Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is an enjoyable game that directly contradicts its nature by the use of a six word title. The idea of a sequel to this game is frightening to say the least, so for the purposes of this review it’ll be referred to as Naruto Shippuden. Playing out as a fast-paced fighting game that places it’s focus on team-based battles, Naruto Shippuden carries a real sense of weight, adrenaline, and intensity to it and is by all means addictive.
Naruto Shippuden welcomes the player with an extensive horde of battle options, and it clearly favours to it’s fans with it’s use of exciting and flashy animated menus that have Naruto screaming through each. With seven different game modes to play in all providing additional options within them there’s certainly a lot to take part in. Catering largely to it’s already established audience however, newcomers are left browse in the hopes they’ll stumble across the game’s mains story mode. And this where the problem lies.
The Ninja World tournament mode is as good a guess as any, but one wouldn’t know through the title alone. Free to play battles branch off in to a section of league, practice, Versus and Tournament, but who’s to know the difference from the Ninja World Tournament and the regular free play variation. Ninja world tournament seems to be where the heart of the game is.
"Naruto Shippuden welcomes the player with a horde of options to do battle in and caters in favour and excitement with it's flashy and animated menus."
Playing out in an RPG-like fashion whereby players take part in a tournament using a character of their choosing, they register their character and qualify for the finals working their way up to gain the highest ranks and prizes. When not taking part in battle however, players are free to roam the lands outside the arena, where they can purchase items.
This is where the money earned from the tournament can be used to purchase items such as recovery potions and what is essentially battle perks, from merchants stationed within the world. Ninja world tournament also does well in being distinct from the other modes in the game by incorporating battle specific terms, rules and regulations. Whereby certain criteria must be met in order to win the battles rather than just pummelling your opponent in to a loss.
While players are free to play out similar game modes through the game’s free-play section, it’s here where the game shines and where players will most likely spend the majority of their time unless competing with other players. The other variation of tournament mode the Mecha-Naruto story, is something in particular that I imagine fans of the series will also get a kick from, as it serves as exclusive content containing fifty minutes of unseen footage, created specifically for the game.
"Ninja world tournament also does well in being distinct from the other modes in the game by incorporating battle specific terms, rules and regulations."
As previously said, the Ninja world tournament also makes use of a RPG system, and this is done through its use of items and small durations of free roaming outside the initial tournament. While this feels like it was designed in fan favor it really doesn’t feel quite necessary and on a personal note I would have just preferred a menu system, just to stay on path for the upcoming battles, without having to wonder the world and talk to NPCs that have nothing useful to add to the game.
Naruto Shippuden carries a strong sense of requirement regarding the characters and the lore of it’s universe. As someone who knows little to nothing about Naruto or his affiliates within the game, other than some strange power regarding a nine-tail fox and a grey-haired ninja with a chip on his shoulder, I felt a little lost.
The game is clearly catered towards it’s fans and while this isn’t necessary a bad thing, diving in to the game’s ninja escapades mode my enjoyment only came from it’s character design, lengthy entertaining cut-scenes, and gameplay. The game’s lore may have nothing in common with other anime but regarding the structure of the game and the way in which gameplay works, it’s feels near impossible not to make comparisons between Namco Bandai’s DragonBall Z games.
"As previously said, the Ninja world tournament also makes use of a RPG system, and this is done through its use of items and small durations of free roaming outside the initial tournament."
The difference in terms of structure however is that Naruto seems to do more in terms of fan favor such as more choices of battles, a gigantic quantity of characters, and never before seen content which is essentially shortened TV episodes exclusive to the game. Gameplay however, feels almost identical when looking back on the DragonBall Z Tenkaichi games.
This is largely down to the size of the game’s arenas and the way in which players are free to navigate and attack their opponents from distance, as well as button layout and mechanics. It should be said that the battles do play out slower and don’t go over the top with the speed and intensity of the battles.
Battles are fast-paced just not to the extent of DragonBall Z, and this makes sense in terms of the Naruto universe and the way characters fight and interact from the TV series. This is also where similarities end, and restrict the game from becoming a game of copy and paste re-skinning.
There’s no denying the enjoyability that can be had from the game but the requirement of background knowledge which can be gained from reading some of it’s books or playing previous games feels like a must. The good news here however is that if you do enjoy the entertainment that forms from it’s cut-scenes and character interactions, going back on previous games will feel all the more enjoyable and well deserved. The large roster of characters in the game is something of a marvel.
"Gameplay however, feels almost identical when looking back on DragonBall Z's Tenkaichi series of games. "
Spanning to around one hundred characters with a large majority already unlocked from the start, and the rest attainable from completing events within the game, progress is something to be awarded. Characters such as Kiba, Shino, Sasuke, Neji, and Rock Lee make an appearance with plenty more to follow such as The Fourth Kazekage and character variations such as the Nine-tailed transformation of Naruto.
There’s plenty to choose from. Where the game expands upon it’s character selection lies within the it’s different customization presets and it’s selection of fighting styles which each character contains changing their skill settings and player styles when taking part in battle. These are known as Ultimate Jutsu, Awakening, and Drive.
