That’s a whole lottttttttaaaaa ninjas!
It feels like a lifetime ago that I played the first Naruto game by Cyberconnect2. I remember being blown away by the visuals and its unique take on how a battle between two ninjas should look and feel like.
Still, it was nothing more than a foundation for what I hoped would become the marquee licensed fighting game to set the bar for others to come.
Unfortunately, as I revisit the series anew in this sequel, it hasn’t quite shaped up to become everything that I hoped.
Platforms: PS3, X360
Multiplayer: Online multiplayer
Demo Availability: N/A
Voice Acting Selection: Both JPN and ENG voices.
Played: 10 hours.
Those who played a Ninja Storm game in the past will be immediately familiar with the flow of combat and basic mechanics present in Revolution.
Those who’ve never played or even seen a title in this series will be happy to know that the combat is incredibly fast paced and flashy, as is suitable for a battle between two ninjas.
Most of the combos are done by holding a direction and pressing one single button over and over again, so there’s no real need to learn complex button combinations.
While that seems excessively simple and boring, there are other techniques like substitution, staggers, chase and more which add many layers to an otherwise simple combat engine.
There are also three different modes each character can be played in: Ultimate, Awakened and Drive. The Ultimate mode allows for the execution of incredibly powerful attacks, while Awakened and Drive allow for power ups to normal attacks and other unique advantages.
Put that together with the over one hundred character roster and there’s an immense amount of variety here.
As far as the modes of play, there are the standards such as training and multiplayer (local/online), but on the single player front, the highlight is clearly the Ninja Escapades episodes.
These brand new story segments feature plenty of fully animated cut scenes that explore a side story not told within the original manga.
To be able to see the relationship between Itachi and his close friend Shisui and watching the formation of the Akatsuki was quite interesting, and I was thoroughly impressed by the production values presented in these short episodes.
It’s unfortunate that the Ninja Escapades are over too soon, and all that’s left at that point is the rather boring Ninja Tournament Mode.
It tasks the player to pick their favorite character and puts them on the path to challenging increasingly difficult ranks of tournament fights.
The big twist here is that many of the battles take place against three others, instead of the typical one on one duels, and the various mechanics of the combat simply do not work very well in this setting.
Whether I was trying to lock on to different characters on the fly or getting interrupted by ranged attacks from opponents off the screen, I did not have fun playing the group battles at all.
The nail in the coffin was the inability to use the Ultimate Jutsus, which to me are a highlight of the overall experience.
The Ninja Storm games haven’t seen much change over the years, and while the title would have you believe that this is a “Revolution” for the series it’s certainly nothing of the sort.
Instead, it’s a lot more of the same coupled with one of the biggest rosters in fighting game history, with a few small twists to mix things up a little. This is by no means a bad thing for those who enjoy this solid, albeit tired formula, but I can’t help but ponder when the true revolution for this series will take place.
Fun Tidbit – I’m not kidding about how insanely awesome the visuals and animation styling of this game is. Just go to YouTube and search “Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution All Ultimate Jutsu” to see for yourself!
Review copy of game provided by publisher.