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NGS2: story, MN, no items, no UT's, no ninpo, no Izuna drop, run complete

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Lately I've started playing Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 for the first time. Since I have some experience with vanilla, and since this version is much much easier, I decided to play the game under many restrictions, to make it more interesting. As title says: MN, no items, no UT's, no ninpo, no Izuna drop. I just completed a few hours ago, it started on 18 december, so it took more than a month. I completely fullfilled all the rules except for a single part: the fight against Zedonius and gaja's, against which I had to use Izuna drops (but fullfilled all the other rules). I think it has been a really worth experience.

The reasons behind no item, no UT's, no ninpo rules are easy to understand. You know that UT's and ninpo basically let Ryu kill enemies without even fighting them, while items can cover a lot of mistakes from the player. Though, I don't think people ever tried to add no Izuna drop rules. Also, I have to say that even if the rule was no Izuna drops and similar (basically no aerial drops) I also avoid using any form of air to air move/combo, except for some enemies that could fly in the sky, like Marbus for example.

The reson behind these additional rules is the following: in any NG game, the interesting stuff happens on the ground. When you launch yourself in the air with an enemy, and start hitting him, you are almost invulnerable, so you can kill that enemy in full safety, while completely ignoring defence. So, since this game is so easy compared to the other ones I played in the series, I wanted to try this rule.

So, I'll just highlight the parts that gave me the most trouble.

- Momiji: her chapter has been hard because I wasn't used to her, but after a lot of practice I learned to use her and I think it's a good character. I learn a lot about defence with her. I tried to replay this chapter in chapter challenge and I got to last part without much trouble. I still struggle against vang elfs though, the most random enemies in the game for me.

- Armadillo: final boss of the flying fortress Dedalus chapter. It's the only boss that I still can't figure out. The first phae is easy but the second phase is incredibly annoying. So, got to the first phase, I just tried to survive until he started spitting fire, when I got close to him and unleashed a furious DPS against his leg. It's probably the only thing in the game I can't figure out.

- Zedonius + gaja's: in this fight I just had to use Izuna drops, I couldn't find any other solid strat, I was just becoming insane. And it has been incredibly difficult even using Izuna. But really cool fight, very challenging, gave me a big sense of accomplishment.

- chapter 14 last gauntlet: the last gautlet after Genshin fight on Mt.Fuji. Very challenging at first, undead ninjas + purple ninjas + mages. I learned a lot of stuff there, it has been really fun, but frustrating at times so I had to take many breaks form it. Though it has been extremely worth because there I learned a lot about the game, and especially about running attacks, which are very underused in this game I think. Though, some weapons have VERY strong running attacks, and there are ways to set them up safely.

- Centaurs: not really challenging but I'm kinda happy of the few things I discovered about them, because I've always wondered if they couldn've been killed by just hitting them on the ground. I don't know if it would work in vanilla, but in this game they can be fought and killed on the ground. The scythe is probably the best weapon at fighting them because it has big range.

I don't think I had much more troubles for the rest of the game. It took me weeks, but everything was manageable.

The weapons I used most have been:

- dual swords: especially for the second half of the game. The most versatile weapon imo. People seems to like 360T, but I'm more of a fan of running T, running S, ->ST, ->SS. Running T or ->ST (same identical move) have the highest delimb rate of the game I think, that move seems also to have really good i-frames and almost no recovery, it can go straight into OT and if you want you can also shuriken cancel. Running S or ->SS (same move) has probably the same delimb rate, but can hit multiple enemies, at the cost of less i-frames, more recovery and no shuriken cancellability. TTTT good for bosses, first two hits can be cancelled. Has also some other minor things that can be useful.

- talons: SSSS string is safe and has good delimb rate, the first three hits can be cancelled into shuriken and the fourth turns enemies on their back giving Ryu frame advantage. The slide has i-frames and stun enemies but I've been grabbed out of it sometimes. SSST (hold) is a kick grab that makes Ryu fully invincible and can behead. Running TTT is really good for delimb rate, and if the enemy gets delimbed by one of the first two hits Ryu goes immediately into OT, otherwise he goes into the kick grab for i-frame safety. Majestic.

