A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this intense combat game is extremely violent. The main character uses weapons like swords, staffs, throwing stars, and exploding knives to kill opponents. The attacks are pretty gory, as enemies are often beheaded or maimed. Expect to see chunks of flesh flying and lots of blood.
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What's it about?
Ryu Hayabusa returns to the Xbox in NINJA GAIDEN II, a challenging hack-and-slash adventure for the 360. Ryu's goal in the latest chapter of the long-running series is straightforward: Save the world. He'll accomplish this by defeating a series of demonic fiends scattered across the globe. The game takes players through a variety of locales, from canals in Europe to the metropolises of New York and Tokyo.
Ryu vanquishes enemies -- ranging from ninjas to werewolves -- with a flurry of combos executed by linking together light and heavy attacks. You'll start out with a sword, but can upgrade to staffs, scythes, and \"talons\" fitted to your hands and feet. Ryu also has a secondary attack in the form of throwing stars, bow and arrows, or exploding knives. If enemies overwhelm Ryu, he can use Ninpo -- magical attacks in the form of fireballs or whirlwind blades -- to thwart his foes.
Is it any good?
The combat in Ninja Gaiden II is intense, and incredibly violent. It's common to see opponents' heads, arms, and legs chopped off. Blood soaks the landscapes after heavy battles. With certain weapons, chunks of flesh fly as you pummel enemies. Enemies are also relentless. During a couple scenarios, enemies with their legs cut off would crawl toward Ryu, grab him, and deal heavy damage with a suicide blast. The action is dizzying, especially for the camera, which struggles to keep up. After a quick flurry of attacks, the camera settles into an awkward view, leaving you prone to blindside attacks. Fortunately, this setback is easily forgiven when you consider the game's robust combat system and variety of difficult foes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the history of the Ninja Gaiden series, which started on the Nintendo Entertainment System. What has made this franchise so successful? Do you prefer the older versions or the series' latest reincarnation? Also, why do you think ninjas are popular figures in movies and other video games?
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