So yeah, that Ninja Gaiden 2 is a real pretty game. But like a lot of real pretty things, it doesn't always last past the honeymoon. (or one night stand, depending)
Obliterating enemies in such extremely brutal ways simply does not get old. From the first chapter to the last, being afforded the opportunity to use these is always exciting. The fact that each weapon has multiple unique animations makes this feature extra awesome. The fact that almost all of those weapons (Tonfa, *Yawn*) are both unique and useful in their own way is a huge positive for the game too.
Like so many games, though, Ninja Gaiden 2 makes up for these extremely high quality elements with a story that's so far beyond being bad to being completely unnessecary. Honestly, use the story scenes as a breather before the next relentless chapter begins.
But that's okay, because this is after all an action game, and you're playing it for the thrill of combat and the feeling that you're a badass who TOTALLY just flipped out and killed all 5 of those ninjas who tried to ambush you without taking a scratch. Until those 5 ninjas turn into 10 demons who throw fireballs/dudes with rocket launchers/flying bird demons who you cannot even see throwing these things at you until it's too late. The stun animations and your lack of counters to these attacks other than dodging them just adds to the frustration.
Ninja Gaiden on xbox was a difficult, but fair game. Ninja Gaiden 2 steps far over into being purely cheap. Now, I know we're all about being cheap on this site, but this game will have you screaming in frustration (at least on the path of the warrior or higher) in some of the later stages. Many players probably won't have the patience for later areas of the game where you're being relentlessly bombarded by projectiles from off screen enemies. As a bit of a contrast to that, the bosses in the game are all rediculously easy and poorly designed. Upon obtaining the scythe weapon most bosses' strategy turns into finding the times when it's okay to walk up to them and mash Y to reduce half their health.
The final, fatal touch that Team Ninja has given Ninja Gaiden 2 which may forever condemn it to average territory is the overall glitchiness that the game suffers from. In many cases, the game slows to a crawl in later chapters, even when relatively little is happening on stage. Characters and enemy corpses float above the ground or are stuck in objects, and a recent update made to the game makes it impossible to finish due to a cinematic freezing the game in the last chapter. As of this writing, this update has not been fixed and the only way to properly finish the game, and the method used for this review, was to clear the Xbox 360 of all updates and then finish the last chapter.
Ninja Gaiden 2 is a game that could easily have been one of Team Ninja's best, but lazy design decisions, an awful story, technical problems, and a general sense of being rushed really hurt the game. Rent it or buy it cheap for the incredible combat, but don't expect too much depth past one play through, if you've got the patience to make it that far.