Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm has been a long running series, and it can probably viewed as the most successful out of the entire franchise. Even though this game is titled as the fourth installation in the series, there are actually six full entries with only four of them being numbered. Each game has improved on the formula and added more characters to the roster as the story in the manga continued.
Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is the last entry in the series, as it concludes the Naruto manga’s story, and is the first in the series to be released on next gen consoles. It features every character that has been in the Ultimate Ninja Storm series so far, adds even more characters to the roster, and finishes the story which began in Ultimate Ninja Storm 1.
The game is the same fighting game as always. For those unfamiliar, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is a 3D arena based fighter that uses many different mechanics and buttons to make an easy to play yet difficult to master fighter. The game’s mechanics would be difficult to explain in a single paragraph, let alone in this review, but just know the game isn’t as complex as I might make it sound. Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is just as fun the play as the previous entries, and it can be played by newcomers and veterans alike after a little practice.
For those who have played the previous entry, the developers has even added new mechanics to help balance the combat system and iron out the quirks they couldn’t quite get rid of. Supports are no longer able to be either attack, guard, or balanced types and are stuck with just one type per character.
You can swap out with your supports a la Marvel vs. Capcom by flicking the right stick. There is now a counter system where pressing X–square for PS4–initiates a counter to any timed attack but lowers your chakra bar every time you use it, making it valuable but not spammable. They even added the ability to break a character’s armor and weapons, in addition to elemental damage to certain attacks.
Combine all of this with all the mechanics from previous titles and you have a really deep fighter. It can result in crazy fun battles if you play with someone of similar skill either with your friends or people online. The game really is fun to watch when experienced players fight. It represents the source material well and has such a diverse character roster that you can play as almost anyone to good effect.
You have the option of playing story mode, where you can play out the final chapters of the Naruto manga, though you’ll be lost if you haven’t read it. There’s adventure mode, where you can run around the world of Naruto after the events of the main story doing wacky missions etc.. Collection lets you buy cosmetic items for online play and your profile. Online Battle lets you connect to other players and fight, and finally, Free Battle is for battling the CPU or fighting your friends locally.
Even though the game doesn’t have a whole lot of depth besides the fighting engine itself, the Story mode varies the gameplay widely by including several different types of boss battles that keep it fresh and engaging. While there are quick time events, they don’t ever feel forced or boring because their placement just feels so right and over the top. I wish the story had taken animated scenes from the anime rather than still shots, but I guess it’s because some parts haven’t been animated yet, so using the in game engine to make these parts come to life works well.
Overall, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is probably the best entry in the series and a good note to end it on. It has the largest roster of any Naruto game to date. The combat system has been tweaked to perfection and is easy to play but difficult to master, the controls are smooth and responsive, and the graphics look fantastic on the next generation consoles. Naruto fans should be happy with this send off, and I encourage anyone that hasn’t tried the series to pick this up. It’s the most complete the Ultimate Ninja Storm series has ever been.
An Xbox One code for Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 was provided by Bandai Namco for the purpose of this review