Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution

Say Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution again, I double dare you.

By Daavpuke, Posted 24 Sep 2014

Accessibility may be at the core Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution through a simplified battle element, but it’s a game that’s hard to market regardless. For one, it has that ridiculous title. More importantly, its source material draws a specific crowd of anime fans and all of the above repels everyone else. And yet, there’s more to this shallow fighter than at first appears.

Since this is a yearly release, crafted from the same anime series each time, Naruto has had ample time to get its visuals finely tuned. Admittedly, the smooth, self-colored characters and speedy animations are some of the game’s best qualities, certainly when it’s paired with cartoon effects, dust clouds and bright orange explosions. Sadly, the same can’t be said for more barren environments in a world with some populace, which can be explored freely. There are frequently new things to discover, but given how monotone locations are, it doesn’t stay fresh for long.

Voice work is available both in English and Japanese, though the prior does the characters no justice. Dubbing just doesn’t fit the model, nor does it sync up with the cinematic content, which can ruin spontaneous scene changes. It’s best to keep it as authentic as possible to really feel as if this is a living animation universe.

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution,Review,Steam,Fighting,Anime

Perhaps the pinnacle of the game’s silken display would be a mode dedicated to special anime chapters, chopped up with interactive content. These tales chain together clips, while handing over the reins when it comes to fighting. It’s doubly effective in giving players the pivotal position of power, as it is a great way to rope in others who wouldn’t usually watch an episode.

Naturally, Naruto also has plenty of regular fighting modes, though its crowning achievement here is the multi-tiered Ninja World Tournament, along with a separate act that presents a new character, Mecha-Naruto. For the latter, progression will be story-based, while the former is more of an open exploration approach. During a tournament, it’s possible to take on auxiliary missions for more cash and content. Objectives can vary from fetch quests to fights to timed events. There’s a ton to do, which distracts from the otherwise drab surroundings. Sure, it’s possible to just straight up ram through the qualifiers and stages of the contest, but that would sidestep tons of quirky characters and whimsical situations.

There is a slight disadvantage to meandering though, as tons of caches around the locales can yield their own items and money. Ultimately, it’s possible to cripple the economy otherwise needed to purchase consumables for fights. By having resources around everywhere, also respawning constantly, it’s never needed to conserve bigger items. Even with ample shopping sprees, it’s highly unlikely that items will run out.

Additionally, new elements get added with nearly every event. Sure, it’s a welcome and satisfying payoff to a job well done, but it’s also a tad overwhelming and impossible to keep track of, even with all the menus to do so. Some of the magic of gaining a new character or a hip mask to customize fighters with is lost in the sea of prompts, endlessly showing new loot. It’s a great problem to have, but it’s a foible regardless.

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution,Review,Steam,Fighting,Anime

Fights themselves follow the one-button antics the Naruto series has known and loved for ages now. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. There is one prompt for strikes and one for ranged attacks, complimented with a directional cross for consumables to cripple others or bolster characters. With Chakra power thrown in, this can further branch off into stronger attacks that eat at a gauge. Alternatively, it’s possible to use up most of that fuel for a special, which can also make use of support characters, otherwise called to action for a blow or two of their own.

When activating this jutsu madness, a successful hit will trigger a quickly captured animation. This is the savory nugget of the Naruto game. Getting to see an enemy eat an elaborate move, complete with shattering rocks and colossal fireballs, that’s that “oomph” moment that fighters live for. Some characters go the extra mile on the mayhem as well, with as much as a giant cannon being aimed at enemies. No quarter is shown.

Regularly, it’s equally possible to just stick to altering combos to either gain verticality or cancel out strings to chain together more damage or dodge out of the way in 4-way battles. When caught at range, a chakra dash can both evade most projectiles and momentarily stun opponents with a shove, leaving a short window of opportunity. In turn, defensive moves allow for speedy dodges or the vital substitution justu that teleports the fighter to an advantageous position for a price. These quick shifts are available in a segmented bar, but running out of juice there can be deadly. Once caught in a pummel avalanche, the chance for a hard hitting special is never far off.

So, while it may seem superficial, there is certainly more challenge to the fighting mechanism than it seems. Rather than combinations and skillful inputs, Naruto is completely about split second precision and decent positioning. Just an inch too far away when dashing will miss the opponent on the first strike, leaving them to recover and initiate a destructive counter. Getting caught up in a hit string takes place across an extended period of time, which increases a sense of total helplessness.

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution,Review,Steam,Fighting,Anime

Finding out the more intricate parts though, that’s a job for the online community. With several ways to fight, from loose bouts to entire leagues, online matchups are where the breezier aspects of Naruto fades and the serious power play starts. Choosing the wrong support can be devastating, opting for an attack type against a more defensive one may lead to vulnerabilities. In general, just not being completely on point with what appears to be similar move sets will be followed by a refreshing dose of reality. The online community knows how to play and each swipe is dealt with precision.

There are a few drawbacks here too though. Lobbies are confusing and it’s never certain how long a pairing takes. More importantly, fighting in less optimal settings is an immediate death sentence, as the screen cuts away with a buffering line all the time, which is impossible to live through, given the detail required to do well in the game.

Still, when on a good connection, online battle is the test of all tests of skill and it’s not particularly that shameful to lose a ton either. Periodically, it’s possible to catch up with an online clone that can be personalized and sent to other player’s Ninja World Tournaments, like Pawns in Dragon’s Dogma. They return with items for even more customization, so that each fighter can be outfitted with paper fans, frog faces and plenty of strange dolls. Calling cards can be further altered with titles and depictions. There are just oodles of things waiting to be exhumed by playing more rounds.

Just like its huge name exudes in presence, Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution has a lot of goodies to offer for those who can switch complex fighting designs for precision mechanisms. Splendid animations and ample side objectives can keep the enthusiasm going for quite some time and so can all the customization options or the online play. There are definitely tough pills to swallow in the bland scope and network quirks, but it’s luckily not quite able to ruin the final product.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed (@Daavpuke)

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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher(s): Bandai Namco Games
Developer(s): CyberConnect2
Genres: Fighting
Themes: Action, Anime
Release Date: 2014-09-16

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