A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While players attempt to save the world from rival ninja clans, demons, and other hazards, there are more themes of revenge, bloodlust, and glorification of destruction across the three games that tend to overwhelm any positives included.
Positive Role Models
While you may be a ninja fighting against seemingly impossible odds, the overt focus on brutal elimination of opponents makes playable characters anti-heroes at best.
Ease of Play
While controls are easy to learn and pick up, the sheer number of enemies you face in some areas requires more finesse than button mashing to be successful. Razor's Edge, the third game in the collection, rotates between button mashing and massive spikes in difficulty for some boss battles. Each game has multiple difficulty levels to test your skills, but these are still designed to be challenging for skilled gamers.
Violence & Scariness
Players use a sword, throwing stars, and ninja magic to destroy human enemies and monstsers. Blood and gore is frequently shown, with hacked off limbs, decapitations, and other brutal attacks launched against enemies. Characters can be seen impaled by swords as well during combat. Camera angles frequently zoom in on particularly vicious attacks, with slow motion shots emphasizing the destruction to opponents.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Players have the option to select one of four different female ninja to fight across levels, each of which wear tight clothing that emphasizes their breasts and bodies. A demon's shown briefly nude before assuming its monstrous form. Female characters' breasts often jiggle and move in unrealistic ways during fights or cutscenes between in-game action.
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"F—k" and "s--t" can frequently be heard during in-game dialogue.
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Products & Purchases
This is a compilation of three games from a long-running action franchise, with two of them being revamped versions of the original titles. Players can also choose to get the Deluxe Edition, which provides a digital artbook, soundtrack, and themes and avatar pictures for the PS4 version of the game.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection is an action adventure game available for download on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. This is a collection of three separate games from the mid-2000s, each of which focused on and glorified fast-paced action, violence, and destruction against seemingly impossible odds. Players will use a sword, throwing stars, and ninja magic against human and demonic creatures, with blood and gore often resulting as part of the combat. Limbs are frequently hacked off, bodies are impaled, and brutal attacks frequently receive close up camera angles and slow motion shots to highlight the killing blow. Players have the option to select one of three female ninja to play as, each of which wear tight-fitting outfits that emphasizes their breasts and bodies. Their breasts often move and bounce unnaturally during cutscenes and fights, and a female demon can be seen briefly nude as a human-like figure before it assumes its true form. There's frequent use of "f—k" and "s—t" in dialogue and during combat. Players can choose to select the Deluxe edition of the game, which provides a soundtrack, artbook, and themes and avatars for the PS4 version of the game. Finally, while the collection of games have multiple difficulty settings to provide a challenge, the games are tricky enough to require precise moves and planned attacks instead of button mashing to be successful.
Is It Any Good?
While it's great to see this franchise get re-released for a new generation of consoles and gamers, the minimal adjustments made for the games does all of them quite a disservice. Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection gathers together three games in the Ninja Gaiden franchise (or more accurately, their enhanced versions in the form of Sigma, Sigma 2, and Razor's Edge) for current and next-gen systems. That means that all of the downloadable content, all of the extra gameplay modes, and the option to play as four female characters as well as Ryu are available as you save the world multiple times. These games are also bolstered by a faster frame rate to take advantage of the newer, more powerful hardware. But if you were expecting a revamped or remastered series of games, you're out of luck, because these are really more ported titles than rebuilt and refreshed titles. HD screens will definitely show off the age of the game engines, simply in higher definition without slowdown. In fact, apart from the artbook and soundtracks that are found in the Digital Collection, these are the same titles that were released more than a decade ago.
That's not particularly a bad thing in the case of Sigma and Sigma 2, which have been considered by most players to be fantastic action games. These require a lot of finesse and timing your attacks to be successful in fights, and the story for each is very good. But Razor's Edge remains as weak and flawed as before: the plot and dialogue are still horrible and the action retains its uneven mix of button mashing through cannon fodder soldiers before facing incredibly challenging boss fights that ratchet up the difficulty to an extreme level. It's better to simply skip this one in favor of the first two. If you can look past the lack of extras and enhancements, as well as the poor gameplay of Razor's Edge, this is a great collection for action fans that missed out on these titles the first time. Just temper your expectations of this being a phenomenal set of classic action games.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.