Weathering the Storm.
There’s something to be said about the nostalgia Naruto has to offer the world, and more than that, the community of people it brings together when it comes to the mere mention of the word. Naruto fans come in masses, rather it be an interest in the comics, TV show, or video games—the following is there. From the main protagonists down to support characters—and the cosplay for all of them—the significance of each role is key to the success of the series.
When it comes to a game series, there are some where you can pick up any installment and have no problem understanding the mechanics or story of that particular copy. Other times, there is a major necessity to have been following past installments to know what is going on. For Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, it's a bit of a mix. In terms of gameplay, it offers much of the same core mechanics from its processors. But for the sake of being able to jump into the current story and simply running with it, you would highly benefit from being caught up in not only the game series, but the entire story as a whole.
Luckily, that is one of the major selling points of this current edition. Everything is current. So current in fact, it even jumps ahead a bit, adding to the mystery of what’s to come. Jumping right into story mode, most will notice the small differences and subtleties added. The focus of story mode is about playing each episode as they come along. Not only will you romp around as Naruto, but Sasuke now plays a larger role; along with point-of-view battles as characters such as Tobi. This furthers our knowledge of characters that might rarely be highlighted.
Features such as this are made possible because the story of Naruto itself has developed. Somewhere down the line a macrocosm of events blew the series up and we’re now looking at the pinnacle of amazingness. And CyberConnect2 wanted to capitalize on the action, as evident in the gameplay.
Each battle is as interesting and epic as the last. Interactions between foes feel and look absolutely beautiful. In-fight mechanics are fantastic too; though the list of moves are largely the same, transitioning from move to move is smooth and reacts with needed precision to keep the pace of combos flowing. The speed of gameplay has also stepped it up a notch, giving players an extra boost of ability.
Being as this installment is the first to be available to next-gen consoles, it is visually stunning. The solid framerate allows for that fast and smooth pace, translated well for each attention-grabbing sequence. The details of each character are authentic to the original animation, from clothing design to the flames that encircle a fire-lit battle. Simply watching each battle is enough entertainment on its own.
It feels almost like being a little kid at Disneyland for the first time. You become this mesmerized, slack-jawed tyke with wide eyes and a runny nose. It’s all a spectacle. spread throughout multiple game modes and features. The main game mode takes roughly 12-15 hours to complete, depending on your skill level as well as your desired grade rank. What also runs the story along are the long cut-scenes that go with the current chapter. This can help new players some, but this ultimately caters to longstanding fans the most.
For those who want to venture outside the story, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 boasts a solid list of other modes available for play, mainly an adventure mode that takes place after the Shippuden plot as well as the popular online matches. As always, will be ever so important to find characters that fit your play style, so fortunately, the list of playable characters is vast, even leaving room to unlock a few more through achievements.
Another feature some might be excited to see is the ability to tag in your support characters as more than just a one-two combo assisting partner. With the flick of the right analog stick, changing between your supporting cast is quick and easy. The opportunity to chain together large combos and hits will heighten your awareness and selectiveness when forming the right team.
Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is certainly the best title to the series to date, and it is fitting for such a send off, not just as an anime genre fighter but a solid fighting game in general. While mostly tooled for Naruto fans, it does make a strong run at grabbing newcomers as well. Ultimate NInja Storm 4 gives us one hell of a show, and there is no doubt the show shall continue, albeit tailored for an unknown future.