It’s that little Ninja kid doing his thing, again…
Let’s be honest here. Much as I am a fan of Naruto’s antics, both before and after the Shippuden was added to the name, CyberConnect2’s videogames featuring the excitable Ninja really need to do something about the title. They are getting a bit long and it is becoming a bit of a joke. Can’t they just use numbers like other sequels?
Well, that would be making the assumption that the latest title is a sequel. As it happens, it isn’t. It is more of a side step in the series, trying out some new stuff. I guess they can keep the name after all…
In case you had missed it somehow, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is a fighting game, and it is based on the popular anime and manga series. Compared to other fighting games out there, the Naruto games have always fallen slightly on the “more fun than serious” side of the coin, and Revolution is no different, although a lot of effort has gone into balancing the game and making it more skill based.
The fighting itself is fairly easy to get the hang of, although very difficult to master thanks to the huge number of combinations and possibilities. This is quite handy as the game is devoid of any sort of tutorial, leaving the player to work things out for themselves if they happen to be new to the series. Whereas simple moves and combos are easily understood, all of the different Jutsu that can be performed in Revolution can get a little overwhelming.
Guard breaks and counter-attacks go a long way towards improving the balance in the game, which are limited moves relying on timing and opportunity to turn the tables on a foe. The choices when it comes to support are perhaps the most interesting addition to the gameplay. The player gets to choose from three different styles of support in the form of Ultimate Jutsu, Awakening and Drive. Drive will quite simply have your team do their best to defend the main character, whilst Awakening puts the main character into an awakened state from the start. Ultimate Jutsu is really exciting in that everyone on the team come together to perform an Ultimate Combo Jutsu, which is different depending on which characters are in the team. This becomes even more impressive when you consider the somewhat massive roster of nearly 120 characters to be unlocked in the game.
Of course, enhanced and improved gameplay means nothing without a nice selection of modes in which to play. Unlike the story mode in Full Burst, this time around the story is provided by the Ninja Escapades mode and is substantially shorter. In many ways, this could be seen as a good thing as without background knowledge of Naruto and the story lines to date, the story will be quite confusing to the new player. That being said, the stories found in Ninja Escapades are quite enjoyable, written especially for the game, if short-lived.
Ninja World Tournament will set the player free to explore Festival Island in an almost open world setting, collecting orbs to progress through the tournament and get their hands on all manner of unlockables. There is a lot of replayability here, with all manner of mini games and secrets to uncover. Interestingly, there is even a chance to create a clone of your fighter and send them out across the network to pop up in other players games, before bringing back rewards in the form of items or experience.
For many players though, online is where the action is, along with the total humiliation when the player realises they are not as good as they thought. There are some fun modes available and the matchmaking seems more competent than previously, but the game is let down by a certain amount of lag when things start getting really hectic in battle.
When it comes to the visual and audio side of the game, CyberConnect2 really couldn’t do any better. Everything is faithfully recreated to please the many Naruto fans out there, and the cut-scenes are, as always, a joy to watch. It may not have the epic feel of the previous game, but it is still hugely enjoyable to watch and listen to.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution may have a comically long name, but there is nothing comical about the game within. Whilst still maintaining a sense of fun, the long running series feels as though it is growing up and trying to compete with the more serious fighting games out there. It doesn’t quite make it as the changes are too small, but the enjoyable modes, massive roster of characters and abundance of fan service makes this quite possibly the best Naruto fighting game yet, and an essential purchase for Naruto fans.