Developer: Team Ninja
Release Date: Q4 2009
You just can't keep a good ninja down, and when Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 launched on the Xbox 360 last year, many whispered that it would only be a matter of time before Ryu Hayabusa made his way over to Sony's console as well. Now the whispers can stop because Tecmo has confirmed our suspicions and announced a PS3 version of the title, complete with all of the bells and whistles that accompany an "upgraded" release.
Tecmo has stated that they want this version of Ninja Gaiden to serve as a sort of "Ultimate Edition," so not only will it bring over all the gameplay and style of its Xbox 360 cousin, but also plenty of new and exclusive content. The new edition will feature reprises of old bosses from previous Ninja Gaiden titles, as well as recurring roles for a couple of popular Tecmo characters. First up is Momiji from Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword, and joining her is fan favorite Ayane from the Dead or Alive series.
The trick is that the ladies won't be available right off the bat for the single-player mode, but will rather make their appearances in a little mode known as online co-op. That's right; Ryu's quest is no longer a solitary one, as gamers can now bring a friend along to fight the hordes of ninja demons. It can't be overemphasized what a big deal the inclusion of co-op means to the series, and that aspect alone may be enough to convince some gamers who own both consoles to revisit the game once more so they can play through it with a friend.
In addition to the new characters and co-op mode, Ryu is going to be handling a new set of weapons (sorry, no details yet), as well as a revamped camera and difficulty. While the game is still expected to be extremely challenging, Team Ninja is planning to dial things back a bit, possibly so that, in these trying economic times, gamers won't have to spend the last of their discretionary income on replacement controllers. One thing that will be missing in this game, though, is the copious quantities of blood and gore that punctuated the 360 version. Now enemies spurt a purple mist instead of red blood, and Ryu's slashes and stabs don't send out a spray of the sticky warm goo like they used to. It's a fairly drastic change to the formula, so we'll have to see if the game is still as appealing once the shock factor is cut way down.
At a time when Xbox 360 owners seem to be catching all the breaks with exclusive DLC for titles like GTA IV and Fallout 3, PS3 owners will get a measure of redemption in the fact that all of this new content is exclusive to Sony's console. Team Ninja promised that they are doing their best to get a demo on PSN in a timely manner, but they weren't ready to commit to any specific dates yet. In any case, those who missed out on Ryu's fight the first time around or who are looking for an excuse to slice and dice once more will have their opportunity this coming fall.
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