A Ninja Storm Legacy.
There sure are a lot of Naruto games. So much in fact I lost track of the series a long time ago. Never having been a fan of the anime, the games were really my only window into the series. Sure it has a long and fabled legacy, but what I enjoyed about the games was their combination of open-world exploration and in-depth fighting mechanics. The latest release packs four games into one massive collection, and while there is a lot to see here, the similarities between each entry are hard to discern for those that did not play them religiously.
Being able to watch a lineage of games unfold in one package is certainly novel. Witnessing the advances made from game-to-game and seeing what was kept and removed is intriguing. Fans of both the anime and game series are in for a treat as they watch the evolution of each entry.
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $59.99
Ultimate Ninja Storm
Anyone thinking they are going to get the entirety of the Naruto legacy in one game is wishful thinking. The first game in the series is by far the roughest of the bunch, but it also might be the most ambitious. The story mode plays out in open-world fashion with plenty of traversal and NPCs to talk to. While this feels like a good vehicle to tell Naruto’s story, it is marred by poor design and plenty of empty space.
The fighting is also the most rudimentary of the series. Of course, to be fair this is the first entry so depth was sure to expand in sequels. Even in its simplicity though it still feels good. Managing items and my Chakra meter are really the only depth to be found. It is still fun though.
Ultimate Ninja Storm 2
The second game in the series ditches the open world for a more streamlined approach to the story. It also doesn’t cover nearly as much ground as the first game, but it does it in a tighter, more succinct fashion. The fighting feels largely similar to the first game, with more of a focus on Jutsu moves. These are essentially super moves. The second game does improve on most of the first one’s shortcomings and feels like a solid sequel overall.
Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
This entry feels like the definition of the penultimate episode of a TV series – focusing more on lighthearted moments in the Naruto story and a little less on large, over-the-top action sequences. Again more tweaks to the formula are made, and specific issues ironed out. I am glad to see the progression of the series was not just a copy/paste mentality. Fighting is still the most fun part of the game by far.
Ultimate Ninja Storm 4
The final game in the series is the most refined. It also benefits from being the first game on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, so the fidelity is the best by far. The conclusion to the series continues to refine what makes it appealing. The fighting still feels great, if not a bit shallow. It was fun seeing the evolution of the franchise in one package.
It is hard to argue the value here. I have always enjoyed the Ultimate Ninja Storm games even without knowledge of the source material. The fighting is fun and the stories are always over-the-top madness. This package delivers hours of fun and a solid look into the lore of Naruto.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.