- tonfa: heavenly justice cancels, also SSTTT which can't be cancelled but has high delimb rate. The most fun weapon of the game, I think a lot can be done with this weapon, the player who master it becomes a god. I also think there are some fun juggle combos that can be done by alternating ->ST cancel and ST hold cancel, but I didn't try cause I'm not very interested in this aspect of the game.

- kusarigama: LOL. Did you ever try this weapon? Really? It doesn't make sense. You toss the chain and as soon as you grab the enemy you get i-frames and delimb him. Tossing the chain is slow, but it can be done from distance, and can be set up in different ways: windpath, S->T, SS->T, 360TS, OL SS. So it's all about chain toss setups. At first is trickybecause the chain is a bit slow, but after a couple of minutes you get the hang of the weapon and you just stop using it because it breaks the game even more than using Izuna drops and similar. If it wasn't enough, it has a ground combo that goes into an i-frames grab. It has other moves that are less effective than in vanilla, because of the lower delimb rates of this game, but the weapon is totally broken imo.

- Eclipse Scythe: the glorious weapon of Volf, ruler of storms, king of the lycans. I really like Volf as a character, don't ask why, I just like him. His weapon looks cool, I didn't use it much but it proved to be extremely useful against certain enemies, to the point I wanted to mention it as one of the most important weapons of the run. I'm talking especially about centaurs and marionettes, but I also used it against Volf himself during his second fight, and it was really really good at fighting him. I still don't know much about the weapon, I mostly used TTT. The first two hits of the combo are very safe if you block after them. This weapon have some grabs, so it probably has i-frames during them. You can also go into a grab from the flying swallow. So I just suspect this is an OP weapon.

I don't like the Dragon Sword and even the True Dragon sword. They seem to be tailored for setting up Izuna as fast as possible, they can even launch enemies from the counter. Didn't use the Lunar and the Flails much, though I'm interested in both. The flails seem to have a good delimb rate on ->T at level 2. When you upgrade them at level 3, that attack lose its delimb rate in exchange for juggle properties, and can be followed by a self launcher move. So it really depend on the playstyle you want to use. I would probably keep them at level 2, and accept lower damage in exchange for high delimb rate, and I would use a different weapon for bosses.

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...and today I tried the Lunar. I started a new MN campaign so I could test it unupgraded in chapter 1. When I started my first MN campaign, I wasn't so good at the game so I didn't see its capabilities. Now that I can play a bit, I can tell that this weapon is AN ABSOLUTE BEAST.

T counter: has INSANE delimb rate and can break two limbs, instantly killing an enemy. It lasts long, so it gives Ryu a lot of i-frames in the process. OP.

S->SS: a lot of i-frames.

Running T, not completely safe but has range and radial hitbox, so it can hit multiple enemies and delimb them as well, even if the delimb rate is not crazy.

SSS: not super useful but the third input can hit multiple enemies and force them to turn around, stunning them.

->SS: has more range that the normal moves and can set up juggles, though I don't really use this one, but if you want to style on the last standing enemy is perfect.

I also tried the full moveset of the Scythe in "submit or die". Simple weapon but wery effective.

So I would say that I like most of the weapons, aside from the Dragon Sword and the Enma's Fang. Probably I hat the kusarigama as well because it's too strong and easy to use it's not even funny. But the Enma's Fang seems to be the only nonsense weapon of the game really, it doesn't have anything attractive aside from its look, it's incredibly boring.

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You bring a lot of information to the table, but I'll do my best to get through it and comment on the important pieces! First of all: congratulations! Glad you enjoyed the game as much as you did and respect for sitting it out to the end!

> aerial invincibility
To follow up on this, I noticed that in NGB (and also NG2) a fireball flew right through me while doing the Izuna Combo, so there's definite i.frames there like we suspected.

