#850 Ninja Gaiden II

Posted: 26th May 2021 by Jeroen in Games
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961st played so far

Genre: Adventure/Fighting
Platform: Xbox 360
Year of Release: 2008
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Microsoft

One of the stranger and more frustrating features of the list are the near-duplicate games. I feel I have only played a single Ninja Gaiden game, but did it twice because of the Ninja Gaiden Black upgrade – same engine, same gameplay, just some tweaks and updates on a list that could always use more variety. It’s time for the second game now, where we’ll get a new story, new levels and generally an actually new game in the series. Time to play Ninja Gaiden II!

Our Thoughts

The start of Ninja Gaiden II is really appealing. Although only a few years newer, the world looks prettier. Even though it’s set in and around a Tokyo tower block, it has a number of high up natural features, including cherry blossom gardens and water features, that add to an area that does feel Japanese. It’s a stereotypical lens, sure, but that’s part of the whole game. It looks lovely even as the game goes on, a game that’s pushing itself further than the first installment.

All of this surrounds a highly violent game, heavily featuring cutting off limbs and such that culminate in big, bloody finishing moves, most satisfying after taking on a larger group. There are a lot of techniques that the game introduces you to early on, giving you instructions every few steps – it’s a good thing most of it flows naturally, as it’s a lot to absorb, and they do a good job training you after you get the instructions and reinforcing it a few times later on – giving you an achievement each time you pull something off for the first time helps a lot confirming that. That first level really feels like a good marriage of a decent, interesting level and a packed tutorial that’s doing okay.

The next level mostly lets go of that, instead taking you back to the village you started the first game in as you travel back to your dojo – under assault and on fire once you reach it. It felt familiar as I went up there, but at the same time it got an upgrade and a different path through as well. It was a neat way to get you back in while not immediately looking back and it works well enough.

Final Thoughts

I’ve obviously been soured on this series a bit thanks to the first game’s double inclusion on the list – it’s a good game, but not quite that good. This is a good sequel though, building on what came before, looking and playing better – it’s gorgeous in places – and the many different things in there work well. It’s a good game, fun to explore even if there aren’t that many secrets or different paths.