Game: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Reviewed on: PlayStation 3
Ultimate Ninja Storm: Revolution’s story elements are split between two modes – Escapades and World Tournament. The latter being the main story for the game itself, but funnily enough the most irrelevant to any Naruto fan. In terms of canon, this section of Revolution can be categorised as “filler” and just like its namesake, it is there to fill a gap, because you apparently can’t spend 15 years developing a story without some non canonical drivel.
So to break it down, there’s a tournament happening to prove who is the greatest, but before it begins Naruto stumbles on Mecha-Naruto and a body snatcher narrative ensues that is bound to make even the most Veteran Naruto fan roll their eyes. On the flip side, Escapades takes a deeper look at a few subjects that may have only been glanced over in the franchises anime and manga form, which can be vaguely interesting.
Graphically, you are treated to the same cell shaded style the series is known for. It is hard to be wowed by it, but is far from unattractive. In addition, it is always nice to see your favourite characters come to life in a way that 2D animation cannot always accomplish.
CyberConnect2 have catered for all in the sound department. I was pleasantly surprised by the ability to turn on Japanese voice acting and hear Junko Takeuchi shout the iconic phrase “Dattebayo”. At the same time, english dub watchers will find a familiar voice attached to the faces they love should they choose that option. The ability to customise the soundtrack at certain points via unlockable themes is also a welcome touch.
….and now onto the good stuff – gameplay. Revolution is a pretty straight forward fighter. Trademark simplified combos that require little more than mashing one button while holding a direction on your analogue stick and an emphasis on maneuverability (because ninjas do that kind of thing). It’s all very accessible even to those who are new to the series. Little tidbits of depth are scattered around the games combat system though and you can learn about these via the loading screen menus if you are are fast enough reader or via a little experimentation. The “substitution jutsu” ability for example gives you four chances to avoid your attacker and appear behind them. This simultaneously Pays homage to the subject matter and adds an extra layer to the defensive game.Other systems like “chakra dashing” (a simplified version of the focus attack dash cancel found in Street Fighter IV) and instant stuns, should you manage predict an opponent’s normal attack and “parry” keep things interesting enough. Street Fighter isn’t the only Capcom game Revolutionn seems to be inspired by either. Depending on the mode and style of play you choose (of which there are three), you can choose support characters to bring with you into battle. In “Drive” mode you can seal your opponent’s special attacks for a certain amount of time, call in support to make a certain attack safer or stronger. the other two fighting styles labeled “Ultimate Jutsu” and “ Awakening” allow you to take a play a more traditional game with a super move or awaken a more powerful version of your character respectively.
Each subsequent version of this title adds more and more versions of existing characters in addition to entirely new ones and Revolution is no different. The choice is expansive and gives you some freedom of expression in terms of playing style. It is at this point you start to realise Revolution does not skimp on options. Character customisation options a plenty (although only cosmetic), and a plethora of game modes give you more incentive to keep playing and unlocking items.
Your first stop will probably be the world tournament. Here a little spice is added to the usual fighting game formula, in that you have a whole island to explore inbetween bouts. As mentioned before there are two versions of this – Vanilla and bogus Mecha-Naruto versions, the latter being story driven. The prior works similar to an MMO, in that there are stores to acquire buffs and items to use in battle, while quests enable you to unlock characters and teammates to be used in and outside of this mode. Fights in this mode are split into a letter class system that gets progressively harder. The format for the fights, remind me somewhat of Power Stone, whereby four contestants smack each other like pinatas until orbs come out. The player with the most orbs wins. Pretty simple and also very fun with multiple players. (those who played Power Stone know what I’m talking about) To add a little variety, there are team versions of this too.
Other modes include standard vs mode, tournament, survival and league mode. All are pretty self explanatory. The newest feature added to Revolution is the ability to send out a “Network Clone”. Here you can modify any character you have unlocked with a set of skills that also need to be unlocked and send him out into the wild. There he/she will find their way into other player worlds, pick fights and hopefully level up or bring you back an item. It’s a decent meta game that is quite reminiscent of Nintendo’s Amiibo system.
There is a tonne of things to unlock here, from titles to abilities and characters, so if you want it all then you might be playing this game for some time. as it is the only way to get it all and some things can only be unlocked via certain modes.
Like any other fighting game, multiplayer is also an option, and always brings longevity to a game in a way that no AI player can. In a sense your time with this game could potentially be limitless. The story aspects on offer however, can be zoomed through in a few or more hours if you are so inclined.
This isn’t a particularly standout affair, it is good without really standing out too much. Naruto fans will relish the chance to play in Kishimoto’s world, while getting a few extra details you might not get in the anime. Those who are impartial can also find a little fun here without having to dig too deep.