> Momiji
She is really difficult to nail down in Sigma 2 since she seems to lack her personality traits she gained in NG3:RE. That said once you learn that by some design oversight her projectile is absolutely bonkers (just like Ayane and Rachel) if you use the aim button, it changes a bit.

> Armadillo
I never understood this boss either, after the 50% mark it seems like the boss is just designed around Level 3 Void Ninpo spam to the head. It was originally a boss built around the usage of kunai and arrows and it shows, I think they should've cut the boss; though it was nice that they removed the dual fight in favor of a Marbus encounter.

> Zedonius
Super congratulations on pushing through this, and I can understand you opted to use aerial combat here. I generally use Level 3 Inferno there to hammer through the Gajas. I don't remember if they respawn, but it works pretty well. Zedonius has the flaw of being insanely nerfed in NGS2, so he really needs that support to have a chance once you know his pattern.

> Chapter 14
I think you mean just before the Genshin fight? That battle is insane and nearly broke me originally. It is long, filled with action and just nuts. The Tengu joining the fray also doesn't help. I originally used the Claws FlyingSwallow > Izuna combo a lot here. Can imagine doing this on the ground is very hard. Which weapon did you end up using the most here?

> weapons
> Dual Katana
Easily the best most versatile weapon of the bunch, there's a reason why nearly all co-op players (where you can only bring one weapon) use this one. It is a boss killer for one thanks to TTTT and 360T, while >T(hold) is a great poke. Never dove into its running attacks though, good note!
Once you get the Level 4 version it should be noted that >TTTTT is an absolute beast and great to punish Zedonius2 during his laser attack.

> tonfa
Great weapon, easily among the best thanks to its 100% delimb rate in its Level 1 UT which helps a ton in the later fights. Its cancels are top of the line as well and it has a lof of potential. Fun fact, it actually has a grab that instant-kills Genshin if you can pull it off, but it requires two players. One to launch him and you to use the grab just as he lands.

> Kusa
Jup, the weapon has issues haha. This extends to NG3:RE where once you connect with it you are in i.frame city. To be fair, it has to, without it the weapon would be pointless. I generally use the aerial moves a lot too while I believe I liked >SSTTTT but I'm not sure that was the move I remember. The only thing the move really lacks is a type of i.frame move that's as useful as that of the Tonfa and DK.

> Scythe
Heard it got heavily nerfed from NG2 to NGS2, as in NG2 it had a ton of loops with its 360T.

> Flails
The Flails are an interesting weapon, since they are so limited in their attacks yet it is one of the best weapons in the game. >T is, personally, singlehanded the best move the game has on offer. It is fast, high delimb, good damage, high stagger and good damage to bosses. The other moves are more show. SSTT is a good room clearer and SS>SSSS is a fun setup too, but they are all a lot more show I feel.

> Lunar
Ironically you don't mention its best moves, OLUT360T, SST and its launcher. It is one of the few weapons that can infinite izuna drop Genshin. SST is a monsterously damaging and safe punish. OLUT360T is unique (especially early game) for being an UT that doesn't need to connect to get its full animation and can clear rooms in a second. It honestly breaks the early game a bit, even in NG2.

> TDS
I feel they tried to balance it a bit more, as it was so dominant in NGB, and ended up going to far. It is all purpose, but ends up just being a 'decent' weapon as a result.

> Enma
I never really dove into this weapon. It has a good UT and some decently damaging combos, but the best part about it is the big disjoined hitbox. If your spacing is on point you can attack enemies from extreme ranged with it and be completely out of harms way. That said, it feels rushed and incomplete and doesn't really have a 'unique' thing to it. It feels like 'another Scythe'.

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respect for sitting it out to the end

I have to admit it hasn't ever been a chore, I've had fun for most of the playthrough, since this game is a joy to play under these rules. I know that saying "rules" may sound a bit too seriuos. Though I would say that this seems the most natural way to play the game to me, I don't feel "restricted".

