Session with Itagaki-San and Ninja Gaiden 2
Tomonobu Itagaki-San is a legend in gaming development. At times, his persona is as intimidating as the toughest bosses in the games he designs. But after having sat down with Itagaki-San to talk about Ninja Gaiden 2, we cannot say enough how warm and down to earth he is (we saw him trying out Viva Pinata 2 – he said he had to report back to his kids about the game). He was more than welcoming of our questions and comments, and we were amped at the opportunity to play Ninja Gaiden 2, and discuss the game with the man behind the game.
Itagaki-San said that one of the more subtle changes made to Ninja Gaiden 2 from the first Ninja Gaiden game on the original Xbox system are the enemy A.I. Enemies are programmed to hunt down Ryu to the death – they won’t return to their spawn points. With regard to enemy A.I., it has been designed such that enemies will react to a person’s style of gameply in a dynamic way, and coupled with the overall gameplay mechanics of the game, this should encourage gamers to apply different attack techniques and use a variety of weapons (and not get satisfied with using just one particular move with one particular weapon).
In terms of difficulty, Ninja Gaiden 2 is designed to be more accessible than the first game. We’re certain this doesn’t mean that the game will be “easy” however – but it appears that there are gameplay elements that may help gamers get through difficult challenges in the game (like the locations of health items and the like).
At the game stations, we started off playing the first level of the game, and we definitely see how the 360’s hardware capabilities can be so worthy of Itagaki-San’s praise. From the cutscene animations, to the blood effects, dismemberments, and adaptive A.I., Ninja Gaiden 2 will be a game you will want to showcase to your friends and family (okay, maybe not for your younger family members).
For purposes of previewing the game, we were allowed to try out one of Ryu’s alternate costumes. There will be three costume packs available, with up to five different colors per costume. The costumes do not appear to have any gameplay elements, but they do look very sharp, and are consistent through the cutscenes.
We had no doubt that this would be a must-own game – and playing a bit of it is just going to make the wait for the June 3 release date that much worse. A demo is slated for the Xbox Live Marketplace, but no dates have been secured for availability yet.