The Ninja Gaiden Master Collection is a collection of the Sigma trilogy with the first release in 2007. Well actually, the Ninja Gaiden series dates back to 1988, but the series had a revival with a 2004 release on the original Xbox. Then in 2005 Ninja Gaiden received an enhanced release with new features and content. 

Then again in 2007, Ninja Gaiden received yet another re-release, this time with even more improvements such as reworked visuals in HD, and Rachel was now a playable character. We even got another re-release in 2012 for the PS Vita, and that’s where the re-releases stop, until now. Talk about making the most out of a single game!

So, the 2007 version entitled Ninja Gaiden Sigma is now included in the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection along with Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge. In its basic form, each of these games is “remastered” in this new collection, though I wouldn’t expect anything major. They do however look extra nice on the current-gen consoles in full HD and even to this day, each of the three games in this collection still plays superbly. Don’t get me wrong, each of the Ninja Gaiden games looks good, but it’s the gameplay that has by far aged the best.

ninja gaiden

Credit: Tecmo Koei

 

Despite being 14 years old since it originally released, Ninja Gaiden Sigma still plays wonderfully to this very day. The gameplay is super smooth and pulling off combos still feels as satisfying as ever.  The same can be said for Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge. In all, each of the three games feels very similar to play which in my opinion only adds to the fluidity and familiarity of this series.

When Ninja Gaiden 3 first released in 2012, I remember feeling quite impressed by this instalment.  Sure, it played ok, the charismatic protagonist Ryu Hayabusa was still present and with it being a newer game at the time, it arguably looked better. Yet, something never felt quite right. It was more than just the unmasking of Ryu and certainly, the increased gore wasn’t a factor. However, in terms of gameplay and overall, how the game felt, it just felt a little bit off.

ninja gaiden

Credit: Tecmo Koei

 

Thankfully it seemed that publisher Tecmo Koei and developer Team Ninja were aware of Ninja Gaiden 3’s shortcomings and in that very same year Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge was released. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge was returned with gameplay elements from the first Sigma games, such as the Steel on Bone counter move being revised to how it was previously. Weapons such as the Lunar Staff, the Kusarigama, and Dual Katanas returned. Enemy AI was improved, and Ninja Gaiden 3 introduced Ryo being able to scale certain walls which were deemed too slow in the original release.  Scaling walls was now made faster in Razor’s Edge, and it was these subtle adjustments that made for a better game.  Don’t get me wrong, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge in my opinion isn’t quite to the level of the first two Sigma games, but the improvements made at least brought it closer to their level.

ninja gaiden

Credit: Tecmo Koei

 

Each of the three games in the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection all come with previously released DLC which consists of some additional modes such as Tag Missions and Ninja Trials, but most extra character costumes.  It is also worth mentioning that the additional modes are not playable online, unlike in the original release, which is a shame.

All in all, while the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection isn’t to the level of some other modern remasters, it is still a firm reminder of just how fantastic these games still are.  Granted they still look decent visuals, especially in enhanced HD over the originals.  However as previously mentioned, it’s the gameplay in which each of the Ninja Gaiden games really shines.  If only textures and environments were reworked, this really would be a master collection of remasters.  That said, whether you’re a returning fan or new to this series, the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection offers some of the best hack and slash games out there, even after all these years.

Featured Image Credit: Tecmo Koei