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Ninja Gaiden II Review

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The king of hack 'n' slash is back

★★★★

Shirking the shadowy stealth normally associated with ninjas for an absurd ballet of violence, Ninja Gaiden II is one of the fastest and most exciting adventures to grace the Xbox 360.

Like its outrageous predecessors, NGII is all about stringing together lightning-paced attacks and butchering everything that moves, the simple controls allowing players to become a blur of blades and shurikens as they chop their rivals into bite-sized chunks. And while earlier editions in the series were toe-curlingly brutal, the bloodletting has been cranked up a notch with belligerent enemies who refuse to die, rivals often continuing their assault - Monty Python Black Knight-style - even when you’ve sliced their arms and legs off.

But while NGII is ludicrously exciting when you get into your stride, one of the most awkward cameras in console history and cheap gameplay devices - such as enemies that explode without warning once you defeat them and wipe out your hero in a flurry of injustice - occasionally undermine NGII’s considerable charms.