I noticed that in NGB (and also NG2) a fireball flew right through me while doing the Izuna Combo, so there's definite i.frames there like we suspected

Actually the fireballs pass through the combo most of times, but not always. So I think it's more like you explained to me: Ryu hitbox becomes small, so enemies have a hard time hitting him. Notice that, in addition, Ryu moves slightly when doing the air combo, so he is actually "dodging" the fireballs. That seems to be the best explanation really. Thanks again for explaining me these mechanics, I've always been curious.

Momiji
She is really difficult to nail down in Sigma 2 since she seems to lack her personality traits she gained in NG3:RE. That said once you learn that by some design oversight her projectile is absolutely bonkers (just like Ayane and Rachel) if you use the aim button, it changes a bit

She doesn't seem a very fleshed out character, I agree. Though I think she's perfectly capable to nail her chapter, which you seem to suffer a lot. The only enemies I really don't have solid answers against, are the winged vang elfs. The first encounter against them is not a problem because there only two of them and you can go back to the save statue after killing them, but then you encounter them in the final room and there are three of them and it's a royal pain. For the rest of the chapter I don't have problems.

Armadillo
I never understood this boss either, after the 50% mark it seems like the boss is just designed around Level 3 Void Ninpo spam to the head. It was originally a boss built around the usage of kunai and arrows and it shows, I think they should've cut the boss; though it was nice that they removed the dual fight in favor of a Marbus encounter

I actually think it was designed to be hit in the face with aerial combos, in NGII. Though I don't really know what they wanted to do here in Sigma. After 50% hp I would be willing to stay under his face waiting for the grab, but he seems to just trolling you at that point. He starts going in front of walls so you get stucked and then he does his stomp attacks which you can't dodge becausethere is the wall... I said I enjoyed most of the playthrough, this is the only spot I didn't enjoy.

Zedonius has the flaw of being insanely nerfed in NGS2, so he really needs that support to have a chance once you know his pattern

Exactly! It's a hard fight but is interesting, so it's good that it's in the game.

Chapter 14
I think you mean just before the Genshin fight? [...] Can imagine doing this on the ground is very hard. Which weapon did you end up using the most here?

It's been easier than you can imagine, after I figured out a couple of things. The hard part was to figure these things out XD As I mentioned, I used running attacks. In particular, I used dual swords running T. In this game running attacks can be set up in three ways and some of them have almost Vanilla delimb rate. This means that if you can land them safely you get total control of the battlefield. You probably know that after a dash or a jump, if you hold the left stick and release block, you go almost immediately into running frames, so you can set up a running attack after a dash or a jump forward. Also you can do it after a windpath the same way you do it in NGB (I saw you use it often). Notice that running T can be also pulled off with ->ST and has the same properties of the running version. This way, you can pull off running T virtually from any distance, so no matter where a mage is, you can always get close to him and delimb instantly, then go strainght into OT, and his friends can't do much to cover him. This move is also great to kill ninja and other enemies, it's all about having the spacing down.

The Talons also have a good running attack: TTT (hold). If the enemy gets delimbed, Ryu goes straight into OT, otherwise he goes into the kick grab which give i-frames, it's like an option select. Other weapons have different strenghts: tonfa has good delimb rate and HJ, for example. Or you can just use kusarigama chain tosses to have a laugh, it's totally broken. Didn't try other weapons but most of them, at level 3, have something good to tackle this part. I would say, paradoxally, the DS is probably one of the worst weapons for this playstyle so in this part it will particualrly suck.

Back to the dual swords, unfortunately runnnig T alone doesn't let you win the fight, you will still have to develope a bit of knowledge of how mages and ninja will move together on the battlefield. << Edit: forgot to mention that using counters is very important too, and GT is good for separating enemies >> But having moves that can delimb enemies consistently helps a lot because they reward your right combat choices with a kill and some i-frames. Also keep in mind that when mages are out of camera they become incredibly passive. I can tell that in the very first part of this gauntlet I almost never die, you can be very consistent. The middle part is medium difficulty, the very last part where the Tengu joins it's harder, it seems that the enemies are more aggressive and trolling...

has a grab that instant-kills Genshin if you can pull it off, but it requires two players

LOL that's unique, I've never seen that! Frankly I didn't see much Sigma 2 videos since I'm new to the game. When I played vanilla I was actually searching for vanilla videos all day and the've always been scarce. I think most people into action game only had a PS3, so I get why the biggst part of the player base only played Sigma.

