Since its release seven months ago, the PlayStation 3 has been more notable as means of watching Blu-ray discs (and, thanks to some recent software updates, as a world-class DVD player) than as a next-generation game console. With the release of Ninja Gaiden Sigma, that’s no longer the case. A substantially upgraded version of a 2004 Xbox title (itself inspired by a beloved NES series from the 1980s), Sigma is a potent cocktail of lush graphics, Resident Evil–esque puzzles and relentless ninja action. As shadowy badass Ryu Hayabusa (and, in newly created sequences, as a “fiend hunter” named Rachel), players navigate a sometimes confusing story line in search of the mystic Dark Dragon Blade. Combat is so fast and frequent, however, that you may be too busy dodging shuriken to ever realize that the plot makes little sense. The Xbox Gaiden is famous as one of the hardest video games of recent years, and the remake is only nominally less daunting. Thankfully, the luxuriant graphics (check out the falling leaves swirling around Ryu in the first level) and polished gameplay mechanics make the difficulty easier to swallow. Having your ass handed to you has seldom been this much fun.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma
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