Upon starting the story mode of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution, titled Ninja Escapades, players are greeted with a message oddly reminding us that at certain points in the game we will have to, you know, pick up a controller and do some fighting. There’s a reason for that, too; the duration of the short story mode contains more dialogue and cutscenes than gameplay by an extremely wide margin. For Naruto fans this is probably something to welcome, considering that this mode is the equivalent of playing three episodes of the show. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, however, then you’re probably going to feel lost. I know I did, but despite that, I actually had a good time playing Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution.
Yes, you are reading a review from someone who cannot tell you a lick about the franchise, but what makes a game good isn’t recognition of what is happening on your screen, but rather simply being fun and presented well. In other words, while I didn’t really understand what was going on in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution, the battle system contested in a circular arena – similar to a Tales Of game – was complex enough to keep my interest.
It is essentially one-on-one gameplay featuring a buddy system of sorts, but what really surprised me is just how many characters there are to unlock and play as. The final count just actually might be over 100, which is absolutely insane for any fighting game. Even more impressive is that after doing some research – while I don’t know a damn thing about Naruto I do take my journalism and reviews seriously, and want to know what I’m talking about – a lot of the flashy finishing moves are reminiscent to how they would appear on the Anime. On a related note, if someone walked into your room and saw you playing this game, they would probably mistake it for an episode of the Anime. The cel-shaded animation, attacks, and voices are all that much on point.
There is one problem with having a roster of over 100, though, and that’s even with numerous tweaks in fighting styles, the core combat of many characters is going to feel the same. In that regard, I found myself pressing a lot of the same buttons regardless of how many different characters I tried out, only really interested in seeing their finishing moves. It really makes you question if 100 different fighters is necessary, despite how awesomely huge that number is.
Another area where Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is a bit of a disappointment is in its primary single player mode, Ninja World Tournament. Essentially, you pick a character and go through sequences of fights across multiple different difficulty classes. It’s similar to what you would expect from most fighting games, except that there is a mini open-world here where you can interact with other characters and complete side missions for them in favor of them joining you in combat. It’s really not that deep a feature and cannot mask how repetitive this mode ultimately gets after a while. None of it is voice acted, and all of the missions begin to repeat themselves not even hours into the mode.
The only thing separating Ninja World Tournament from other modes is that fights are not determined by depleting a health bar, but rather picking up orbs as you beat the snot out of your opponent. This actually felt really refreshing and quickly became my favorite thing about the combat in the game. In a strange way it almost felt like playing a Super Smash Bros. game but with Naruto characters. It’s just a shame that these mechanics exist in Ninja World Tournament and not the actual story mode.
Apparently, if you play enough of Ninja World Tournament you can unlock a secret bonus story chapter featuring Mecha Naruto. I didn’t make it that far, but it does seem like a fancy bonus for diehard fans of the franchise, especially considering that the special chapter comes complete with its own unique cutscenes and more.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution also contains some very basic online modes. It’s everything you would expect from a fighting game in 2014. There are leaderboards, in-depth statistics tracking and more. Most importantly, since this isn’t Cyber Connect 2’s first rodeo with Naruto games and complementary online modes, they know what they are doing, meaning that I had no stability issues when looking for matches.
Ultimately, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution could have benefited from more substance and an increased amount of polish. That said, its gameplay looks beautiful and feels like it was ripped straight from the Anime. Unfortunately, it just gets old after a while.
This review is based on a PS3 copy that was given to us for review purposes.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is an accurately flashy rendition of the Anime's stylized combat, but the single player modes get repetitive fast and leave something to be desired.