Action Review

Ninja Gaiden Master Collection – Overall Review

There was once a time where the Ninja Gaiden name was held in high regard. It was the pinnacle of the character action genre, and it, along with Devil May Cry, lay the foundations of a genre that remains popular to this day. Ninja Gaiden’s relevance was relatively short-lived, however, and it faded into obscurity. With the release of Bayonetta (sequel included) and Devil May Cry 5, the genre has entered a new age. One the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection aims to inject Ryu Hyabusa back into the scene he helped create.

What’s In The Box?

The Master Collection comes packaged with Ninja Gaiden Sigma 1Sigma 2, and Razor’s Edge. These games cover the story of Ryu Hyabusa and, from an outsider’s perspective, seem to be the easiest and best way of experiencing these games. I mean, each game has a fancy title, surely these are the definitive editions of each game…right? Not really, no. The Ninja Gaiden Master Collection comes with two inferior rereleases of better games and the best version of Ninja Gaiden 3.
Ninja Gaiden Master Collection - Ninja Gaiden 1

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 1 is by far the best game in this collection. Whilst it is not definitive as it removes content, applies a little bit of censorship compared to the original on XBox, and intentionally worsens the pacing of Ninja Gaiden Black (the actual definitive version not found in this collection), the core game remains intact. The combat is just as good as ever, there is a new weapon to play around with, and overall, the changes made in Sigma 1 are minor. It’s more of a fancy remix than a full butchering.

Read The Full Review of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 1

Ninja Gaiden Master Collection - Ninja Gaiden 2

The butchering came in Sigma 2. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is not only the worst version of Ninja Gaiden 2, but it may as well be a different game for the sheer number of alterations made in the transition. The excessive gore has been censored, which makes combat feel less weighty. The number of enemies on screen has been drastically reduced, making combat less interesting. Bosses and entire levels have been added and even removed in some cases. Sigma 2 even messes up character progression by making sweeping changes to the economy and shop systems. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 isn’t a bad game, it’s just an inferior re-release that shouldn’t have been thrown in any collection claiming to host the definitive versions of anything.

Read the Full Review of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2

Ninja Gaiden Master Collection - Ninja Gaiden 3

Finally, A Definitive Version!

Thankfully, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge makes an appearance. Unlike the Sigma rereleases, Razor’s Edge is the definitive version of the third game. It not only throws a bunch of weapons into the game, but it also removes some of the more tedious aspects of the original release whilst slipping in an RPG-like progression system. It’s just a shame that Ninja Gaiden 3, in all of its forms, is crap. It’s not only the low point of the collection but the whole series.

Read the Full Review of Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge

In terms of game quality then, the Master Collection provides a great remix of a great game, a bad shuffling of a good game, and a wasted rejigging of a terrible game. Then we have the Switch version of the collection that further stamps on the soon-to-be whimpering corpse that is this collection. The Switch runs Sigma 2 and Razor’s Edge terribly. Not only do they take a massive visual downgrade, but the frame rate is all over the place. The only game worth playing on Nintendo’s hybrid is Sigma 1, and at that point, the collection is not worth it. Performance may vary on other platforms of course, but I was unable to test them.

Extra Gubbins

As a bonus, the Master Collection gives you access to some music and some artwork, which is always nice. It does absolutely nothing to improve the quality of the collection of course, and I would in no way recommend buying the collection to gander at things you could simply google. It’s a swanky inclusion, but irrelevant.


Overall, the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection is possibly worth considering. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 1 is still a fantastic game, and Sigma 2 is not a bad game, despite being a downgrade. You are still being lugged with Razor’s Edge of course, but that may be a tax worth paying. Unless you’re on Switch. Switch owners should stay far, far away from this collection. Ryu Hyabusa deserved better and we can only hope he gets it on the other platforms.


Platforms: Steam (PC), PlayStation 4, XBox One, Nintendo Switch

Want to see our detailed reviews of Ninja Gaiden Sigma? Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2? Or how about Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge?

Many thanks go to Koei Tecmo for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.

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