Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Az Elias 28.08.2021

Review for Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection on Nintendo Switch

Tecmo's highly acclaimed NES Ninja Gaiden trilogy got the prequel treatment beginning in 2004 when Dead or Alive creator Tomonobu Itagaki took on the mantle of bringing the series to the 3D age. Its success produced a trilogy of its own - the second game still with Itagaki at the helm and the third without him following his company departure. The series has been on hold since then, yet with ports of these challenging action brawlers brought to current platforms in the form of Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection, perhaps there is still hope for a Ryu Hayabusa return.

Three games make up this hack and slash package: Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge. Each one is the latest version of their respective titles, meaning those that preferred the original designs of Xbox's Ninja Gaiden Black or Xbox 360's Ninja Gaiden II will have to make do with the Sigma versions here.

The most hardcore series fans will know how they feel about that, but the average person shouldn't fret - the core games are essentially the same in Sigma and Sigma 2, and many additions and improvements were made overall.

Arguably, the originals do other things better, but there is little point going too much into depth on that topic. What is here is good ninja slashing fun and newcomers should feel comfortable getting to experience Ryu Hayabusa's exploits for the first time with Master Collection.

Screenshot for Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection on Nintendo Switch

Famed for being extremely challenging, all three of these games will put to the test your combat skills. Different difficulties are available, with the easiest mode enabling the less swift of ninjas to make it through to completion with not too much stress. Naturally, rewards like costumes await for overcoming tougher difficulty settings.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma remains the pinnacle of the package, despite a quite messy pause menu design that can take some getting used to. Since this is used for equipping weapons, it is a wonder nothing was altered for this port to make it more functional and readable. Flitting between either of the Sigma titles and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge can be disorienting, too, since the block and aim buttons are switched in the third game. Some consistency across the trilogy would have been nice, but if it cannot be gotten used to, at least there is button customisation in the Nintendo Switch system menu as a last resort.

Screenshot for Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection on Nintendo Switch

Ninja Gaiden Sigma retains more of an adventure game feel thanks to the mild exploration elements that are interspersed between the intense battles with other ninjas. This can involve going between rooms to find items and chests or backtracking a little to open a previously locked door with a new key. These situations offer brief moments of respite from the action, which can often be demanding.

In the first game's favour, also, is that it runs and looks very good on the humble Switch. Sigma 2, however, noticeably suffers visibly and in performance at times, while Ninja Gaiden 3 succumbs to heavy pixellation in regions of desert and forest. For the best possible experience, docked is the way to go, because handheld is an eyesore.

Screenshot for Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection on Nintendo Switch

Most people write Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge off, and they would be fair in doing so. It is quite clear the effect Itagaki had on the series, as his absence shows by the type of game the third entry is. Although massively improved over its original release thanks to the changes and additions made with the Razor's Edge version, the plethora of absurd QTEs and boring brown landscapes with far too many soldiers are enough to turn anyone away, and the setup of "move through corridor, defeat all enemies before you can progress, and repeat" is a stain on how the previous two games handled.

It isn't all doom and gloom, though, as Razor's Edge takes the blood and dismemberment to the extreme, with some brutally satisfying moves to pull off. In addition, Kasumi makes her playable series debut here, able to take part in trials and story chapters, with her own fantastic moveset that derives from her Dead or Alive fighting style. If Ninja Gaiden 3 does anything right, it's bringing Kasumi into the line-up of playable females (Ayane, Momiji and Rachel are also playable in various games), hopefully boding well for her reintroduction in the (fingers crossed) next game, but with an actual story presence.

Screenshot for Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


Bare minimum ports with performance issues they may be, but Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection is a most welcome release that hopefully fuels the flame for a fourth in the 3D series. The lack of polish or any real noteworthy adjustments or additional content, as well as the third game losing its way following the first two great entries, put a dampener on the package, but there is still good value for money here that fans of challenging games will do well to check out.


Team Ninja


Koei Tecmo





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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