Parents' Guide to

Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection

By Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Violent collection of ninja titles gets a minor upgrade.

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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.

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