Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja STORM 4, the latest and potentially the last Ultimate Ninja STORM game, released earlier this month. Developed by Cyber Connect 2 and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, this game follows in the tradition of the Ultimate Ninja STORM franchise.
Ultimate Ninja STORM 4 has a variety of different modes including Story, Adventure, Collection, Online Battle, and Free Battle. Story Mode contains the final arc of Naruto Shippuden, Adventure Mode is a post game story that has you traveling the world as Naruto, Collection shows the items and costumes you've earned, and Online and Free Battle are multiplayer modes. The Story mode progresses from fight to fight with cutscenes and dialogue in-between to fill in any missed details. This method allows you to experience only the biggest fights of the series saving you time where you might otherwise have to be getting from fight to fight. Each fight allows you to pick up to three characters, one to control and up to two to have as support. For the first time in Ultimate Ninja STORM 4 you are able to swap between controlling these characters at will allowing you to change your play style depending on your opponent. A lot of the fighting will happen at a close range but with the fast paced attacks you will really get the feeling you're watching a fight from the anime. Depending on what team you have selected for your fight you can also execute Special Team Jutsu. If you have a team that has no ties with one another like Killer Bee, and Kiba then they will perform a regular Special Jutsu. If you were to group up Naruto and Killer Be, you will get a special animation based on the attack. There are even some special Jutsu that are only available based on who you are fighting. For every battle you fight across all game modes you will earn Ryo and Ninja Items, a currency specific to the collection shop.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja STORM 4 opens where the last game ended in terms of the Story. Naruto and Bee have just arrived at the battlefield and are fighting Obito and the reanimated Madara Uchiha. If you have read the manga then you will already know what to expect and if you're watching the anime then playing this game will spoil the ending of the story for you. After the Story mode when you're in Adventure there is an overworld that you're able to walk through. The Story Mode is ultimately quite short, especially compared to the Story Modes of previous titles, but the benefit of this is that there isn't any filler content and focuses on hitting the main points of the arc. There isn't too much replayability built into this mode but that's where the Adventure Mode adds a bit of length.
You will receive quests in Adventure Mode that will sometimes prompt Naruto into a fight, ask for an item or send him on a delivery. These quests will get you exploring the world, but none of these quests add too much to the experience. It is also during Adventure Mode that you will be able to relive some of the big fights from earlier in the series. This is a fantastic way to change up the almost stale formula of fighting games based off long anime. With each new Naruto game the story gets a bit longer, and you normally have to start at the beginning of the story. Ultimate Ninja STORM 4 allows you to get to the fights you want first, and then you can complete older fights after. There is a downside to this method, if you aren't as enthused with playing fights from Naruto's past then the Story could seem extremely short to you.
As with the other entries in the franchise Ultimate Ninja STORM 4 maintains style of cel-shading that has been present in all titles in the series. Each of the characters look faithful to their manga counterparts and their moves have also been recreated to look and act just as you would expect. The similarities between the cel-shading and the look of the characters from the manga allows the player to feel immersed.
It's not just the looks of the game that Cyber Connect 2 have down either as the sound effects used in the game are on point to their anime counterpart. Ultimate Ninja STORM 4 has both Japanese and English voice acting so whenever you want you're able to freely swap between the two. This is a nice touch to accommodate those who are used to one but not the other. All of the sounds of attacks, and background music are also taken from the show so nothing ever feels out of place.
The multiplayer modes in Ultimate Ninja STORM 4 are both local and online. Using the characters you unlock in the story and from the collection store in local multiplayer you and a friend can create a team and battle it out with various settings. The only limitations on character selection is that you can't choose multiple of the same character for a single team. This would mean that Naruto Sage mode couldn't be on a team with Naruto Nine Tales mode. The online mode allows you to face off against ninjas from all over the world. The multiplayer mode works well and you're usually able to get matched up fairly quickly. While playing online, depending on your internet of course, there seems to be minimal lag allowing for a fun and competitive experience.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja STORM 4 takes all of the elements that you enjoyed from prior titles and give you an updated roster, an improved combat system, and most importantly the end of the Naruto Shippuden story line. Though the Story and Adventure Modes might leave you wanting a bit more the fun and fast paced multiplayer makes this a great combat game to add to your collection.
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja STORM 4 was reviewed on a PlayStation 4 with a code provided by the publisher. It is also available on Xbox One and PC via Steam.
A great end to the story and a fun Naruto themed fighting game that fans won't want to miss out on. Even if Naruto isn't your thing I would still say it's worth a try.