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NARUTO Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 Review

Juan over at SwitchWatchTV worked himself to the bone to get this lovely review of NARUTO Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, and let me tell you, he wouldn’t do that for just anyone. He does it for you, the fans. Give that man some praise when you can! And to show more appreciation, check out his video review below or continue downward to read it here on SwitchWatch.co.uk.

Let me start off this review and cover questions for people who may have played this already, own it elsewhere, or want to know what this game has over the other consoles. It is a straight port, which includes the Road to Boruto expansion and the Next Generations DLC update pack, but otherwise nothing else. As many have not played this before, we will break it down like we normally do.

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STORY

If you watched my previous review, I very much enjoyed the trilogy of games all in one bundle. If you are a fan of NARUTO Shippuden, then it pays fantastic fan service and follows the story of the anime and manga series. It is told very well throughout these games. Here inpart 4 the series is wrapped up nicely. In terms of how the story is told in part 4, I have to voice my slight disappointment.

You see in the previous games a lot of the story was told through the characters interacting with each other throughout the game, which was fantastic. For some reason here, we get a bunch of what I can only describe as comic book type scenes with static pictures of the characters and voiceovers.

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Later in the game, there is more of what I expect, but for me it diminished the quality of the previous 3 titles that came before. Nevertheless, the story is still told fantastically well. The plot here begins with the Fourth Shinobi world war fought by the Allied shinobi forces where Naruto reveals the villain. There is a lot of story elements to break up the game rather than going from fight to fight which I very much enjoyed.

GAMEPLAY

If you have played any of the NARUTO Shippuden games, then you will know exactly what to expect here. Indeed, some of you may have already played this on another console.

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In NARUTO Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, the game’s mechanics have been tweaked, and there is the ability to wall run. Ultimate jutsus and awakenings are all present and can be shared between characters which are switchable in battle. If you are new to the series, this is a game where you get to fight other ninjas in an open 3D arena, but having an awesome story campaign to drive it, especially one based on the manga and anime, is fantastic. Here though you can fight 3-on-3 using the same health bar and swapping between characters during battle.

You have a massive amount of characters to choose from, too. 124 in total, which is massive, and all are easy enough to control to begin with which has always been one of this games highlights for me, as it makes the game nice and accessible.

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But don’t let that fool you. There is a level of depth here in the fights which takes a long time to master.

There are some many things to think about, and the battles are fast and furious. So while most casual players will get a grips within to finish the story, go online and you can get absolutely massacred by expert players, especially in ranked matches.

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Blocking, combo cancels, jumping at the right time, chakra dashes, using your subs, and guard breaks are all essential skills to master this game. Luckily, there is a practice mode. I have to admit I was properly rust having not played NARUTO Shippuden since playing the trilogy. Personally, I think that the fighting mechanics are the best here out of all the NARUTO Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm games.

Sometimes though, too much choice is not always a good thing, but there will be those that say the more the merrier. You could say that balancing is an issue, but again it also depends on the the team you choose if you are looking to play online. For me, I was more interested in the campaign and adventure mode.

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There are a number of modes to choose from, but many of you will of course start off with the story campaign, which is not going to take you much longer than 8 hours. Don’t forget, though, this game comes with the bundled DLC Road to Boruto, which has another 3 hours of story, a rather nice addition. Other modes such as adventure mode allow you to take part in missions, and depending on your rank it will allow you to unlock various cosmetic items which can also be used to decorate your characters for online play.

As always, the fighting is super fun here, and chakra plays a very important part, especially managing it. The blue bar is absolutely essential to your success. Keeping that blue bar as full as possible will make things a lot easier in battle. Jutsu techniques use power, and these attacks cause a lot of damage to your opponent. You can gain chakra by using a stance which leaves you vulnerable, so managing the gauge is all part of the game. Continually moving around the arenas is also essential, so you don’t get caught by your opponent’s attacks. The game plays very smoothly, melee attacks and combos feel and look awesome, and those jutsu attacks, whether ultimates or standard really are fantastic to witness.

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The use of other characters in your group is slightly different to the previous games. As mentioned before, you have the same health bar which some will like and others won’t. I didn’t mind it, but what is useful is having other characters on hand especially if there is a character which you want to use to pull off a certain move where you know will win the day.

It’s also about managing the resources at your disposal, because other characters in your party have separate meters such as the chakra bar so you can build one up and then sub them keeping them it in reserve for when you need them. You will need to use each character at the right time to win the day, and that’s not even talking about the special you can carry out as a team which is awesome. Subs allow you to teleport away from incoming attacks but are also limited, so again it’s all about the strategy.

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Once you complete the story and adventure missions, there are other modes too such as going online for competitive battles or just having a match against friends, and to be fair that’s how I prefer to play. I played online on PS4, and there are some amazing players that you will not get near. While I was not able to test online on the Switch, all of the same options are here.

You also have the opportunity to play against friends locally with the free battles options, which if you want you can play a tournament or even set up a league, which again is a fun distraction, but my interest was more in the campaign.

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For me if you didn’t like the previous entries in NARUTO Shippuden much, then this is probably not going to change your mind, as it’s much of the same and is a continuation of the story, which if you are a fan, you will enjoy this. People who have not played these games, I feel there is still plenty of fun to be had.

AUDIO

The audio here is excellent. The soundtrack is good throughout, which is most pleasing. Having the option to select the English or Japanese Dub was also nice. Some of the English acting is not the best I have heard, but for those that want it, the option is there. I quite liked listening to Japanese with the English subtitles.

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VISUALS & PERFORMANCE

NARUTO Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is very good on the Nintendo Switch. I always thought these games were rather beautiful with the cell-shading used and the vast amounts of effects on screen, especially within a battle.

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The special moves look incredible, and the particle effects added are better than the previous games, in my opinion. While this game is now over 4 years old, it still looks great. I am glad that the port on the Switch is very good indeed and runs for the most part smoothly at 30 FPS both in handheld and in docked mode. I was disappointed with how some of the story was told with a lot of static scenes used, but the art is still very good.

VALUE

The game is priced at £44,99 in the UK and $49.99 in the USA. As stated, you get around 12 hours of story, and this game brings the Ninja Storm series to a nice end. You also have online to play against your mates or randoms once you are done with the campaign which will give it some longevity, but if I were new to this game I would buy the trilogy which is the same price and gets you the 3 previous installments. Then you can see if this is your cup of tea.

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If you are the sort of player who enjoys single player campaigns but if you want to battle online and have the largest roster of characters and a decent online presence, then this will be the one to go for on Switch. I do have to also mention there is nothing extra for Switch owners, not even the inclusion of HD rumble, which was disappointing to say the least.

I would have preferred all 4 games in one package like on other consoles, but this is what we got.

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  • Story - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Gameplay - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Audio - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Visuals & Performance - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Value - 7.5/10
    7.5/10

Summary

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4: Road to Boruto is a very good game. You have all the characters to choose from that you could ever want, and this was lovingly created to please fans of the manga and anime. For that alone, it’s a winner. Some misgivings aside, such as the cut scenes and some balancing issues, it’s still a very fun game like the previous installments were, and if you have not had a chance yet to experience the Naruto universe, well now is your chance.

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Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10

Pros

  • Fun fighter
  • NARUTO!
  • Great modes

Cons

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  • No HD Rumble
  • Static cut scenes
  • Balancing issues
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