First Impressions: Ninja Gaiden 2

Announced just over a week ago, Tecmo Ltd.'s "Ninja Gaiden II" is undoubtedly one of the most highly anticipated games here at this year's Tokyo Game Show.

Tecmo is carefully guarding the long-anticipated sequel and has only released a brief teaser video and is keeping the hands of eager fans away from the controls. However, those who were willing to wait in line were rewarded with a glimpse of the game through a staff demonstration of the Aqua City level.

The demonstration showed off the various weapons and skills game hero Hayabusa has at his disposal, which included him using a scythe or wielding two katanas while he switched between different styles of fighting.

Perhaps most impressive in the demonstration, aside from the crisp visuals, was the level of violence. It wasn't just over-the-top showers of blood but the detail and variety in the way one could choose to maim opponents. There was plenty of decapitation and quartering as Hayabusa tore through the limbs of ninjas and demons alike. There was even a point at which an enemy, with one leg cut off, crawled its way over to Hayabusa and grabbed him before bursting into an explosion of blood and body parts.

Though the graphic detail in which the violence is depicted is likely to stir and excite fans of the series, the general public could receive it differently. The game's rating has not been decided, but Tecmo was checking the IDs of fans queuing to see the demo.

Violence isn't the only aspect of the game that boasts impressive detail.

Aqua City, the level in which the demo took place, showed off the Xbox 360's graphical capabilities in a detailed Venetian-style city setting. The enemies as well, if one can find the time to take a closer look in between the blood splashes, are just as cleanly rendered as the stunning new environments that they inhabit.

Fans of the series will surely be looking forward to the game's launch in 2008 -- although they might need ID to purchase it.