Long before Hidetaka Miyazaki’s mind gave birth to the design concept of Souls gameplay, there was another brand that usurped the reputation of a tough challenge for truly dedicated players. Challenges that give nothing to anyone will test perception, the ability to plan and make quick decisions. Challenges where even a small mistake can mean an immediate end. The brand is called Tetris. This text will not deal with it.
Instead, it will focus on another historical standard of rigidity and irreconcilability, namely the Ninja Gaiden series and especially the three parts that make up the recently released Ninja Gaiden Master Collection. You can buy it on a PC, the last generation of consoles or Switch, but it will also work in backward compatibility on PS5 and Xbox Series X and S.
Ninja Gaiden is a third-party action series that combines challenging battles, often with the superiority of enemies, boss fights, as well as platforming and solving simple puzzles. Over the years, her concept has changed significantly, but it has not always been to the benefit of the cause.
What do you find in the box?
The package includes Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Ninja Gaiden Sigma II and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge in remastered form. The situation with the various game releases in this series is a bit complicated, at least briefly.
The all-original Ninja Gaiden was released in 1988 and had several sequels and ports during the first half of the 1990s. But you will not see any of these games in the Master Collection. In 2004, a reboot called Ninja Gaiden was released, which a year later saw an improved version with the subtitle Black and in the next two years a port on PlayStation 3 with the subtitle Sigma. Are you lost in it? Don’t despair, I’m done, this Sigma is present in the Master Collection.
A similar situation applies to the second part, which was released under the name Ninja Gaiden II in 2008 on Xbox 360 and a year later as Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 on PlayStation 3. And the third and last title we will find in the collection is Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, an improved version of the third part from 2012.
Taking a quick look at the timeline of all the games released under the name Ninja Gaiden, you may be the first to think that naming a compilation of three of them as Master Collection is quite bold. It should be mentioned that you will get all the essential modern games in it, but unfortunately in the case of the first two parts present you will not receive them in the best versions according to the general consensus. But whether the Black version in the case of the first or the classic Ninja Gaiden II instead of the Sigma version are reportedly unavailable nowadays, because the source codes have been irretrievably lost.
To the core of the poodle
Well, after a relatively comprehensive introduction to what you can find in the compilation, let’s focus on the games themselves and how they managed to withstand the flow of time. The first part presents a ninja named Ryu Hayabusa, with whom you will then go through the other two sequels. But each of the games has its own closed story and it doesn’t matter which one you start with.
In the first part, of course, the tooth of time signed the most, really very archaic graphics in retro experience are complemented by static camera angles, which can weld in some situations, and I would almost say that most of the difficulty comes from them.
The saddest thing is that Sigma, like the other two parts, is really just a very lazy remaster, which reaches practically only the resolution, but does not take into account any of the potential improvements in user comfort. When playing, you have to reckon with the fact that you have a game from 2004 in your hands, which runs on reinforced consoles in 4K and 60 FPS (on basic versions in 1080p, on Switch then in 720p), otherwise practically nothing has changed on it .
The slightly younger two is better at it and in fact I was most pleased with the whole trilogy. Although it did not receive any drastic improvements, and even the developers did not even return the blood, which was criminally missing in the Sigma version, but it reappeared in the port on PS Vitu, but the second part is a bit more modern, the user interface received the necessary upgrade and it is no longer such a major problem. Even here, however, I can’t help feeling that Koei Tecmo went the path of least resistance and did not devote an extra drop of love to the collection with the ostentatious name of the Master Collection.
The latest Razor’s Edge from 2012 is naturally the most modern, but unfortunately also clearly the worst game in the entire collection, which paradoxically grew old with the least grace. Trying to tell a more realistic story turned out to be a step aside, or rather a step into the soft. And unfortunately, the gameplay side is not optimal either. Although you can look forward to a lot of blood and amputated limbs, the game builds on numerous hordes of enemies while building up the difficulty, the most annoying of which is out of range and salt it into the scratch from the rocket launcher.
Who will you benefit from ?!
After playing Razor’s Edge for a while, I withdrew God of War III, two years older, with a thoughtful expression and completed its introductory sequence. It’s unbelievable how much the game from Sony Santa Monica still resists the ravages of time that the last part of the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection grinded to the ground. Ninja Gaiden 3 is a game that does not deserve your time in 2021.
And that actually brings me to the question of who the remastered Master Collection was actually created for. There is no doubt that this is the most comfortable way to try out three modern parts of the series, after which witnesses have been calling for a long time. But it is not a collection that has the ambition to satisfy gourmets with loaded content and bonuses.
For complete novices who have only heard about the series in the past and are curious about what an elbow is, historical relics are hidden in the box, which today, without nostalgic experience, is no great joy to play. For those who remember the famous days of the series, Ninja Gaiden 1 and 2 are still very good games (and therefore the rating looks the way it does), but that’s quite a few after fifteen years.
Team Ninja has jumped from the Ninja Gaiden series to Nioh and is currently preparing the Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin. Ninja Gaiden: The Master Collection, in my opinion, is nothing more than an extremely lazy and confident survey of whether there is still interest in this brand and how many resources Koei Tecmo should pour into the repeatedly speculated fourth volume.
For me personally, however, it is most of all proof that the pink glasses of nostalgia are very treacherous and some memories should be put to sleep.
Source: Games by games.tiscali.cz.
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