Other game modes that lie within the free play section do well to provide options for players who wish to tone up their skills or experience something different from the tournament based battles, that are subject to random battle-specific conditions.
With free play mode further branching down in to a survival mode, practice battle, league mode, and a local versus mode, there’s certainly a lot to experience. These game modes cater more to the player’s own input and decisions by providing multi-team battles, as well as tag team and eight player battles, which can be played both locally and online.
"Where the game expands upon it's character selection lies within the it's different customization presets and it's selection of fighting styles which each character contains changing their skill settings and player style when taking part in battle."
The benefits of playing in these team-based battles is the role in which additional players provide to the battles. Similar to the Marvel Vs Capcom series, characters provide leader and supporting roles in which they can interrupt or join the battle.
Teaming certain characters with one another provide special character specific attacks that other combinations may not provide, or differ in another way. The game carries a real sense of customization throughout everything it does and this keeps battles from feeling stale.
As touched upon previously the gameplay is best described as something similar to that of Namco Bandai’s DragonBall Z Tenkaichi games. Buttons are mapped to character states and attacks, that play out differently depending on the combination in which it’s triggered in reference to how much power your character contains.
This power is known as Chakra and is gained from holding down the corresponding button in order to raise it’s gauge. Depending on how far the player raises it will give different use cases and deliver a certain amount of damage upon his or her opponents. Chakra can be used for faster movement, counter attacks, special attacks, range based attacks through the means of ninja shurikens, and teleportation to be used as a means of dodging.
" The game carries a real sense of customization throughout everything it provides and this keeps battles from feeling stale."
Known as Jutsu these special moves play out differently in regards to how much chakra the player has, and can also be combined for a team based assault where by special moves are combined in order to destroy your opponent. These Jutsu attacks play out like a shortened cut-scene using camera angles that one might recognize from the TV series.
What’s good about these is that they’re not subject to certain times or conditions within the battle, if you have the power then use it. These never get old and are entertaining to watch. This also feels satisfying and raises a feeling of intensity.
All of this combined it makes the game all the more enjoyable considering the learning curve is fairly low. Where this learning curve changes however is through the adjustment of difficulty, which ranges from super easy right up to very hard based on a scale of five levels. This makes practice all the worth while as well as enjoyable in delivering a sense of progression to keep the player engaged.
Ranging to around forty backgrounds to do battle upon Naruto Shippuden provides more than enough fan favourites to keep players satisfied. Orochimaru’s Hideout, Samurai Bridge, the Sulphur stone temple, and the Hidden Sand Gate are just a few of what the game has to offer. With variations of these arenas also available to rage war in, each battle can feel very distinctive and different from the last.
"This also feels satisfying and raises a feeling of intensity and it makes the game all the more enjoyable, considering the learning curve is fairly low."
The only issue I find with these levels is that the game doesn’t do enough in terms of interaction, other than certain levels containing drop off points where by the player would fall to a lower level. It feels like more could have been done here and would be something to think upon should there be any future titles.
Character customisation mode is used to set up presets that can be chosen from the character selection screen. From here you can equip different character items and accessories to use in battle as well character specific finishing attacks.
While the game embraces many items and accessories to effect the course of the duration of battle, this are best thought of as perks. I only wish the game did more with them however as I they where never something I really needed or relied upon in regards to my own skills and time spent practising.
Naruto Shippuden is visually relatable to that of it’s TV series. Using similar colour tones and traditional anime style graphics Naruto Shippuden isn’t something that’s here to be visually ground breaking, it’s here to replicate what’s shown through its television series, and it succeeds on that front.
" It feels like more could have been done here and would be something to think upon should there be any future titles."
Produced through a 720p resolution at a frame rate of thirty, input felt a touch slow at times and the reasoning for a higher frame rate or resolution doesn’t appear to be anything out of the consoler’s reach. A frame rate of sixty would have been very much appreciated, especially in a fighting game where it’s gameplay moves a reasonably fast rate and input time is crucial.
The only other issue I have with the game lies in it’s neediness. Over blown loading screens that swarm the player in paragraph size hints and tips on how to play the game, that are never fully read before the game actually loads up. This should have never been incorporated considering the game’s pause menu simplifies all of this within it’s character command list. It looks flashy but it’s pointless.
Naruto Shippuden has a few short comings but none of which are truly game breaking or disrupting from it’s enjoyability. While fans will no doubt have fun with the game regardless, it’s going to take quite a substantial amount of effort for newcomers to reap the enjoyability for what the game contains. And while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Naruto Shippuden as a starting point, it has shown me what an interesting an entertaining set of characters and a possible story may exist within it’s universe.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Immense and exciting combat that provides endless hours of entertainment with many choices for battles.
Fairly stale battle arenas and rare cases of input lag are minor nuances for what is essentially an enjoyable game.
Naruto Shippuden does it have it's issues but none of these are harmful to enough to restrict the excitement that the game delivers on. Had more been done with the use of battle arenas, Naruto Shippuden could've delivered on something that's truly great.
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