Review: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution (PS3)

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Title: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (7.4 GB)
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: CyberConnect2
Original MSRP: $49.99
ESRB Rating: T
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is also available on Xbox 360.
The PlayStation 3 disc version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
The game itself is broken up into four distinct game modes which include: Ninja World Tournament, Online Battle, Ninja Escapades, and Free Battle. As you play through each game mode, particularly the Ninja World Tournament and Ninja Escapades, the items, experience, and other player characters are carried with you into the other modes.

I’ve never watched the Naruto anime, read the manga, or played a Naruto game before (except for maybe one hour of Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm). Compared to that, this game is completely different in that it is set up to give you access to many different characters. Also, Revolution seems geared towards allowing you to play as many different characters without going too far into their story or background.

The Ninja World Tournament portion of the game is where I’ve spent the most of my time. After a quick introduction, you are guided to a character selection screen to choose from several of the characters in the Naruto universe. From the start, several incarnations of Naruto are available as well as several other characters. I started the game as basic Naruto, and the game took me on a small boat to an island where the Ninja World Tournament takes place.

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The island itself seems to be not very big. There’s one main starting area where you can run around and collect items that are lying around on the beach, break boxes, and collect floating packages that are suspended in the air by a parachute. The very first time you boot up the game and enter this mode, you start at the Tournament D rank and work your way up.

Each Ninja Tournament rank is divided into three parts: an Entrance Trial, Preliminary, and the Final Tournament. After each portion of the tournament you’re given the ability to explore the areas that are open to you on the island and talk with various people.

Each person on the island will either have some dialog to say, be part of the main story, start a sub-event, or allow you to buy things and each character type has its own distinct icon so that you can tell them apart. There are several types of sub-events, some of which allow you to make friends with the various fighters on the island. These friend sub-events usually are composed of some story dialog and a battle against the person or persons. If you win the battle against these players in the friend sub-stories they will become a playable character as well as be a companion that can aid you in battle.

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Another type of sub-event is found at the Employment Office. Within three areas on the island there are Employment Offices/booths where you can undertake battles for money, costumes, accessories, and items. You can eventually finish all the jobs that are available, but more will become available between the sections before and after tournaments.

The time between tournaments, or in the stages of the current tournament, is packed with all kinds of optional tasks that you can undertake to help you complete each rank. With all of the sub-events to do, characters to unlock, items and accessories to collect, and a lottery, I’ve spent dozens of hours playing in this mode.

The combat in the game is pretty good but takes some getting used to. There are two main types of battles in the Ninja World Tournament mode: two-person and four-person battles. The two-person battles allow you to pick two characters to aid you and also pick what type of style you wish to use to fight your opponent. The styles of fighting in the two-person battles are Ultimate Jutsu, Drive, and Awakening and each of these fighting styles is completely different from the others.

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The Ultimate Jutsu fighting style gives your character a health bar and a chakra bar which is used to pull off special attacks. There’s also a Storm gauge that fills automatically as you fight. Once the Storm gauge is full, you’ll be prompted to pull off an Ultimate Jutsu or Team Ultimate Jutsu, which is a massive attack where your characters go into an enormous cutscene depicting the attack itself.

This mode allows you to substitute your allies to come and take one attack on your behalf. You can call your allies into battle by pulling either of the top trigger buttons. One of your allies will then perform an attack, and go into a cool-down mode immediately following. These types of ally attacks can help get you out of tough situations where the opponent is beating up on you. If you’re not able to block or counter the attack, you can call an ally to aid you and it may give you enough time to break free.

The Drive Type switches up the battle style by mainly focusing on having your allies help you more in battle. Certain ally characters will protect you while they charge up the Chakra gauge. Once the Storm gauge is full in a Drive Type battle all three characters will do a combined Seal Barrier move where you and your allies will surround the opponent and do a three-stage combined attack.

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The final fighting style, the Awakening Type, primarily focuses on using Chakra to trigger your character’s true awakening form. As you fight, you can use Chakra to go into a stronger mode of yourself, your Storm gauge will fill, and you are given the opportunity to go into a True Awakening mode. The True Awakening mode usually has your character going through a metamorphosis into a stronger version of themselves, or even a large beast, to fight for a period of time.

The second type of battle, in the Ninja World Tournament mode, is the four-person battle. The four person battle is the type that takes place in the actual tournament itself but is also used in several of the sub-events in the Employment Office.

In a four-person battle you do not have access to any substitute/helper characters, it’s just you and four NPC’s. From the very start of the game this battle mode consists of four players, each given one thousand orbs, battling it out until the time runs out. Each time a battle participant gets hit by an attack they lose a number of orbs. As you get hit varying sizes of colored orbs will fly out from the character and become scattered all over the battle area. Likewise, when you hit an enemy, they lose orbs, and the orbs will gravitate towards you. If a participant loses all of their orbs they become immobilized until the point at which an orb happens to touch them then they will automatically be granted a small amount of orbs and be able to fight once again. At the end of the battle the player with the most orbs wins.

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As you advance to higher ranked tournaments (levels C, B, A, and S) new rules and fighting mechanics are added. For example, at some point after winning the D-rank tournament, a new “rail” ability will appear in the four-person battles. Within this new rail ability a message will flash across the screen that tells you that a rail has appeared. From there, you can pan around the battle area and find a large green slide near the edge. If you get over to the rail first and press the indicated button your character will ride along this rail and either be able to fire attacks at an enemy or be launched in the air for a massive attack against the other three players. As you perform these rail attacks successfully new rails will appear and allow you to chain the attacks. The great thing about these new mechanics is that they allow even less skilled fighters easily win tournaments as long as they are able to use them effectively.