Flails

Agree on everything. I think I'll do another story run in which I'll upgrade different weapons. Lunar and Flails will be the favourites, followed by the Scythe.

Lunar
Ironically you don't mention its best moves, OLUT360T, SST and its launcher

Didn't mentioned them because this topic is more about restricted playstyle. Though SST would be allowed, but I confess I don't use it because looks really ugly to me XD I'll probably use it only against bosses or Rasetsu. Also I only have it at level 1 so there are other moves to try. Or I'll try it in chapter challenge.

TDS

I already talked about it, I think it's very strong but it's all about Izuna and SST. If you allow Izuna in your playstyle then it's very good, you can even set it up straight from a counter. So it depends.

I also agree on most your thoughts about the other weapons.

Slightly off topic: am I allowed to post my videos? I just got a capture card so there is a possibilty I'll share all this stuff on video in the next days. I don't really promise anything because I'm a bit shy about my playing (ofthen rough and sloppy) but if you like I'll share here with you guys if I'll upload anything. Edit: I just uploaded a short sample of DCTF gameplay against mages and undead ninja.

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> Winged Van Gelfs with Momiji
Yeah this is where her bow shines, I was really surprised by the strength of it; a few shots are enough strangely enough. She felt a lot more fleshed out in NG3:RE where she also turned into more of a support character even having the ability to heal her allies.

> Genshin instant kill
It is part of the "Secret Ninja Arts" collection which you can view here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL121149AEFB7D1F40

For the instant kill in action, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDcCQtZ_KTM (around 02:13)

> Lunar SST
It is a really boring move, even in NGB where it was similar; but its uses are enormous. Great stun, decent range, fast, brutal damage, knockdown - it has it all. I did like how later games added the chains to the weapon on higher levels and how NG3:RE added the bomb to the kusarigama at higher levels.

> TDS
In NG2 it fairs better with SSS>T (XXX>Y) being very strong, having ample range and (in NG2) having a huge delimb rate. The counter is also great, both the dash with its followup and the launcher. Also really like STSSS OL360 TSSS Shurikens > Bow > T - great combo to toy around with. Also the Wall-SSS is a great move if you do a horizontal run, great range, i.frames and area of affect moves. Flying Swallow Lvl2 > Shurikens > OL is also grand. But it really starts failing at the bigger foes where it just can't keep up damage wise.

> videos
Sure man, be my guest!




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Genshin instant kill
It is part of the "Secret Ninja Arts" collection
I don't seem to be able to find it in this playlist, though, what do have I to search for exactly?

My little clip: https://youtu.be/XgN4BmLYP6g

I'm not very good, but at least this clip shows how I use the running attacks. I think I'll do a Momiji chapter video, kinda soon, I'll share it here. Thank you alot for letting me to share content here Smile

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Watch the second link I included :) I'll watch yours this weekend!

EDIT: watched it haha, had to. That ending had me laughing, typical Sigma 2 stuff. Forgot how huge the damage was you take on that game. And darn running T with the BotA is insane yeah hahah holy hell, did not see that coming.

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That ending had me laughing, typical Sigma 2 stuff
That's why I chose that clip. But actually I can assure you that the death was entirely my fault, not the game. I actually screwed the shuriken cancel (pressed the button too early) and also I input the dodge too early, while I still was in recovery. Also I kinda choked at the end of that fight, I just could have played better and kill that ninja in many other occasions, though I just went into black out mode and died in a stupid way.

