Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 Review



I have been a huge Naruto fan for many years now. I started watching the series because a friend recommended it to me. I was a little late to the party, but after starting with the Rock Lee vs Gaara fight, I was hooked. The action, characters, special abilities, awesome music, great story and comedy made me a fan.

I went back to old episodes to catch up on what I missed, and could see why this series was getting so well known among the anime crowd. The series does have some faults though, mainly with the anime. They include many filler episodes to drag out the series, as the manga is now finished. Luckily enough if you do start this series (which I highly recommend), you can look up a guide to skip all filler episodes, as most of them are rubbish.



Even now nearing the end of the anime, it has been more fillers than actual episodes. I guess they're scared to end the series, so they are dragging it out as much as they can. One day it will finally finish though...maybe. If you don’t want to watch the anime, there is always the manga. No fillers, and it's great too! Personally, it's how I finished the series in the end.

WARNING...SPOILERS FOR THE NARUTO STORY UP TO THIS GAME LIE AHEAD!

The Naruto series is about a young boy called Naruto who has grown up with no parents. He is a outcast in the village as we find out a little later on that he has a very powerful monster in his body called the Nine Tail Fox. If Naruto loses control, it can come out and destroy the whole village. 

Naruto is a low level ninja, learning the way to become strong and powerful to achieve his goal of becoming Hokage (leader) one day. Unfortunately for Naruto he ain’t the smartest kid in the bunch and doesn’t have natural talent. He has to work very hard to accomplish learning any abilities, but this let’s you see that Naruto isn’t a push over. He is determined to become stronger, which makes him more likeable. 

To summarise, Naruto joins a team of other young ninjas and they go on many missions, growing stronger and feeling less alone by making bonds with many different ninjas in the village. 

Eventually we find out that Sasuke, one of Naruto team mates wants to get revenge on his brother who killed his whole family and clan, but to do this he has to become very strong. He won’t learn that in the village. So Sasuke leaves the village to be trained by a bad ninja called Orochimaru, but Naruto tries to stop Sasuke as doesn’t want to lose that bond he has with him. After an epic series of fights, Naruto loses to Sasuke, nearly killing him, thus failing at his mission to bring him home.

After a time skip, we find Naruto finally coming back to the village after training very hard to become stronger so he can bring Sasuke back to the village. Now with a new threat in the ninja world called the Akatsuki Naruto is being hunted down to take out the powerful nine tail fox from him to use it as a weapon along with the other ninja with the tailed beasts locked inside them. 

We find out Sasuke has been training hard too, finally confronting his brother and beating him, Itachi (Sasuke brother). All along wasn’t a bad guy but actually killed all the clan and his family to stop a war in the village saving Sasuke to give him a better future. When he finds this out Sasuke has a new mission to destroy the village who forced Itachi to kill all his loved ones and to be a bad guy in the eyes of the village. 

Many battles later and a fight along side his reanimated brother Sasuke is left confused what to do so he heads off to the village to find out from the previous hokages. This is where the game begins for Sasuke storyline. 

The rest of the ninja world has teamed up to fight the Akatsuki in the next big ninja war to protect Naruto and Bee (another tailed beast), and to stop them reaching their goal in controlling the whole ninja world with mind jutsu. 

Naruto at the end of the last game finally joined the war to fight and defeat the threat after training and becoming very powerful. We left off at the main bad guys mask being ripped off to reveal who it is, but I won’t say as it is revealed in this game. 



Story

I won’t say much about the story as that's the whole point of the game, but it is a faithful version of the manga. The story takes place where we left off with Naruto and the ninja alliance in the great war against the Akatsuki trying to stop their plan from controlling the world. With a few twists and turns, the story gets you involved with the characters and does a good job of showing the story in some of the best cutscenes yet for the series. Even though it does a great job telling the story, I wouldn’t tell someone to jump into the game if they're not familiar with Naruto as they will be confused.

This game is great for fans that have watched the series for many years, allowing them to finally see the ending of Naruto. It goes from the mid way of the war all the way to the end of the manga. What's great also is that if you haven’t been watching the anime lately, it doesn’t contain any fillers and just tells you what you want to know.



