Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On: PS4
Developer: CyberConnect 2
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Distributor: Megarom Interactive
Release Date: 4 February 2016
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 not only commemorates the end of the series, but it gives those, like me, who have missed a few arcs, the opportunity to catch-up on things. Naruto has been around for more than most people could handle, but after seven years and a few hundred episodes, the series has come to an end, leaving Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 to give you a decent rundown on the happenings in the story. If you have not followed the story of the show, then you can either benefit from the game’s fairly decent narrative, or it can spoil the ending for you as the story mode is pretty detailed right through to the end of the series.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 does a great job at truly visualizing the anime at its best moments. All the flashy set pieces and gigantic explosions look fantastic running on PS4 and Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is the first time the series has taken advantage of the hardware of current gen. The story mode covers basically everything from the series, with a few missing events here and there, and although it is shorter than the previous title’s runtime, it still feels like a chunky piece of meat that you can chew on for weeks. Everything in the story mode runs according to the series, and battles and events all play out extremely well. Each battle you take on has a set amount of objectives that you can reach to unlock items used to purchase collection objects out of the game. Using a certain attack a set amount of times, or completing the battle with a certain amount of health remaining. Although these objectives are in place, they are really there for the completionist rather than someone just trying to enjoy the story.
Voice work and animations are on point at all time, and although some people would prefer subs rather than English voice acting, it’s nice to just sit back and watch the cutscenes rather than read subtitles. During certain story missions you are required to participate in quick-time events which require you to press a button in time, or rotate your analogue in a certain direction. Although these events are really not necessary, they normally take place right after an epic fight while you are worked up and pumped with adrenalin anyway.
When it comes to combat, the game is pretty simple. Infusing your character and then unleashing a power attack is simple, and using their special attacks just require three buttons to initiate. It is really easy and enjoyable and thanks to its fluid system, you can focus more on the battlefield and the cat and mouse game, rather than chaining together combos. There are also a variety of battles to partake in during story mode like a horde type mode where you have to fight off waves of clones, and some with the ability to switch between characters at ease. It all adds to the variety that the game has to offer.
Once you have consumed the story mode, the game gets even chunkier as Adventure Mode sets you off on a journey in an open world and is set after the events of the main series. Here you will explore the world as Naruto, Sakura, and Hinata while undertaking various quests from characters in the series. The quests lack any real substance, and are more MMO based like going to a certain place and talking to someone, or hunting down objects scattered around an area. The adventure mode lacks the content and substance that comes from the story mode.
Apart from the narrative driven modes, battle mode is a strict fighting mode where you take on online players, and offline bots to test your strength. It comprises of a few modes like league, survival, online, versus and practice mode. It all comes together when you see the roster of playable characters, which is by far the biggest I have seen in any game so far. The roster includes every version of Naruto and Sasuke, and possibly ever support character ever seen in the series. It is truly a love-letter to fans. Even if you loved some guy you only saw once in that one episode 4 years ago, he is probably playable in the game.
In the end Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is a fitting title to call the end of the series. It is a content-filled title with so much to do, see and experience, that it will take you weeks to get it done. It looks fantastic, and its battles and story are the highlight of the game.