Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Platforms: PS4, Switch, XBox One, PC
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
Release Date: 10/06/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
If you were a gamer back in 2004, you will know of the Ninja Gaiden trilogy, if you are lucky enough to have played the original game back on the NES you will know that these games are hard (ok Sigma not as hard as Black but we won’t go there). With their slick combat and fast pasted action. Lets see if they hold true today.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma
Ryu Hayabusa, the best Ninja in his clan, as he infiltrates the Shadow clan fortress. Ryu is there to visit his uncle, the clan leader Murai. Ayane delivers news of a raid on the Hayabusa village. Fighting his way back to his village, Ryu encounters Doku, who has killed the Hayabusa shrine maiden Kureha and has taken the Dark Dragon Blade. Ryu is dispatched by Doku. However, is returned back to life as a “soldier of revenge” by a falcon, the spiritual animal of the Hayabusa clan. Ryu is now on a mission of revenge for the destruction of the Hayabusa clan and the stealing of the Dark Dragon Blade.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
Set one year after Ninja Gaiden, a CIA agent Sonia is looking for Ryu in Muramasa’s blacksmith shop in Tokyo, only to be attacked and kidnapped by the Black Spider Ninja Clan. Ryu races to save Sonia from the Clan, who tells Ryu that the Hayabusa Village is under attack from the Black Spiders and they want the Demon statue they protect (Why does this village have so many world ending items?). Upon returning, Ryu finds his father fighting the Black Spider Clan’s master. However, the statute is stolen and Ryu has to set on a quest around the world to stop the Black Spiders using the statute and destroying the world.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
In Hayabusa Village two government agents ask Ryu to save the British Prime Minister and his family from an unknown terrorist group. Ryu fights his way to where the Prime Minister is only to see him be killed but the mysterious Regent of the Mask. The Regent puts a curse on Ryu’s right are that absorbs the Dragon Sword in to his forearm. Resulting in excrusitating pain for Ryu. Ryu barely makes it out of the building with his life to be transported to the JSDF Destroyer, where he learns the Regent will destroy the world in seven days. It is up to Ryu to stop him.
The emphasis on a narrative in these titles was never going to be the main focus I mean Team Ninja make DoA for peat’s sake. The Ninja Gaiden games were all about the over the top, fast-paced action sequences, and they were so good. I mean yeah the story was there, but it was just to keep the game from feeling like a kill fest and break up the action.
In the first installment Ninja Gaiden the game really showed off what it was all about, tonnes of baddies that will need to be dispatched in style. However, this was no normal Hack-and-Slash title. Oh no, the difficulty was ramped up too 100 and button mashing meant an early demise. As I said, Team Ninja are the brains behind the DoA fighting games, and they managed to incorporate the timed attacks into an action style game. So attacks and combos needed to be executed well in order to make progress. Not fully content with that the devs used the environment to help make the action more flashy and give players more options but also as an exploration device allowing for Ryu to reach places no one else could. This made for a fresh experience that will frustrate and annoy a lot of players with the difficulty curve. We all remember Ryu’s uncle, right?
This being said at times Ryu felt like he had lead shoes on he did not feel like a super agile Ninja, he was fast but some of his movements felt heavy.
In this installment the developers fixed this, and Ryu was like a true Ninja. There was not much in the way of deviation from the first game’s main mechanics, the team really improved on the action. Making every fight (like in the first) a thought process and not mindless button bashing. The only difference between the two games was that the second installment introduced new playable characters to the game, adding some variation in the combat while keeping the core the same.
Razor’s Edge I never really liked from the first time around it was less of a times game and more of a general hack and slash game with waves upon waves of enemies coming at you for what felt like an eternity. It for me lost its edge. Not to mention the random active time events that looked amazing when doing them, but for me added little to the game at all. Not that Razor’s Edge was bad. It was still good, but compared to the other two games felt shallow and less thought out.
For newcomers and for players who want to get used to playing Ryu again (so not me for 20 mins) there is the new Hero mode on all titles this allows players who have bad timing and need a reset, this mode will have Ryu auto block when health is low and be able to use his magic as much as he can. Give the player extra time to get out of a tight spot as well as not getting their asses handed to them too often.
With that said I still love Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection for bring back these three classic hack-and-slash titles. These are three games that need to be played by anyone who likes action style fasted paced combat.
I have to 100% recommend these games; they are all great titles.