Gameplay

Gameplay is roughly the same as the previous games, just more refined and faster. They have taken out in the main storyline the ability to run to each area to start the fighting, making it flow quicker as I personally didn’t like that in the last game. However, I wish they did bring back the open world of the village, as seen in the first game. It was fun to explore around the village and discover more from the series.

In Adventure Mode for people who did like running from A to B, it makes a return in lots of little missions what just give you little bit more insight to the story but not much to have to play it. 

Story mode consists of about an 8-10 hour campaign with many great cutscenes and straight-to-the-action gameplay. This time it is handled a little different, with 2 lines of story- the Sasuke story arc and Naruto's, plus a little bit from side characters too which made feel more refreshing than the previous games. Whenever you felt a different change of character, you could always change to the other story and complete that section and then go back to carry on both stories. 

This time also your support characters are actually playable during the fights, a quick flick to left or right on the right analog stick will let you switch to that character for rest of that fight and can be changed back any time you wanted. This allowed the fights stay fresh and give you variety if one character started feeling stale for you like it did a little in the last game. 

In the last game, it felt like the battles weren’t too much trouble, and also it felt a little slow. I'm happy to say that this time the AI is bit better and the battles are a lot faster and flashier, making the fights more interesting and fun to play. The enemy now comes at you faster and more deadly, keeping you on your toes. In the last game, most of the time you just punch little then do a jutsu and repeat until you win, but I found in this one, I was using more of my abilities, dodging more and looking for openings, which made the fights more exciting. 

Along with the support characters and switching on the fly, you're able to use substitution jutsu when getting attacked to make a piece of wood take your place. This allows you to counter from behind. However, this has a limit though and can only be used 4 times before it needs to be replenished again. This makes you think more wisely when to use them, dodge or block. 

When attacking, you have a few choices; projectile weapon to try keep our opponent at bay, combo attacks varying in many different ways and jutsu attacks which create substantial damage depending which one you use. This makes the combat a nice mix of gameplay and fun to the very end as every enemy is different. 

Awakening makes a return too what allows you to unleash your most powerful jutsu, making you a foe to not be reckoned with, but this doesn’t happen so easily and more of last resort thing in heat of the battle. 

The battles also have gotten more cinematic, making for some very huge fights behind giant beasts and epic encounters with the enemy. These moments do make look amazing, and you really feel a part of them. 

On top of Story Mode and Adventure, we have online fights and local. This allows you truly to test your fighting skills with some of the best around the world with you favourite characters from the series. These will really put your skills to the test. I tried a few online matches and found that it was completely different. You've got to time your openings well and utilise your defensive skills to get the upper hand. 



Graphics and sound

The graphics this time round are even better than ever looking exactly like the anime and making some epic fights which feel like playing the anime. Each fight has a lot of special effects, making them more exciting to play. The epic moments of the game make this the best Naruto game i have played to date and the most gorgeous. 

Every character looks exactly how they should be and every area looks great too. The cutscenes are excellent, not on same level as the anime when telling the story, but great for the game.

The lip sync is sadly off, but this has been the way since the first game, so I think never be fixed.

It utilises some great sound, allowing for some fantastic effects which brings the world to life, whilst giving it the authentic anime feel. As an added bonus, all the English voice actors from the anime are here.

Last Appeal

Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 will last you about 8-10 hours in Story Mode, with a few hours more for Adventure Mode and however long you like with online matches.

Final Verdict


Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is a great game for Naruto fans which makes you feel like your playing the anime. It's also a decent length and faithful to the source. 

It is my favourite Naruto game to date but sadly it is likely the last one to come out for a while now that the story is over, unless a new company re-tell the story. 

If you aren't a fan of the series or even know about Naruto, I can’t recommend this game as it is at the end of the story and you'll be confused about what is going on and who is who. But if you love Naruto and want to play through the awesome fights, then this game is perfect for you. 

I give Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 - 8/10.







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