Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection on PS4
At first glance, the Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection offers great value based on its heritage alone. Including Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge is an absolute whirlwind of action and intense combat designed for white-handed fun.
However, while it’s a blessing to have these Ryu Hayabusa games in a modern console experience, it seems like old habits die hard. Many of the issues that plagued the initial builds of the latest games are still present in this collection, and Team Ninja hasn’t properly addressed them even for a new release.
If you’re already familiar with the overarching storylines of each of the games, you’re entering old territory with Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection. Admittedly, plot has never been a strong point of these games, but it’s still quaint to see cutscenes from the past still like they do in 2021. For newcomers, it’s a great way to get in in the past and find out the genre. beginnings for yourself.
An outstanding first course in Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection
Fortunately, when it comes to action, Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection easily delivers some of the best you could want. Ninja Gaiden Sigma remains an excellent action epic, offering incredible level design to challenging enemies that can make your life hell. Players can only stand a chance by honing their instincts and precision, and battles are never boring, especially with the various bosses. Even the puzzle and platformer designs are in stellar form.
However, the fact that it’s a remake of Ninja Gaiden Black instead of being Black himself, is a major problem for purists. The addition of Rachel’s missions is the biggest culprit here. While her looks border on pure fan-service levels, it’s what she brings to the gameplay itself that’s disturbing. Instead of a variety of upgradable weapons at his disposal, you’ll be stuck with just his hammer while you rerun the same levels.
Yes, she’s powerful on her own, but it’s definitely not fun. Add to the fact that his missions often interrupt a good run for Ryu, and you’ll be forgiven for wanting to remove this addition instead.
The Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection also contains Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, which just suffers from the fact that the original wasn’t a great game either. You’re looking at reduced gore, a staple of the series, a more linear experience overall, and the game feels ultimately unfinished. The troubled development of the original Ninja Gaiden 2 still shows its effects even to this day.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 doesn’t just remove elements, it also adds its own bells and whistles to even the score. Some levels have been changed, new bosses replace old ones, and players have new missions for Rachel, Ayane, and Momiji in addition to a mission mode.
The key issue is that instead of improving the game, the additions feel like they’re covering up the cracks that were there in the first place. The new missions just aren’t that fun to play, and even the dismemberment mechanic, which is a lot of fun, is offset by the reduced number of enemies. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 gives and takes in equal measure, which leaves it neither impressive nor forgettable.
A tumultuous end
Perhaps the biggest problem with Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection is the inclusion of Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge. With the original already being a thorn in the side of fans, Team Ninja tried to sweeten the pot by making some fixes without a total overhaul of the game.
The fight undoubtedly remains the star of the show, with the dismemberment continuing its welcome stay. The number of enemies has also been increased to the satisfying levels of old, and you’ll still have a great time taking down your enemies. That is, if you manage to survive long enough. The way the difficulty is presented in the third game of Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection throws wave after wave of enemies at players.
Usually this can still be considered a fair fight, but the odds are skewed even further with the inclusion of enemies wielding rocket launchers. Said enemies are difficult to reach without using Ryu’s bow, which is a pain to use when everyone around you wants your head. Even if you emerge victorious, you still have to contend with a nefarious health system that will frustrate you at every turn.
There are no health items in Ninja Gaiden 3, and the only way to heal is to use a meditation ability. To do this, you must accumulate enough Ninpo by killing enemies. This vicious circle punishes players who are essentially unable to perfect a run. Even more glaringly, your maximum health is reduced each time you are hit, and it stays that way until you reach a save point. It wouldn’t be surprising to find yourself in a tough fight with such low health that it ends before a sword is drawn.
Hard difficulty is to be expected, especially in Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection, but it has to be fair to some extent. Repeating frustrating mechanics and design is by no means a satisfying experience for players. Even with the other issues that are present in the other two games, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge is a total mess that just isn’t worth your time.
The Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection is an enigma. It’s the easiest way to introduce a new generation of gamers to a revered series, but it also happens to be an amazing game in Ninja Gaiden Sigma, a decent offering in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 and an absolute abomination that is Razor’s Edge. Depending on your appetite for punishment, it might be worth getting the collection just to check out the first two games, while the third is better off missed.
- Looks good and works well.
- Ninja Gaiden Sigma and Sigma 2 are still great games.
- Lots of content for replayability.
- Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge is a mistake.
- Not Ninja Gaiden Black or Ninja Gaiden 2.
- Does not include all DLCs.
- Unbalanced difficulty.