Release Date: 5th February 2016
Platform: PlayStation 4 / Xbox One / Steam
Genre: Fighting, Action
Player(s): Single-player / Multiplayer
Rating: PEGI 12
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is the latest release in the ‘Ultimate’ series, and with it, the series makes its jump to next gen with a Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Steam release. The passionate Naruto fans at CyberConnect2 have given their all into making this the best game yet, and with a lot of fans saying it’ll be the last, they go all out and deliver a Naruto experience quite similar to past releases, but with enough additional content to please everyone.
Battles take place in a 3D arena, where you control characters from the Naruto Shippuden world and do battle with combos, special moves and the very flashy wall running feature. Each character’s basic controls are the same, but there’s significant diversity between how they play. Included in the 4th installment is the leader system; it let’s you choose two more additional characters which can be used alongside your main with a flick of the right analog stick. There’s also the option to replace your main with one of these chosen characters, meaning they are much more than just support characters in battle. It’s a great feature, and one that will please players that like a beat ‘em up to include tactics and timing. Going into a fight with no plan of action will cost you dearly. The total amount of characters at launch is an impressive 61. If you have a favourite character, there’s a high chance they will be playable. The huge roster means there is a varied selection when it comes to creating your ultimate team of ninja, perfect for if you plan to take your battle online. If you truly enjoy what the core gameplay has to offer, then many hours can be spent testing your skills against players all around the world.
Sadly, the story mode doesn’t cover everything from Kishimoto Masashi’s work, instead the closing sections of the Naruto Shippuden anime/manga are plenty fleshed out for all to enjoy. If you are new to the series then this isn’t the best, but long time Naruto fans will love what this story mode has to offer, with fleshed out battles and content. Quick time events make a return from past Ultimate games, which help make the player feel more like they are a part of the series instead of watching a collection of cutscenes. They are well timed, so don’t think you can sit back and enjoy a coffee. You’ll have to stay focused if you want the best results at the end of a story section. It’s nice to see such attention to detail in regards to adaptation the source material, just a shame new fans will feel like they are being thrown into the ending of a story.
After you’ve finished the game’s story mode, there’s adventure mode which takes place after the events of Shippuden. Players are able to free-roam through locations from the world of Naruto, interact with NPC’s, and take on missions that relive past battles that the characters themselves recall to be the most memorable moments of the series. Free mode includes the standard VS battle, practice, survival, tournament and league. There’s enough here to keep you busy as you train yourself to be the best Ninja possible. Dual audio is supported, which gives you the option to play the game with the Japanese or English voice cast from the anime. Either option is sure to please hardcore fans of the series.
Presentation is flawless, with battles looking the most impressive. Every little detail looks fabulous, from explosions to facial expressions and flashy moves The cel-shaded style captures the anime in the best way possible, making this one of the best looking anime to video game adaptations yet. You’ll be in awe over the additional detail added to the QTE scenes in story mode, that I promise you.
Overall this is a fantastic game, doing justice to the Naruto franchise. It looks and plays beautifully, which is sure to please long time fans. it’s a shame on the story mode, but you can argue that starting at the 4th game in the series as a new fan wouldn’t be the best idea. If you want the full Naruto experience then I believe checking out past games is the best option (or giving the anime or manga a try). CyberConnect2 have created a dedicated, passionate Naruto experience, one that this player will keep on enjoying for years to come. It’s a love letter to the fans, that are sure to be satisfied with what it has to offer.
This title was reviewed using a PlayStation 4 review copy provided by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe.