Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is a 3D Fighting game based on the massively popular anime created by Masashi Kishimoto. The game was developed by CyberConnect2 and was distributed by Bandai-Namco games who own the rights to the ninja franchise.
This is the sixth game in what is known as the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series. At this point, CyberConnect2 are well familiar with the characters and have steadily become veterans at refining the much beloved combat mechanics of previous incarnations. However, Whilst they excel each time in introducing fresh battle features. They also continually find innovative ways to pad their game with unnecessary gimmicks.
The title of this game is “Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution” — A mouthful to say the least.
A shorter, snappier title would have had a better ring to it. The series may be called Naruto: Ultimate Ninja, but this doesn’t mean they can’t change it. They are the developers. They can make the call to shorten it.
Ironically enough the clustered title of the game is a good allegory for the product itself. I get the sense that the developers had the motto of “more is better” and therefore went on a frantic mission to pack as much content into their game as they could. When you are making a sequel to a game you need to have new features that will engross your player. While the notion of stacking a game to the brim may sound like a good plan, it simply leads to the experience feeling disjointed as certain additions turn out fantastic while other are entirely forgettable. There is omissions that definitely could have been made to the final product here that would not take away from the overall experience. They would actually measurably improve it.
The game modes we have on offer in this iteration are your traditional Versus Mode (Offline and Online), Ninja Escapades Mode and World Tournament Mode.
The first mode you will come across as you enter the menu is World Tournament Mode. The name is what you’d expect. It is a mode where all of the ninjas of the Naruto world come together to fight each other – past, present and future versions included. The noticeable first aspect of the game you’ll see is that they have genuinely done a fantastic job with the visuals. You are dropped into an overworld that presents you with a glimpse of the graphical capabilities that an Xbox 360 can bring. It looks about as close to the show as you could get. The unfortunate detriment of this overworld is that while it may look pretty; it is pointless. A pet peeve of mine is adding in an overworld for the sake of having one. The island you explore looks great, but feels bare. You can interact with a few NPCs, buy an item, buy a lottery ticket to win an item or go to the your next match.
Busybody work is given to you now and then in the form of fetch quests for characters that involve usually just walking from one place to another and talking to someone. There aren’t any obstacles in your way or any interesting interactive environment sections during these segments. It essentially boils down to walk from A to B, on top of this you are bombarded with tutorials that are invasive and genuinely insulting in how obvious some of their subject matter is.
This is not the real hindrance of tournament mode though, the biggest flaw in this mode is the bizarre four person scraps it offers. Instead of allowing a good old four person death match to take place; you instead play a game reminiscent of a mini game in Kingdom Heart 2 where you knock orbs out of each other and then collect them. Whoever gets the most orbs at the end of a round wins. It is quite fun for the first round but when you work out the formula of spamming one jutsu and holding down “Y”; you find yourself having less fun. These matches are baffling in how easy they are. In the later matches, a sliding rail mechanic addition is also equally baffling in it’s utter lack of a purpose other than to look cool.
Overall, I left this mode feeling completely boggled at the game.
Ninja Escapades was the mode I was searching for. Simplistic in its approach, beautiful anime cut-scenes that tell interesting stories. Brawls with fleshed out move sets and destructive ultimate attacks. An element of difficulty to gameplay that doesn’t feel cheap. Ninja Escapades Mode is greatt it tells three stories using cut-scenes created by the studio behind the T.V series interspersed with the intense battles we’ve come to expect from the Ultimate Ninja series. This as one singular unified story mode would have been a much better choice , an entire story mode in this format is ideal. It doesn’t have to have all anime cut-scenes, in game cut-scenes would be fine as long as they have a weight behind them beyond an inconsequential orb collecting tournament. When this game strikes a chord it makes you forget that you are playing a game. It feels like you are interacting directly with the show and it feels like there is a point to all that you are doing.
Ninja Escapades Mode combined with the versus mode is where this games strength truly lies. In the versus mode you can choose from the very impressive sized roster and fight against friends, the mechanics of the game lend better to playing against another person. A com character can only do so well fighting against a combo master. Playing with a friend adds the dimension of somebody calculating out their moves. The new counter move is a feature that has been needed for a while and ties in great with the three different styles of support character types you can have. As i stated earlier, CyberConnect 2 refine their formula with each edition. The reason to play these games is the gameplay of player vs player matches. Forget the hokey tournament mode, forget about the Mecha Naruto unlockable story that is worse than the laziest of filler arcs the show produced, stick with the online and offline versus play and enjoy yourself.
In summary, this is not a particular bad addition to the growing list of Naruto Shippuden games. It just really does not fulfill a level of potential that it should be living up too. The musical score and visuals are strikingly on point consistently, the gameplay is fluid and fast in most cases. Tournament Mode may take away from your enjoyment, but don’t let that stop you as there is a solid fighter to be found here.
Enjoyable but best experienced with a friend. 6.5/10
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is currently available for PS3 and Xbox 360 and PC.