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May 15 2007
Ninja Gaiden Sigma - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
13/7/2007AtariEidosTecmo Team Ninja
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
1None$109.95

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Graphics are simply jaw dropping.
The Playstation 3 has had a decent launch, with a couple of great titles. The big problem though has been the number of ports the system has received from other systems with almost no changes to make use of the PS3's powerful hardware. The months of May and June are unlikely to change much with a string of movie tie-ins set to be the prominent genre. It's not all bad though with Tecmo's stunning ninja slash 'em up heading our way through publishers Eidos and distributors Atari in July.

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Go on, check out the stunning character models.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma is actually a port of Ninja Gaiden Black (which in turn is an upgraded version of Ninja Gaiden) which appeared on the XBox in September 2005. The developers at Tecmo's Team Ninja haven't just done a straight port either, but rather have spent some time sprucing this game up with some extra frills and improved visuals. Having played through a demo of this game we were keen to give you our impressions.

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Fire effects are simply stunning.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma's storyline sees you play as Ryu Hayabusa. Your clan has been massacred by the Vigor Empire and you want revenge. You hack and slash your way through hundreds of enemies as you see revenge on the Holy Emperor and reclaim the magic sword "Ryuken". New and exclusive to this game is an all new playable character called Rachel. This Hunter is playable in this adventure and brings with her some brand new missions and storyline. As expected she also brings with her a range of new weapons and moves to master. Exactly how different Ryu and Rachel's storylines are remains to be seen and while Ryu has 16 stages to complete, Rachel will add a further four to the game - giving about 25% more game time.

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There can only be one survivor here...
As you are probably aware Ninja Gaiden Sigma is a third person ninja based title. The action takes place around many 3D levels with plenty of enemies and hidden areas to discover. The game also includes dual-wielding katanas - a new weapon to this version of the game. Enemy AI has also been overhauled to make them smarter then in previous versions of the game while the number of enemies has also been bumped up. Given how high the difficulty has been in previous games this could offer gamers an even higher challenge level! Many of the boss encounters have also been reworked for increase difficulty - or to improve the amount of action in the game.

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Oh yes, there's a tonne of blood.
One area where this game absolutely shines is the graphics. Running at 720p with a silky 60fps frame rate everything looks absolutely stellar. The character models are wonderfully detailed with superb animation. The first think that really hits you is how quickly the characters move around the screen and attack enemies. They're super quick. The backgrounds too deserve a mention. Be it the fluttering of hundreds of leaves from the trees, or the sublime flame effects everything seems to be in the right place. The game will also include plenty of cut-scenes to convey the storyline. Many of these cut scenes have changed from the original release both in terms of direction, and also as many have changed from pre-rendered to real-time.

One problem we do have from the demo we played recently is the cameras. They are often placed in positions which makes seeing where your character going near impossible. Yes, you can manually rotate the camera however that takes a little time, and when your surrounded by enemies it's time-consumingly annoying. Still there's time before the release for Tecmo to fix these issues a bit.

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You can't get enough screens like this!
Audio is also very impressive. As well as a wide range of up-tempo music there's plenty of sword slashes and ambient effects. Any voiceovers should be retained from the XBox version of the game however as we haven't played that game we can't vouch for the overall quality in that regard. As with the demo the game should also allow you to select between Japanese and English voiceovers.

There's little doubt that Ninja Gaiden Sigma is a game that Sony needs on the Playstation 3. Sure, it's not an exclusive title, however there are plenty of extras over the XBox 360 version as well as a couple of improvements to the overall engine. Ninja Gaiden Sigma will be released in Australia through Atari in mid July.