Update (June 2022): To celebrate Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection's arrival on Xbox Game Pass, we're republishing this review from last year to give you an idea of what to expect. It's available to download now on console and PC!
Original Review (June 2021): Ryu Hayabusa has been around since 1988 but if you asked the average gamer who this ninja is, sadly they probably wouldn't know. Although his hack and slash series Ninja Gaiden has maintained a loyal fanbase over the years, it was Team Ninja's notoriously difficult 2004 Xbox revival that truly put Ryu back in the spotlight.
This brings us to the Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection - containing three ports from the same period. It includes the PlayStation releases - Ninja Gaiden Sigma (2007) and Sigma 2 (2009), along with Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor’s Edge (2012). Each entry is now capable of running at 60 FPS in 4K and most of the extra modes and DLC are included in these enhanced versions. Unfortunately, online multiplayer didn't make the cut.
Ninja Gaiden Black and the original Ninja Gaiden II were also unable to be salvaged by Koei Tecmo. While this is unlikely to impact the enjoyment of newcomers, some veteran ninjas may want to stick with the OG Xbox versions playable via backward compatibility.
Back to the collection, the first game is still the best of the lot - its gameplay, story, and setting have aged gracefully enough (overlooking some camera issues), and it remains just as challenging. Sigma 2 provides more of the same, is also fun, but still doesn't quite match the legacy of the first. In saying this, it's still a much better entry than Razor's Edge - an improved version of Ninja Gaiden III, a game that did things a bit differently. These games combined make up a mixed experience overall.
Considering it's such a straightforward collection of games, it is unlikely to change how you might already feel about the enhanced releases. And despite being labelled the 'Master Collection', all three titles are standalone downloads - so don't expect a launcher. On the plus side, there is a digital artbook and soundtrack. Koei Tecmo also confirmed a day one update - adding the same level of decapitation and blood/gore to Sigma 1&2 as featured in the original PS3 versions.
Although the Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection could have been much more, the three games included run better than ever and should still be satisfying enough for returning fans. The bloody and brutal gameplay is just as exhilarating and will keep you coming back for more, and the collection is a great way for newer audiences to learn about Ryu Hayabusa's history.
I saw reviews of the switch version and it didn’t look good. Glad I bought it for xbox.
Hmmm interesting, I might have to check this out..
Is this only available digitally on Xbox?
"Koei Tecmo also confirmed a day one update - adding the same level of decapitation and blood/gore to Sigma 1&2 as featured in the original PS3 versions."
The original PS3 versions are Sigma. 😐
@__jamiie Yep. The disc slot on Series X is now officially another air intake vent.
@gingataisen Yes, what you've read is correct.
The same level of decapitation and blood/gore that was featured in the original Sigma versions was not originally in the Master Collection releases, so they've patched it in as a day one update.
@Liam_Doolan I did not know that. Thanks for the reply. 👍🏼
@Cherip-the-Ripper Very few physical releases on Xbox. 😤
Is it actually worth it for this collection when you can play Ninja Gaiden Black and the sequel in 4K 60FPS on Series X anyway? (3 is dog turd so I won't even mention that)
Nothing but pale imitations next to the legendary NG Black.... a quick cash grab by Tecmo - greedy fugks.
@blinx01 As a fan of the series I'd say yes. They're quite different from the Xbox versions. Sigma mainly has new enemy types and weapons but Sigma 2 has some major changes from NG2. New playable characters, new stages and bosses. Some changes are actually an improvement over NG2.
I know it's a year since you posted but staff bumped the review so I just thought I'd offer my 2c
Ninja Gaiden 2 and Sigma 2 are not even the same game
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