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Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection review - two classics and a dud

metro.co.uk
6 min read
fairly easy
Two of the best action games of the previous decade are remastered, along with their considerably less successful follow-up.
Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection – the ninja master returns (pic: Koei Tecmo)



Microsoft has been rightly criticised for not engaging with the Japanese development community for the last two generations, which seems especially disappointing given how many other (almost exclusively American or British) developers they've bought up recently. But they did start off trying to make an effort, with Ninja Gaiden and sister series Dead Or Alive both being exclusives for the original Xbox.

Prior to that Ninja Gaiden was best known as a trilogy of ultra-hard NES games (although the series actually started in the arcades, when it was known as Shadow Warriors in Europe) so making the reboot an Xbox exclusive was quite a coup at the time. For 2004, the graphics were state-of-the-art, so it was a major showpiece for the nascent Xbox brand. Although there was one thing that prevented it from achieving true mainstream success: it's really, really hard.

Long before Dark Souls, Ninja Gaiden was the most prominent example of a big budget action game that took delight in punishing its players. But enough people enjoyed the treatment that it and its sequel were eventually ported to the PlayStation 3, with the Σ variations that are included in this remaster collection. Thanks to the poorly received third game the series hasn't been heard of in close to a decade but as this collection is released there are increasing whispers of a fourth entry…

The Ninja Gaiden reboot was the pet project of Tomonobu Itagaki, the outspoken (to put things diplomatically) director who left Koei Tecmo under a cloud sometime after the completion of Ninja Gaiden 2. He's also hinting about a comeback, and is no doubt delighted that the third game's problems were largely attributed to his absence. To give credit where it's due though the first two do stand up remarkably well, even after all this time.

Compared to recent remasters like NieR Replicant or Mass Effect this so-called Master Collection is pretty…
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