The Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection is another example of how ports of classic games don’t have the heart that made them classics in the first place.
By Jacob Zeranko
Published Jun 12, 2021
The last installment of?Ninja Gaiden released in 2014, skipping an entire console generation?and?leaving?many hoping to see?Ryu Hayabusa return. Only recently were they greeted with the announcement of the?Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection, which?includes?Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Sigma 2,?and?Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge. Not only are these ports and not remasters, it ports?three of the more?contentious games in the series – and?time has unfortunately been unkind to them.
Ninja Gaiden Black and the original?Ninja Gaiden 2?would have made a lot of sense in a collection rather than?Sigma and?Sigma 2. In defense of Team Ninja, however,?the developer stated that its?code was “unsalvageable” for the Master Collection.?The silver lining is the inclusion of?Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, which is?perhaps the best version of?Ninja Gaiden 3.
Related: What The New Ninja Gaiden Game Needs to Fix
Ninja Gaiden Sigma, like its accompanying ports, doesn’t touch the gameplay or mechanics at all. Of the three,?Sigma’s level design is the most effective. Areas are open enough to explore but not too?much as to make each area feel empty or bland.?The combat feels both impactful and inconsistent, with Ryu’s speed and raw power providing an abundance of?bloody swordplay while the damage output feels random and prevents any kind of consistent?play style. This is certainly not helped by the camera, which is an issue for every game in the Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection, as?they utilize?the?outdated fixed-angle system which makes combat and platforming incredibly disorienting. While this camera?plays well with games like?Resident Evil 4?due to more moderate pacing,?Ninja Gaiden’s?gameplay loop is far to fast and?causes?Ryu to either get lost in the crowd or get turned around when platforming.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 highlights how difficult and unresponsive the platforming controls can be, particularly its wall-running.?In a specific part of?Chapter 3, Ryu has to wall-run to a pole, swing, then launch into another wall-run to clear?a chasm. If Ryu falls down, he can swim to a?set of broken stairs,?the first requiring a wall-run and the second?requiring a wall-run right into a second wall-run.?Ryu should automatically switch walls once close enough but instead,?he just slammed into the wall and?fell back down to the first set of stairs.?Around 30 attempts were made to?successfully make this transition?and it only succeeded one time, only for Ryu to not register the wall-run?to get to the pole, falling back down the chasm.?This microcosm is an excellent example of the unproductive level of difficulty that emerges out of dated controls and engines.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge?is the most enjoyable of the three titles on offer in Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection. The combat felt way more brutal,?Ryu and the camera feels better to control, and it offered a less aggravating experience over all. The time spent with this game was enjoyable?by comparison to the other titles available in the collection, but still felt like a slog for most of the playthrough. Each environment feels too big and empty?for?its linear progression, the combat still feels random, and it has the same?stale gameplay loop?- combat arena, light platforming, boss fight, repeat. That said, some of the set pieces were?fun and unique compared to the other entries and the game’s main villain has an abundance of?personality?which always makes him the most engaging person on screen.
Overall, Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection?is fairly whelming and often aggravating.?For those looking to replay one or all of these titles, it?may be better to buy the original titles on their own, simply because the quality of?the?Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection?experience?doesn’t?match its?price tag, while those who don’t mind the cost will find only a serviceable group of titles in a series that had produced much better.
Next: The Persistence Enhanced Review: A Unique Roguelike FPS With A Fresh Look
Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection?releases June 9, 2021 for PC, and June 10 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. A digital?Switch code was provided to Screen Rant for the purpose of this review.
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About The Author
(46 Articles Published)
Jacob is a writer, actor, and musician based in Baltimore, Maryland. He has had an original play, The Voyager, produced at Towson University, contributed articles to HaloScope Magazine, and is currently producing the “Bus Ride Talks” podcast for Greatest City Collective.
His hobbies include: gaming, making great coffee, and listening to prog-metal.
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