Speaking to Sai, Naruto once said: “I don’t care who I have to fight! If he rips my arms out, I’ll kick him to death! If he rips my legs off, I’ll bite him to death! If he rips my head off, I’ll stare him to death! And if he gouges out my eyes, I’ll curse him from the grave!…” (-Uzumaki Naruto)
Although this famous quote was said way before the events that take place in Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, when Sasuke was still believed a prisoner of Orochimaru, the will backing this saying still applies. Naruto is known to never back down from a fight, especially when a lot is a stake. This time around, everyone he cares for is in danger, and he is willing to fight until his very last breath.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 takes place during the last arc of the war orchestrated by Madara and Obito. At that point, the shinobi fights against the two antagonists in hopes to save their land, their friends, and their lives. Tied with both the manga and the anime, this chapter concludes the war and lays many questions to rest.
On paper, the game looks similar to its predecessors. However, in terms of content and combat mechanics, there are some differences that give this title an edge.
From the get go, you are introduced to a game that was designed from the ground up for the new generation of consoles; Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is the first installment of the series that was made for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. That being said, they put the package on the presentation of the game. Unfortunately, while the visuals look sharp, updates and well-suited for the anime, cinematic tend to be bland and boring to watch.
Not all cinematic are like that – some are incredibly cool-looking. However, despite the fact that they are insane and fill you in on what happens, the audio, namely the voice acting, is off from the animation. The voices themselves sound perfect, but the delay is noticeable and frankly annoying in the long run.
From the moment you want to fight, you are introduced to a large number of fighters. Although some of them are exclusive to certain modes of the game, such as Double Sharingan Obito (Story Mode) and Gamakichi (Boss Battle), the choices you have are staggering.
In Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, a new feature was installed that reminds us a lot of fighting games like Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom. Introducing “Leader Swap”, a feature that now allows you to swap in and out your main character with one of your supporting ones. Instead of just tapping them for a simple attack, you can now take over their bodies and use them in combat. Beware! Unlike Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom, whereas each character has their own health bar, your team shares a single health pool. This means that if you swap in your support and he/she dies, you lose the fight.
Incorporating such as feature is nice to the game and allows you to play as many characters during a same fight. However, the fact that they have a common health bar pool defies many fighting game rules. In a way, it doesn’t make any sense to have, for example, Sasuke lose a fight because his supporter, Deidara – a significantly weaker combatant – died in his place. To balance things out, supporter should have been given at least a smaller health bar.
As part of the game, you can take on the story mode. This is where all the action takes place. While fights are abundant, the cheap montage cut scenes kill the momentum in a heartbeat. Also, it is unfair how some of the AI play along; some of them are given a power spike buff and instead of fighting back, they play defensively, evade your attacks, and spam long range moves that completely overwhelm you in terms of damage. This unfairness affects gameplay value, but at the same time, forces you to adapt to an unfair matchup. Frustrating… but this also builds up fighting experience.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is a not as great as it might seem. Despite having one of the best fighting mechanics ever incorporated in a game, a large roster, and fantastic visuals and animations, this title suffers from many issues that stack up into a pile of disappointment. Delay in voice overlay, useless and boring adventure mode and cheaply produced cinematic are but the major problems. Sad that it all ends this way!
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 was for me a complete letdown of a game. Although I did enjoy the enormous amount of playable characters, what turned me off was the bland and boring story and adventure modes. During my experience, I felt as though I was given either information I already knew, or useless details. Regardless, I rarely heard or read anything that was of any use during any of fights.
On a side note, it was refreshing to see some characters interact with Naruto, which remind us of the anime and manga, but set aside this little details, I felt the mode being completely useless and time-consuming.
As for the rest of the game, the I give praise to the fighting mechanics that ended up making the game’s flow a lot faster and more shinobi-like. There is the issue of the shared health bar, which you share amongst your main fighter and the supporters, but being able to switch in between them freely does cover up some of the bad omen the health bar claim brought. If you are a fan of the series, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is definitely worth checking out. However, I do not recommend this game to anyone who isn’t familiar with the franchise.