Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 has raised the bar for anime fighters (review)


For the last 10 years (13 years in Japan), we’ve seen the Naruto story told over and over in video games beginning with the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series on the PlayStation 2. Four things have been consistent with the series: beautiful animation, unique fighting style, huge roster of playable characters, and every game in the series being developed by CyberConnect2.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 continues exactly where Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 left off. The climax of the Great Ninja War comes near the end. Madara and Obito are close to completing their quest to complete the Infinite Tsukiyomi. To stop this, every nation has joined together. What you get is easily the best fighting game adaption of an anime ever released, complete with stunning visuals and solid gameplay mechanics, which is easy to grasp but a challenge to master.

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN™: Ultimate Ninja® STORM 4_20160205004853

While there are multiple game modes to select from, you want to jump right into Story mode. Starting with Story mode unlocks more characters in every other mode. You’ll progress through the final arc of the Naruto anime/manga series. Like the previous titles, you are treated to some backstory leading up to the fight, which you can play through in either the original Japanese audio or the English dub depending on your preference.

I’ve always enjoyed how CyberConnect2 was able to innovate a fun battle system. The team was never shy about trying new things to improve the battle system, with each installment seeing new additions which later led to the partner system and the tag system that’s in Ultimate Ninja Storm 4. Like the previous installments, learning to wisely use your substitute jutsu scrolls and chakra are just as important as attacking your opponents and dealing damage. You also have the ability to tag your teammate(s) in battle which can extend your combos and help you set up some nice ultimate technique combos for massive damage. By pairing the right characters together, you can access their double or triple team techniques when you access the team attack jutsu.

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN™: Ultimate Ninja® STORM 4_20160205035112

One big change that I felt was needed from the last few titles was how giant boss battles were done. It wasn’t as fun or enjoyable before and lacked some depth. Luckily that’s all changed with some of the best fights being the large boss battles. They are extremely fun and enjoyable, sometimes even more difficult like in a 3rd-person action game. Quick time events also return in Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 in a much simpler form. In Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, pressing the wrong button during these scenes would cause you to miss, and here you aren’t punished for pressing the wrong button.

Completing the story mode unlocks almost every playable character in the game and lets you enjoy Adventure Mode. Adventure mode takes place after the end of the Great Ninja War and has Naruto doing random missions and exploring the different locations from the series. Adventure mode also retells some of the original Naruto stories from the series in the form of memories and fragments. This isn’t a bad way to introduce some old stories including Naruto vs Gaara and how the Great Naruto Bridge came to be. There are only so many ways you can retell a story, but having it be part of an existing story to further the plot isn’t that bad.

I was blown away by just how amazing the visuals for the game looked. Not only was the game art beautiful, but the in-game graphics looked just more detailed and sharp than the anime ever was. The character designs and backgrounds had so much detail with bright colors, that it was hard not to try and enjoy the view while in the middle of a battle. CyberConnect2 did an amazing job on bringing this game out to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. I did have some frame drop issues when there were too many items on the screen in certain battles, but it’s not something that happened often.

Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 doesn’t end when you complete the Story and Adventure mode, it offers so much to do in the game including online battles, survival and tournament modes. This makes it really easy to explore and play around with different team compositions thanks to the large character roster of nearly 100 playable characters. You can make a team composed of your favorite characters from the entire Naruto saga including The Last: Naruto the Movie and Boruto: Naruto the Movie. Bandai Namco Games and CyberConnect2 really raised the bar on anime fighting games with the newest installment of Naruto.

Rating: 4.5/5 Atoms

NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4
Developer: CyberConnect2
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
System: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Price: $59.99
Available: 2/09/ 2016

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