REVIEW: NINJA GAIDEN: Master Collection

Thursday, June 10th, 2021

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Performance wise, all three NINJA GAIDEN games made a pretty smooth jump to Nintendo Switch. All three games run at 60 FPS, both docked and undocked. NINJA GAIDEN Sigma definitely runs the smoothest out of all three games. It ran so smoothly, I played the majority of the game undocked. The only hiccups that I saw with that game were the loading screens that appeared when transitioning to certain areas, but these lasted less than 10 seconds, so they were no big deal. NINJA GAIDEN Sigma 2 also ran pretty smoothly, but there were pretty noticeable shaky areas in the game. The most prominent points were by the cherry blossom trees in both Hayabusa Village and Sky City Tokyo. The frame rate would drop pretty badly and the game would be pretty sluggish in those specific sections, even when docked. Another issue is in regards to that game’s resolution. When going to certain areas in Hayabusa Village and in Sky City Tokyo, the resolution of the game would noticeably drop below 720p. This was not an issue in other locations featured in Sigma 2. NINJA GAIDEN 3: Razor’s Edge ran very smooth for the most part, smoother than Sigma 2, but also ran into some resolution issues in forested areas. There was also a particular frame rate issue I experienced when playing undocked. In a cavernous area with pools of blood, I experienced the same frame rate drop seen in Sigma 2, and this would occur when surrounded by numerous enemies. Once I moved away from the enemies, the frame rate would stabilize, but it’s definitely something to take note of. Overall, despite some hiccups in Sigma 2 and 3: Razor’s Edge, you should be able to play the entire trilogy undocked, which is some good news for fellow Nintendo Switch owners. If all the games were unplayable in handheld mode, I would’ve recommended getting the game on a different platform. Thankfully, that isn’t the case here.

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Graphically, all three games still look pretty good, especially the character models. This should be expected as Team NINJA is known for making the great character models seen in the Dead or Alive series. I enjoyed the Vigoorian architecture in the first game and the various locations seen in the second and third games. I especially loved Sky City Tokyo for its blend of modern and past Japanese architecture. While I did like Vigoorian architecture in Sigma, the environments got pretty bland after awhile and started to blend. If there was a way to combine that free exploring experience from Sigma with the varying locales featured in Sigma 2 and 3: Razor’s Edge, it would be perfect. The background textures aren’t as great compared to the fantastic character models, but they still get the job done. I liked seeing the graphics progressively get better as I moved to each sequel in the series, it was quite a treat to the eyes. Defeating enemies in 3: Razor’s Edge was super satisfying as limbs flew and blood sprayed as Ryu annihilated his foes. Seeing all these limbs flying and blood splattering made me question why they’re using the PlayStation 3 version of Sigma 2 when it comes to the gore levels. 3: Razor’s Edge is very bloody yet there were no changes to it. It is just a confusing decision to me.

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When it comes to the music and sound, these three games do a phenomenal job. The sound effects for slashes and decapitation are so satisfying. Hearing the enemy’s skull smash into smithereens when performing an Izuna Drop is just awesome, you just have to hear it for yourself. These sound effects really help make the combat experience that much better. The way the music transitions from slower when exploring to fast-paced when combat starts, is seamless. Whenever I hear the track speed up, I think, “oh no, where’s the enemy?” All of the music in the three games are good, but I especially loved Ayane’s theme in NINJA GAIDEN Sigma 2 and 3: Razor’s Edge. It just sounds so good. I wish all three games had a Sound Gallery so I could listen to the music whenever I wanted to, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. However, Sigma 2 does get a Sound Test function once you beat the game, so at least one of the games has this feature. I appreciate the fact that all three games feature both English and Japanese voice options. I played all three games using the Japanese voices since I’m used to the voices from the Dead or Alive series, but it’s nice that option is there for those who prefer English voices.

NINJA GAIDEN: Master Collection | Kasumi

She certainly looks familiar.

It took me about 10 hours each to beat the main campaign in both NINJA GAIDEN Sigma and NINJA GAIDEN Sigma 2 on Normal difficulty. There are 19 chapters in Sigma and 17 chapters in Sigma 2. It only took me a little over six hours to complete the main campaign in NINJA GAIDEN 3: Razor’s Edge, but that game only had 10 chapters. After beating the main campaign, in all three games, you can attempt to play the story again on higher difficulties, or you can play the other modes the games offer. In Sigma, you can play Ninja Trials or Survival mode to test your newfound skills. In Sigma 2, you can play Chapter Challenge, Ninja Race, or Tag Missions. You can’t play online in the Tag Missions in this version, but the difficulty was balanced so you can complete them without another player. In 3: Razor’s Edge, you can play Chapter Challenge and Ninja Trials. What’s great about Chapter Challenge in 3: Razor’s Edge is you can utilize another character other than Ryu in all the chapters. You can use Ayane, Momiji, and even Dead or Alive protagonist, Kasumi, in this mode. Each character features unique moves from Ryu, so definitely play as all of them to get a fresh look at the game. So even after beating the game, there’s still plenty to do if you want to test your skills.

NINJA GAIDEN: Master Collection | Ayane

Remember to take a break like Ayane every now and then.

NINJA GAIDEN: Master Collection bundles three good action games that are still fun to play years after their original release dates, and have made a pretty smooth transition over to Nintendo Switch, despite some of the hiccups I mentioned earlier. While some aspects didn’t age well, like Sigma‘s camera issues, I still think these three titles are solid action games and worth picking up. I think that NINJA GAIDEN fans, and fans of action games in general, will still find a lot to love here. The games still have fun combat, good music, beautiful character models, and the baddest ninja in the world, Ryu Hayabusa. A standard edition copy will cost $39.99 on the Nintendo eShop, and I feel this bundle is definitely worth that. If you want something extra, you can also get the deluxe edition for $49.99 which comes with a digital art book and soundtrack. Are you ready to fulfill your ninja fantasy and step into the shoes of the world’s strongest ninja?

Review Score


Review copy provided by the publisher.

About Patrick Aguda

Patrick is an avid fan of both video games and anime. He has been a fan of anime since his older sister introduced him to the genre when he was younger. He grew up watching shows such as Cardcaptor Sakura, Digimon Adventure, Gundam Wing, Dragon Ball Z, Tenchi Muyo and Yu Yu Hakusho. His favorite games include Persona 3 Portable, Steambot Chronicles and the .hack//G.U. trilogy. He strongly believes that Sinon, Maki and Mash are best girls.

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