Review: Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

The latest entry in the Ninja Storm series is finally here and fans of the series will be blown away by its stylish gameplay, fast-paced action and dedication to the series timeline. Players will find themselves playing from the viewpoint of multiple series favorite characters such as Kakashi, Obito and the titular character himself. Will this entry stand up to its predecessors in the series, or will the final game in the Ninja Storm franchise fall flat?

The game features 98 playable characters from the start, which is a great addition to the game considering that you have to wait upwards of an hour for it to install. During the installation, you are forced to only take part in the free battle option, which is more than enough fun on its own. Unfortunately, most fans of the series are purchasing the game for the online battles and the chance to play through some of their favorite moments from the series. Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 offers the player the chance to play couch co-op which is something that seems to be missing from most games these days. It also features a tournament mode similar to the ones found in the Smash Bros. series. The game also includes a shop where you can buy backgrounds for character portraits and other items to add to your collection. The intrigue of collecting items is immediately offset by the fact that a single playthrough of the main story will give you enough money to buy everything from the shop in one go.

The graphics this time around are nothing short of face melting. Cel shading is something that’s not used nearly enough in games and even when it is, rarely is it done on this caliber. It often feels as though you can reach out and touch the character on screen and this is instilled further by the fact that characters now take damage through battles. Normally you would only see slight scratches on a character, but this time around, large swaths of clothing will be missing from them after taking sufficient damage.

The music is energizing and exciting throughout. Right from the beginning of the opening cinematic, which is a progressive metal/punk track, you can get a good sense of the type of soundtrack this game is going to have and it does not disappoint. There are a few things holding the game back from being an incredible fighting experience and while that doesn’t necessarily deem it bad, it does nothing in regards to making it a great one. While the combat is smooth and enjoyable, it moves at entirely too quick a pace for the average gamer to get a handle on. Once you’ve gotten the hang of the blinding speed at which everything moves it becomes much more enjoyable of an experience.

Most of the cutscenes are still framed with voiceovers attached. This is something that would work with a game that moved at a slightly slower pace. Given the pacing of the story and the genre here, however, it would have been better suited to full animation. It can really take you out of the immersion when the game comes to a grinding halt. These do stop later on, but at that point it’s too late for it to matter. The bad taste has already been cemented, too little too late on that one. In addition to the main story, there’s also a game mode that allows players to freely walk around as Naruto and two other character to complete missions and take part in battles along the way. This is meant to expand upon the main story, but it moves at a nightmarishly slow pace and with ninety percent of the dialogue presented through texts boxes, making it a mode well worth skipping over.

Closing Comments:

CyberConnect2 knows what their fans want in a Naruto game and have delivered for the most part. Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 has solid controls and an outstanding roster of characters, but suffers from too many flaws to allow the average gamer to drop $60 right now. Wait for this one to show up in a bargain bin because the few things added into the series at this point do nothing to make up for its shortcomings.