Ninja Gaiden II and Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 were called out for not looking like next-gen games. These criticisms are understandable; after all, they look like the original Ninja Gaiden, which appeared on the original Xbox. The animation work and character designs were great, and they are here. Gore hounds will be pleased to know that enemies actually bleed in this game; limbs and heads are turned to nasty red chunks as Ryu, Momiji, Rachel, and Ayane carve their way through Fiends and Black Spider Ninjas. But all of this comes at a cost; the framerate goes from passable to pitiful at a moment's notice. As enemies fill the screen, the framerate drops noticeably, and before long, it starts to look like a speeded-up slide show. This is inexcusable for a game that relies so much on precision and timing. Sometimes, the game makes use of dynamic resolution, as the visuals become more pixellated as you tax the system more and more. Reports have surfaced that changing the camera speed improves the performance, but I found no difference other than an even more unwieldy camera system -- and Ninja Gaiden II's camera was wild and obstinate to begin with.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus sounds exactly like its predecessors, provided you used the English dubbing. I'm not a fan of English dubbing in games that are unapologetically Japanese in tone; certain things just don't translate well, and all the hammy talk about Fiends and the path of the ninja and honor make me reach for cotton balls in an effort to stop my ears from bleeding. Unfortunately, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus doesn't give you the choice to use the original Japanese dubbing. The soundtrack is still exciting and appropriate for each situation our heroes find themselves in.