One more thing to note about the actual tournaments in the Ninja World Tournament mode is that they’re different in one key way to the regular four-person battles: you get to play as two other characters from your list of unlocked characters (as opposed to having them as a backup character). This is the coolest part of the game and even though I don’t know anything about the unlocked characters it was fun to experiment with each of them as there are many really powerful ones. For example, some characters can turn into a snake and slither across the battle area knocking everyone down in their path, while others can control huge puppets on glowing strings of light. There are also some that can change into gigantic monsters as their ultimate transformation. Also, after you complete a rank in the tournament mode you can advance to the next mode and use anyone you’ve unlocked as your main character.

The other main game mode, that’s more of a story mode, is called the Ninja Escapades mode. This is a special story mode that takes you through the formation of the Akatsuki, as well as two other stories. This one has quite a few anime cutscenes and between each you fight the character that the leader of the Akatsuki wants to join. Once you fight the battle and win, it adds this person to your character selection screen in the Ninja World Tournament.

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The final two game modes, which I played the least, are the Online battle and the Free Battle mode. The Online battle mode allows you to take your unlocked characters from both the Ninja World Tournament and the Ninja Escapade modes into online battles. It also allows you to customize your character with different skins, accessories, costume items, and substitution items that you’ve collected in the tournament modes.

The Network Clone component is a whole other facet of the game in and of itself. As you fight in the Ninja World Tournament and perform sub-quests you’ll unlock specific characters to use as a network clone. If you’re logged into PlayStation Network you will see network clones of other players in random spots as you explore the various areas on the island. You can engage these network clones in battle to win money and rare items. Likewise, you can create network clones and send them off to train and bring back money and rare items. This is a pretty cool feature for someone like me who doesn’t play online a lot as it still allows me to interact with other players from within my single player game.

Overall, I’ve spent about three weeks playing this game and there’s enough content here to keep me going for probably another week or so. I’ve made it past the S rank in the Ninja World Tournament and have unlocked most, if not all, the playable characters. I’ve also finished all three of the Ninja Escapades. The battle system isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good. I think the thing that I’ve had the hardest time doing is getting the block and counter mechanics down. Depending on the character you choose, the blocking ability is not that effective so I ended up using a ton of substitution items and also dodging quite a bit. I’ve found the game to not be too tough especially if you unlock stronger characters as doing so really goes a long way in making the battles easy to win. I’ve played every sub-story and friend story in each tournament and there is simply hours upon hours of things to do if you want to complete every last thing in the game.

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Visuals:
The graphics are fairly good but have quite a bit of jagged edges and aliasing. The game runs pretty smoothly and I haven’t really experienced any slowdowns or frame rate drops, so the visuals are very good in that respect. The animation in the cutscenes, on the other hand, are very nice and crisp.

Audio:
Unfortunately I was not able to play this game on a surround sound system so I cannot gauge the quality of the audio and the utilization of surround sound. As far as the soundtrack goes, it’s very limited. The music that plays during the entire time you’re exploring the island between tournaments is very repetitive with the same track playing over and over again.

Online/Multiplayer:
I did not spend a lot of time in this mode, but the game has both local two-player multiplayer as well as online multiplayer that supports between two and eight players. I played a couple of quick two player matches and quickly got beaten every time. So unless you’re playing with friends or you are highly skilled, this may not be fun for you.

One side note is that some accessories cannot be equipped on all characters. Each character has a very limited selection of all of your unlocked accessories and some characters can’t equip accessories at all. If you’re wanting to test out which character can equip which accessories, you can use the Free Battle mode to customize your character before you choose him or her in the Ninja World Tournament mode. When you start the Ninja World Tournament mode you’re stuck with the same main character until the current rank is completed. Since you can’t customize them from the character selection screen in the Ninja World Tournament it’s nice to be able to go into the Free Battle mode to save your customizations before you start a new tournament.

Also, the Free Battle mode is a great way to test out various characters before you commit to them in the other modes. You can set up a mock battle against a CPU character to test out all of their attacks.

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Conclusion:
Overall, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is a pretty fun game with tons of content and it’s pretty reasonably priced. As a fighting game, the combat system is pretty good with a few minor frustrations. Naruto fans will probably get the most out of this game, since it has over one hundred characters from the series and allows you to play them all. The special attacks of some of these characters were really awesome and unlike any other third person battle game that I’ve played. The sheer number of different characters, each with their own unique fighting abilities, really makes this game worth playing in my opinion.

For people not familiar with the series, like myself, you may have a tough time understanding what is going on in the story and the significance of the various characters. Although I probably would have gotten more out of the game if I were familiar with Naruto, the game was still a lot of fun and it makes me want to go back and play the earlier games on the PS3.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were provided by the publisher.

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Written by Jason Honaker

Jason Honaker

A software developer for over 15 years, originally from St. Louis, MO and currently living in Seattle, WA. Started gaming in 1979 on the Atari 800 8-bit PC. I play all sorts of games, but am partial to RPGs and 3rd person brawlers and shooters.

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  • Trey Omega

    While I think its a bit of a shame that you’ve never experienced any of the earlier games or any of the anime or manga, I’m glad to get the perspective of a newcomer. Hearing that the game holds up even for new players to the series is certainly a good sign. It sounds like it was made with fans of the series in mind if none of the characters backstories are told at all.Still, sounds like its worth picking up, esp for longtime fans like myself.

    • Jason Honaker

      I’m really hoping that there will be a huge Naruto box set at some point, so I can get into the series. This game is a lot of fun though, andon’t I have 2 of the previous games; I just need to find time to play them.

      Also, yeah, as a long time fan, I think you’re going to like this one.