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Ninja Gaiden II!

Master ninja Ryu Hayabusa returns once again in the true sequel to one of the greatest games on the original Xbox, but will his bloody adventures be just as fun this time around?

First Impressions: Whenever possible, we try to give our loyal website viewers the most video footage and most in depth unbiased reviews imaginable. Part of that development is our "initial impressions" where we offer up our first impressions of the title that we are playing.

This gives our website visitors more of clear understanding of what to first expect out of the game when they initially pop it into their consoles.

If you scroll to the bottom of the page in the Rent vs. Buy section of the review and do not see the "final impressions" assessment then it's safe to say that you are reading our initial impression of the game. Once the final impression is up, there will be no further video or review done to that particular title.

Final Impressions: The final impression is just that, our completed breakdown and overall thoughts on the game based off of our entire game playing time.

You can locate the final impressions assessment in the "Rent vs. Buy" section of the review (always located at the very end of all of our reviews). Here you will be able to read our final thoughts on the title and also see any potential grade changes that were made to the game as well (higher or lower). Should a grading change occur, it will be clearly noted with the previous grade, the new grade, and why the change occurred.

Although this approach is more time consuming and requires many more man hours, our entire goal has always been to provide the best and completely unbiased reviews possible and we feel that the inclusion of the Initial Impressions and Final Impressions sections will give you a better view of what to expect from a new game.

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Preventing...Something: As was the case in Ryu's last gory venture, the story isn't the game's strongest aspect. The story of Ninja Gaiden II once again revolves around Ryu, this time trying to stop the resurrection of Archfiend. If you thought the story of Ninja Gaiden I was hard to follow prepare to become shocked.

Of course, the story isn't meant to be the draw-in, it was supposed to be the bloody good fun. And Ninja Gaiden II has plenty of it to go around the 14 stages, but first you have to start with the weapons.

Hack 'n Decapitate: When you first begin your adventure, you will only have the Dragon Blade and a limitless supply of shurikens. That arsenal soon grows to a massive eight melee weapons, a bevy of projectile weapons, and several devastating Ninpo attacks.

Each melee weapon can be upgraded, unlocking new combos and adding even more depth to an already strong system of combat. Some old favorites have returned, while some have been dropped, and a few more weapons have been added into the mix.

The varieties of the weapons have been drastically increased, and you will never get sick of your death-bringing arsenal. You will undoubtedly love most all of the weapons, and you will often end up going from battle to battle with a different weapon every time.

When you face the various (very various, there are a lot of different enemies) foes, you will now have the ability to hack off enemy's limbs. You will be able to hack off legs, arms, and of course heads in the goriest fashion to date...this is not for the little ones.

No More Massive Trauma: One of the most significant changes in Ninja Gaiden II is the vastly decreased difficulty level. You can now choose the most forgiving difficulty for the amateurs, even easier then Ninja Dog.

The bosses are a lot give you some slight room for error, but that's not to say that the game is easy. The game is still crushingly difficult on Normal, but you won't often feel like the game is cheating you out of a chance...often.

Visual Perfection: One of the greatest improvements in Ninja Gaiden II is the tremendous graphics and the improved overall slickness. The graphics in Ninja Gaiden II have been vastly improved, with fountains of blood spraying all over the level in truly artistic beauty.

Also improved is the overall slickness, which is a lot better then time around. Ryu will jump and vault with true ninja quickness, and the visuals help immerse you completely.

In addition to the tremendous visuals, the sound is also at perfection. The music matches the mood of the level, and you can hear it start to thunder when you are approaching another skirmish.

You won't hear much of the music though, as the level will echo with clanking blades, grunts, and the sound of lopped of limbs.

Rent vs. Buy: This time around, Ninja Gaiden II focuses on pure adrenaline pumping action, with a variety of different weapons. The game doesn't quite have as much content as Ninja Gaiden Black did though, as the only other thing to do besides slice is to dig for some skulls, and that's only for achievements.

The game has its small quibbles, but small issues aside; Ninja Gaiden II is at near perfection. If you liked the original Ninja Gaiden, then you will undoubtedly love the latest in the series... this is a must buy.

Report Card

The game has its small quibbles, but small issues aside; Ninja Gaiden II is at near perfection. If you liked the original Ninja Gaiden, then you will undoubtedly love the latest in the series... this is a must buy. (Krakrabbit.com)


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