Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 on PlayStation 4
Games based on anime don’t always have the best runs. Between balancing fan-service and trying to deliver something fresh and unique, the developers always have their work cut out for them. This is often times doubly true when dealing with a very popular property. Hands are often tied when it comes to just how crazy you can get, and it doesn’t always work out well. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is the latest in a long line of games that has tried to accomplish that goal. The question on everyone’s mind is if it actually succeeded.
Taking place at the end of Naruto’s quest, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 throws players into the center of the fourth Great Ninja War. The evil forces behind the previous games have finally shown their faces, and new powers threaten not only the Shinobi way, but the entire world. Normally in a fighting game, this behind the scenes narrative doesn’t have too much of an effect on the game. Rather, it is used to give you some sort of incentive to continue on to the last fighter.
But in Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, the story transforms the way in which the game is played, specifically the story mode. You still have the anime cut-scenes and splash photos you’d expect between matches, but now fights have tiers that break up the type of action. Huge boss fights that are a mixture between dynamic combat and QTEs, battles against hordes of enemies, and shooting segments (seriously) help to break up the monotony of your standard fighting game.
The QTEs may sometimes leave a bit to be desired (although they do unlock amazing scenes that further the story), but the rest is implemented very well. The shooter segments don’t sound like they’d fit the world of Naruto or your typical fighting game very well, but actually add to the grandeur of some of the larger boss battles. Flying through the are as Susano’o blasting at a Tailed Beast is fun thanks to the constant threats thrown at you and the sense of urgency.
Not all boss fights are relegated to these rail shooters, though. In the middle of a match, you may find yourself facing down a giant or the threat of a huge, world destroying attack. Gameplay switches it up here by either allowing you to become some sort of giant yourself or throwing down special weapons into the arena for you to use. The same can be said about the hordes of enemies as you find yourself fighting hundreds (at one point even thousands) of enemies on the screen.
All of these events are bolstered by beautiful visuals that do an amazing job of filing your screen with bright lights and huge effects. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is absolutely stunning. The speed at which the fights break out, the in-engine cut-scenes, and the hundreds of unique attacks do the series a lot of justice.
Of course, the story mode isn’t the entire game. There are your basic versus, tournament, survival, and practice modes. But one of the more interesting modes is the Adventure mode. Adventure takes place after the events of the main story and you’re allowed to walk around many of the signature locations from the manga/anime. Yet although it takes place after the main events, there are over 50 classic fights that can be found and participated in.