Despite all this, there are times when I love Ninja Gaiden 2. Sometimes the combat is so exhilarating and the flow of action from fight to acrobatic sequence to fight so satisfying that I start to hope that this could be the game for me, after all. Admittedly I’m not a big fan of Team Ninja’s increasingly ridiculous storylines, with their complete disregard for cause/effect or motivation and their rather cringe-worthy obsession with breasts, slime and gore (preferably all three, at once), but even I can’t deny the appeal of Ninja Gaiden 2’s crazily gung-ho approach. I can even see that, with increased numbers of checkpoints and the new difficulty mode, Team Ninja has at least tried to reach out to a wider audience. This only makes it more of a shame that they failed. I can’t help finding Ninja Gaiden 2 a hugely frustrating, mindlessly aggravating pursuit much of the time. It’s not that I’m a complete wuss, it’s just that – for me – Devil May Cry 4 and God of War 2 always stayed on the right side of ‘too bloody difficult to bother with.’ Ninja Gaiden 2 does not.
That doesn’t mean it’s a bad game or that you won’t like it. Go on. If you consider yourself a hardcore gamer and you really loved the first Ninja Gaiden (in one of its forms) then you can happily add 1 or 2 to my score and spend the next few weeks working your way through it on the various difficulty levels, finding every secret, unlocking every bonus and posting videos of your triumphs on YouTube. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. If, however, you don’t consider yourself a hardcore gamer then I’d recommend you avoid Ninja Gaiden 2. There are other, similar games – notably Devil May Cry 4 – that you’ll find more approachable and more rewarding.
A beautiful, bloodthirsty Ninja action game, but one that’s just too frustrating for the average gamer. If you can’t stand the hardcore heat, stay out of the Ninja kitchen.