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Still playing this beautiful game and discovering more and more things about weapons, characters and enemies. The more I play this game the more I think this is the perfect "modern NG game for beginner". I seriously think this game is changing my vision about Ninja Gaiden and it will make me better at Razor's Edge too in the future.

In NG games, high difficulty is a key component of the gameplay, if difficulty wasn't so high the player would not be forced to play a specific playstyle and NG would be just a generic action game about ninja. Though, playing on "easy mode" sometimes is useful, and this is what Sigma 2 is. Well, kinda. Not saying that it's an easy game at all, it's always NG and will require a lot of experience and accurate inputs. Though, since there's no anxious gameplay like the other games inthe series, this one really ancourage a kind of passive playstyle which will let the player learn all the enemy attack strings and all the moves of the weapons.

So, these days I also played a bit of Razor's Edge and I tried to do the same thing (story mode, day 1, master ninja) and I was surprised at how you can still play very defensively in this game against a lot of enemies. You can block all the attacks, and dodge a lot of grabs and SoB's on reaction. And doing this for a couple of minutes against all the enemies in the first chapter (including alchemists) is getting me back in shape much faster then a couple of days ago when I was just attacking like a madman (which is how the game is supposed to be played). The fact a game is oriented towards affensive gameplay, doesn't mean that defence doesn't matter. I think this could be applied to all NG games, but probably not NGII vanilla which remains the most unique NG imo.

And of course I'm getting better at Sigma 2. I gave another try to the Dragon Sword and I'm changing my mind about it. I didn't think it would have been a fun weapon for ground game only playstyle, but using ->S makes it a very cool and interesting weapon.

Something that's really dispappointing, though, is how I fight IS ninja. Let's say, at this point I'm pretty comfortable with regulr ninja, so I can fight them without using GT. Against mages, I'm decent but sometimes the GT seems mandatory because otherwise the regular ninja will hit you and the mage will try to grab you while in block/hitstun. When there is an IS ninja and two other enemies around, no matter what they are, fighting IS ninja means spamming the GT in all the way imaginable. This approach has made me much more consistent at fighting them without taking much damage, but it's also making the fights against them lamer and lamer. This happens because the more I use the GT the more I find opportunities to land a guaranteed one against ISN, and this have brought me to find true loops they just can't escape. No matter how I approach these bastards, the fights against them always end up being extremely stupid and hilarious. Same when I fight them with Momiji and Ayane. Just GT into another GT, or a combo if there are no enemies around (because Momiji and Ayane GT actually knocks the enemy down close to Ryu).

The other reliable move to fight them would be the counter. So, if I would ban the GT when I'm fighting them, it would become just counter spam. And since the DS counters don't seem to be safe against ISN, I should probably stop using the DS against them. I just don't know, really. Probably I should see if Sniku has some tricks for ISN.

I also tried Lunar level 2, and I was extremely disappointed at first because the strong counter changes into a launcher combo. Then I realized the S counter and all the moves have improved delimb rate, so with the general increase of damage it's probably worth to upgrade it. Though, if it had the lvl1 T counter it would have been an incredible weapon.

So, today I practiced chapter 1 and 2 and, as I said, I found myself improved a lot. I could clear chapter 2 without dying much. I cleared both chapters without "save scumming". That really makes you better!

Played Rachel a bit in chapter challenge, maybe I'm learning more about her. Also did submit or die, got to Zed and still can't find a way to kill the gaja reliably without Izuna... I think using the lvl1 lunar counter could be good, but in chapter challenge everything is at level 3.

Also I'm starting to incorporate counters in boss fights and big sized enemeis: vang elfs, Rasetsu, Tengu. Actually, countering the Tengu first attack with Momiji T counter is a really good strat to get a normal dodge for the third hit of the Tengu combo instead of a special dodge (which is slower). This way is easier to hit the Tengu with a strong attack before he can block. Tengu, as most of the new things added to this game, seem to be really really lazy. All the new bosses anc characters feel so underdeveloped. As we already pointed out, they did a much better job in RE.

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