintance with an updated version – Ninja Gaiden Black, where the difficulty was increased even more, making the enemy AI even smarter than in the original release. To be honest, I didn’t even go beyond the level on the plane. When I had this game on Xbox, I was still young and had no experience in games of this genre.

Much later, in the year 2010, I won’t say for sure, on my first Xbox 360, I came across the continuation of the Ryu Hayabusa saga. And let me tell you, I immediately fell in love with her!

At this point, I was already a pretty good player, so I figured out how to play the second Gaiden quickly. And I immediately realized how cool this game is, starting from the beautiful graphics, which for some reason I immediately singled out (heroes and monsters were drawn very high quality, and I played at that time on an old, not even HD TV) and ending with really complex gameplay that really challenged the player, no matter what difficulty you played on.

Should I play Ninja Gaiden 2 14 years after its release?  (Mini review)

Ninja Gaiden 2 gameplay footage

My first attempts at passing ended in failure. – I willingly pumped all the weapons, thoughtlessly spent herbs, ninpo, and did not reach beyond the level in Venice.

But even such a short progress, only 5 levels, gave me the fuse to train her further, I liked her so much.

I started a new attempt to pass more deliberately, and now I could reach the level on the flying fortress of Daedalus, namely, to the boss – a fiery dinosaur. Through the pain I managed to reach this moment, and then I again understood why the game was so severe. Not only did I spend a huge amount of energy to get here, but this fiery carrion always killed me with its explosion. I simply did not understand what to do and after another attempt I abandoned the game for almost half a year.

Later I learned that at the time of the explosion, you need to put a block.

And yet, starting the third attempt and gathering my strength, I sat down for it – and passed. And it was unforgettable. After the full completion, I fell in love with Ninja Gaiden 2 forever and consistently replay it every year with some kind of challenge – sometimes with only one weapon, sometimes without magic, without a resurrection talisman, and so on.

Should I play Ninja Gaiden 2 14 years after its release?  (Mini review)

Ninja Gaiden 2 gameplay footage

And this year was no exception – once again the game was completed, and with graphical improvements. And even though 60 fps was on 360, on One they increased the resolution up to 4K, so the game does not feel old at all, but looks even better and more detailed than some modern releases.

Why is this game so captivating? In my opinion, this is a huge variety that should be in most slashers. And the variety of everything – levels, locations, enemies, weapons, bosses.

There are many levels in the game, the scene is constantly changing. Either the night city, or the water Venice, the Flying Fortress, the Jungle, Mother Russia, the Mouth of the volcano, and so on. Each area has its own graphic surroundings and atmosphere: somewhere it is light and colorful, like in the jungle, and somewhere it is dark and not translucent corridors, from which bone demons endlessly climb at you.

New enemies constantly appear from location to location.
It all starts harmlessly – with ordinary ninjas, whom Ryu cuts in half like cabbage, and ends with some terrible mutants with huge bazookas instead of hands, mechanical robots with huge swords, giant killer fish that intend to devour you, and fire-breathing armored dragons.

Should I play Ninja Gaiden 2 14 years after its release?  (Mini review)

Ninja Gaiden 2 gameplay footage

You can destroy them not only with the classic Dragon sword, but also with other traditional ninja weapons.. The developers correctly approached this moment and gave the player a large number of various means for exterminating demons – swords, sticks, nunchucks, a huge scythe, weapons from “kill Bill” and other ways to reduce the population of these reptiles. These include throwing weapons – all kinds of shurikens, throwing grenades, bows, as well as magic – one of the hallmarks of Ryu games. There are 4 types of them, each of which helps in different conditions. The same applies to weapons. One is good at pounding ninjas, and the other is good at werewolves.

Hand-to-hand weapons can be pumped, adding to the already large number of tricks that you are unlikely to even remember, even more different attacks and special attacks. That is why every time it is interesting to upgrade a new weapon, learn its techniques and test them on the poor fellows, watching how they scatter in different directions.

Should I play Ninja Gaiden 2 14 years after its release?  (Mini review)

Ryu weapon

And this is very cool, because, in fact, slasher is a fairly similar genre, and in order to captivate the player, you need to not only write a good story, which may well fade into the background due to the gameplay (and this is how it should be in normal slashers, I think) but also to ensure constant updating and filling of content, so that the player does not get bored, but constantly tries and discovers something new. And the NG 2 does a great job with that.

Another hallmark of NG 2 was dismemberment. And how beautifully and juicy the limbs of enemies are cut off, and each weapon, depending on the level of pumping, does it differently. Something like, for example, swords or a scythe cuts off legs, heads, hands at the root, when, like a stick or tonfa with a delicious sound, it crushes the heads of enemies. Moreover, it does not bother, although the animations are always the same, because it is competently woven into the base of the gameplay. Add secondary weapons and magic to it all, and you will understand what it turns into. Moreover, at high levels, you need to competently combine all this – use the magic of flying daggers, which cut off one arm at a time, go to finish them off, then burn them with a fiery phoenix, and blow up the rest with shurikens with explosives. And this is only a small part of what you can do in the second Gaiden. There are a lot of variations and it all depends on your imagination and skill.

Should I play Ninja Gaiden 2 14 years after its release?  (Mini review)

Ninja Gaiden 2 gameplay footage

As for the difficulty, for a beginner and those who are not familiar with the genre, the game may well seem like a difficult test., because the enemies hit hard and painfully, crushing the player both in numbers and with their power. Each battle turns into a real test, where there can be only one winner – it’s you.

Health itself is not restored, the record points, which are presented here in the form of a dragon statue, restore life only once, and there are limited medicinal herbs. Therefore, I have to not only wisely spend the received yellow souls (local currency) in Muramasa’s shop, but also think in advance whether I should eat weed here or die and try to pass without damage.

PS My advice – put resurrection talismans in the slot only when you fight with the boss and understand that the situation is hopeless. And also take the “Life of a Thousand Gods” in those moments when there is no grass left, and health has reached a minimum – it will not only restore your HP, but also increase the strip itself. The same applies to pearls.

In general, you can talk a lot not only about the merits of the game, but also about the shortcomings that are also present here. But they are not visible at all when you are completely immersed in the process of saving the world from the Prince of Darkness. Ninja Gaiden 2 is the kind of game where gameplay comes first, which is why it’s just plain fun to play. Although it has a weak script part, in which there are many stupid and illogical moments from which you can catch a facepalm, but it is with its elaboration of the gameplay that it drags, and even now remains the best game in the series, and one of the best slashers on earth. And for me – the best!

The game with its head held high has stood the test of time, and in 2022 it can still show gamers what a real, cool, interesting ninja game is all about!

Now anyone can try himself in this role by purchasing the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection, which includes not only one of the versions of the second Gaiden, but also the first and third parts. And if you don’t have an Xbox One, this is a worthy option to get acquainted with the universe and this game in particular. But for me, the original will always be the best version, and if you have the opportunity – play it in it, you will be satisfied.

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