While ninjas are really cool, I’ve avoided the Ninja Gaiden series for years; In fact, the trilogy, along with a few other works, is part of that sad bunch of games I’ve never touched. However, Koei Tecmo America has gotten a good knockout with the release of a remastered version of the three titles for the last generation of consoles. So, it’s time to strap on your bandana and jump into danger with sword in hand!
If you like ninjas, you will love the Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection. In it we slip into the role of Ryu Hayabusa to experience a bloody revenge story full of ninja themes: mysterious artifacts, evil forces, ninjas that hit through paper walls, iconic weapons, super epic boss fights, dismemberment and much more. much blood. The action in these games is so intense that if we didn’t have to focus so much to stay alive, we’d be out of breath.
The dreaded Ninja Gaiden difficulty level is no joke – as a newbie I tested it very carefully, starting with the lowest level of difficulty and still sticks fell from all sides. The titles of this series, played in third person, flood the screen with mountains of enemies at an impressive rate. To survive this madness, the protagonist must perform various types of punches, jump, throw objects and defend himself. The main goal is to combine all these resources until your fingers get tired in order to survive the hordes of enemies. In this scenario, defensive movements become extremely important as opponents will not respect attack rounds and will not hesitate to shoot when they have a weapon in hand.
To survive you have to have ninja wood because in this case we cannot blame the controls: everything responds very well to the commands we give it and the characters don’t cut themselves when it comes to picking one Massacre enemy. The order in which the buttons have to be pressed is easy to internalize, and once you understand how things go, the plot becomes a ballet of violence, blood and guts. While the first two parts of the trilogy look more like tactical fighting games, the third is a bit different, and not just because of a few strange changes to the button actions. Ninja Gaiden 3 has a greater number of enemies with higher health, making it a title closer to the arcade style of melee games in which the protagonist battles countless enemies. We assume that the study with the latter decided to give priority to quantity over quality; However, it also has original novelties like QTE sequences and stealth options that enrich the gaming experience.
From a technical point of view, only the camera is problematic as it follows the protagonist vaguely and inconveniently, especially in the first Ninja Gaiden, which causes a lot of problems when jumping. The camera improves a bit in the following tranches, but still lags behind and even gets stuck on some objects, which makes the fight even more difficult for no reason.
The trilogy is remastered quite well, especially when you consider that it’s a series of more than ten years. However, when I play the introductory video of the first NG, it almost gives me something because it looks so blurry. Apparently the original footage of the videos was not in good resolution, so the studio rescaled the film sequences several times for the Master Collection. At least these adjustments performed better in the second and third parts, as the original material of these two was of higher quality.
Overall, the game dynamics look pretty good along with the improved textures and higher resolution. Although the passage of time is still noticeable in the square features of the characters and how empty the levels seem, the Ninja Gaiden still offer very complete, bloody action and a good atmosphere. Additionally, as the series’ technology has advanced, so have the graphics and level of Gore content in the series. However, we have to admit that in the third part the excessive number of characters along with the great massacre and all the limbs flying through the air creates absolute chaos.
The games have fairly basic lighting and some particle effects, but we wish the remastering was done right from start to finish. For example, they could have added HDR effects or an improved visual aspect like Bioware did with the remaster of the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, which is to be expected in the generation of consoles we are in. At least the frame rate doesn’t disappoint, which is important in scenes where we have to hit a certain button in time, and it’s good to know that those moments of debating life and death have no place in a game with poor performance. As for the Xbox Series X wait times, it seems like it has been disguised as a little respite that titles offer amid so much action.
The sound effects in this trilogy are very lively: the enemy’s screams of pain are convincing and the sound of the swords on the skin is rich in detail. The incisive knocks we hear every time we open doors or loot boxes of knocks add credibility to the titles in a hilarious way and, as is already typical of Japanese-style video games, the dubbing is very emotional and fits perfectly in the mouth incredible heroes and evil enemies. The menu music of the first Ninja Gaiden, which is characterized by some rather embarrassing generic songs, worried us a bit, but luckily we found that the oriental features of the songs contribute to a good atmosphere. Unfortunately, Ninja Gaiden 3 has that generic electric guitar again that squeaks when fighting, it’s a bit old-fashioned.
Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection is like an ancient treasure brought back: it not only unites everything that has to do with ninjas, but also offers incredible action full of blood and a living story, many zones to discover and some super-epic enemies to destroy. Yes, the camera is very rigid and the level of difficulty is very high, two aspects that spoil the experience a bit, but the games are of an easier level for those who are first time ninjas as a server. Every fan of the series should know one thing: The first two remastered Ninja Gaiden are in the Sigma version, which, to our knowledge, differs slightly from the original. However, from the third installment, the Razor’s Edge version has been included, which is believed to be the most complete, which is supposed to help alleviate the displeasure that the Sigma versions can cause. In addition, the Master Collection contains the soundtrack for the series and digital art for the games; a gift that makes us appreciate this classic franchise even more.