Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (say that 5 times quickly) is the latest in the fighting game series made by CyberConnect2 in their long running series of Naruto games. Not being the biggest fan of the anime and having not played the other three games in the series (my little disclaimer) I was not sure what to expect going into the game. To my delight I was presented a great high energy hack and slash fighting game dripping with content.
The story mode only took around five hours to complete and while the storyline itself did not appeal to me, it was a good and fun way to get your head around the mechanics, different characters moves and the different fighting types. There is also an unique battle style (unique to story and adventure mode) called ‘mob battle’ where you not only fight someone but fight a large number of lower strength enemies like one where you have to beat Mahiru clones. Thanks to a plethora of collectables to be earned by doing specific challenges in a fight and the usual fight grading at the end, there is a lot of replay value added. Also, I would highly recommend starting with story mode before starting training mode.
Adventure mode continues the story by opening you up to a third person world where you can go around completing minor tasks and doing battles for people. Personally I found the adventure mode to be tiresome, the running around did not look good or play that well and it just felt like it had been tacked on for variety. While I know it has been popular in previous titles, if they had just incorporated more into the story mode I would have prefered that, but it may appeal to someone looking for a break from fighting.
The fights are absolutely fantastic.
Having up to three characters and being able to tag in mid battle and even mid combo makes matches really variable. Playing around and finding the right combinations for yourself is a lot of fun. The fighting is absolutely hectic, similar to a standard fighting game and a hack and slash title fused. This gameplay is common in anime fighting games but it just feels so good in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 and is very natural once you get your head around the mechanics.
Free Battle is where I wound up spending more time. It gives a variety of ‘arcade’ modes which allow for a lot of customisation in the fights. Under Free Battle you have the options of Survival, Tournament, Vs Battle, League and Practice. Survival, Vs Battle and Practice modes are all fairly self explanitory Tournament is what it sounds like where you pick four or eight fighters and battle your way through the knockout rounds to win the final. League is a round robin tournament where a tie after the round robin is completed is decided with a sudden death match. The selection in Free Battle is wide enough for there to be a lot of fun and replay value and is always my preferred area of a fighting game.
Online worked surprisingly well even though I was trying it on an ADSL connection, which is average at best for streaming. It took seconds to matchmake with someone and in the fight I did not notice any lag at all. I was able to watch myself get kicked around the ring with no internet based disruptions.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is a good looking, fun and hectic fighting game. Fans of the series should get more value from it than myself, but people unfamiliar with the series but looking for a fighting game should be able to find plenty of value in the game as well.
Released: February 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4