Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is the latest iteration of Naruto’s foray into the gaming world, developed by CyberConnect2 and brought to us on PS3, XB360, and PC by Bandai Namco. As someone familiar with the manga and anime, but new to the games, I was really looking forward to this, receiving a review copy for the PC version.
Unfortunately, the PC version could quite easily the worst version available due to one major problem, it simple doesn’t work straight out the box (you know as much of a box as you get when digitally downloading). It crashed right out of the gate, was plagued with audio troubles, and even blue screened my PC. I’d love to write it off as an isolated incident, but there are too many similar complaints. You’ll need to play with a specific resolution and settings to get the game functioning, and even then it will still crash at times. I’d expect a patch somewhere down the line to clear this up, but right now it’s inexcusable for the PC version to be so finicky.
Things get a little better when it plays, providing a passable experience. It controls pretty well, which I wasn’t really expecting from a licensed game and what seems at an initially simplistic content actually reveals numerous layers of strategy when pitted against competent opponents. A lot of effort’s been put in and it really pays off in some truly outstanding moments, nothing beats the feeling of a properly timed substitution technique; chakra back dash, and Rasengan combo, to make you feel like a real ninja, it’s friggin’ amazing.
Sadly this is marred by one major design flaw. The game doesn’t play out on a 2D plane, instead focusing on free range 3D combat. Which could have actually been pretty interesting if not for the fact that the camera will be your most deadly opponent. Nothing ruins the mood faster than fighting someone like Deidara, with his extensive use of projectiles, when the camera situates itself right behind him, obscuring your character completely and demanding you time defensive maneuvers against attacks you cannot see. It doesn’t get much better when encountering larger enemies, bad camera also rears its head when you encounter larger enemies, their body can easily populate the screen and prevent you from seeing pretty much everything, especially cues for incoming attacks.
It didn’t have to be this way either, as the battles unfold you’ll be wishing they were on a functional 2D plane with the ability to step into the third dimension. It might have denied the four players battles in their current state, but considering the poor camera control and shoddy lock-on system, they’re already among the weakest portions of the game.
Series fans will enjoy the all too brief, Ninja Escapades portion of the game. For the first time ever, there are beautifully animated stories centered around Akatsuki’s formation and Shisui’s actions – important moments in the Naruto lore for the uninformed – and they seem to be fully canon as well. These chapters serve as a framing device for battling and certainly set the mood. It makes you wish the Ninja World Tournament mode was more of this, instead of falling back to the staple “wander from point A to B, do this menial task, compete in this battle” format.
Overall, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is decent title with a few glaring flaws, especially the PC port which has more than a few hurdles to overcome before even being able to play it. Given the chance, as it is quite often the camera tries to choke the fun out of the combat at any given moment. It’s a shame since when it’s not conspiring against you, the game really looks beautiful and controls solidly, resulting in this real feeling of bad-assery! That said fans will find a lot to enjoy here, the visuals have been recreated faithfully and the satisfaction of pulling off familiar Ninjutsu techniques only serves to further broaden it’s appeal. It’s the perfect summation of what it’s like to be Naruto Uzumaki: A clumsy fighter, bad at a lot of things, but with moments where it shines brighter than anyone else – just do yourself a favor and avoid the four-way combat.
- The game looks beautiful.
- One-on-one Combat is fast, furious, and satisfying.
- Tons of characters.
- New anime chapters reveal never before seen story.
- PC version requires you jump through hoops to play.
- Camera hates you and will betray you whenever possible.
- Four-way battles are terrible.
- Story content is very thin, and padded with fetch quests.