Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution (Xbox 360) Review

By Gareth F 02.10.2014

Review for Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution on Xbox 360

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is quite the mouthful, so in the interests of brevity and to ensure these typing fingers don't whittle down to bloody stumps during the process of this review, the latest instalment of the long running ninja odyssey will be hitherto referred to as Naruto Revolution. The lengthy title seems especially justified, though, being as this is actually CyberConnect2's FIFTEENTH game in the Naruto series since it first premiered on the PS2 way back in 2002. Diehard fans of the diminutive ninja may feel slightly disappointed that this new addition doesn't pick up the story where Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 left off, however CyberConnect2 has delivered something here more akin to a piece of fan service, jam packed with a lot of new content and tweaks to the already tight gameplay mechanics.

The main bulk of Naruto Revolution revolves around the World Ninja Tournament that takes place on Festival Island, which, in keeping with the previous games in the series, serves as an activity hub to pad out the experience between bouts. Once the player has pulled up to shore and chosen a fighter, the island becomes available for exploration and the hero is free to interact with other characters, recruit allies for team-based competitions, buy / earn customisations, perform tasks / quests and, most importantly, sign up for the preliminaries of the big competition.

Screenshot for Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution on Xbox 360

CyberConnect2 has included a whopping 100 playable characters, which could be seen as quite overwhelming if it wasn't for the fact that they aren't all available from the start. By making the player unlock the characters gradually, it does at least ensure that the majority may get tested out during the course of the tournament, but it does raise the question of how many of these playable ninjas can be written off as filler / clones, thrown in just to bump the roster up to the magical 100 figure? Every fighter in the game has one of three different play types ('Ultimate Jutsu,' 'Awakening,' and 'Drive'), which admittedly will likely mean a whole lot more to the Naruto faithful than they do to those that do not religiously follow it (or self confessed Noob-utos), but each style has its own set of strengths and weaknesses that can be sussed out.

In order to win the World Ninja Tournament start from the bottom (D Rank) and fighting up through the divisions to the top (S Rank) is required, and only then, once the last battle has been fought, can the title of best Ninja be claimed. The Naruto series has always ploughed its own furrow with regards to the fighting genre and instead of the traditional side-on / pseudo-3D viewpoint that most other modern brawlers utilise, the battles here actually take place in an arena-like setting, adding depth into the equation via a camera angle that zooms in / pans out. Whilst there are ranged attacks available for those battles where the opponent keeps at a distance, getting close enough to unleash a big combo just adds to the hectic nature of Naruto Revolution. As hinted at earlier, there have been a lot of tweaks to the engine, with added guard breaks and improved counterattacks for when the action does get close up and personal.

Screenshot for Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution on Xbox 360

The one-on-one battles are still present and correct with each fighter picking a pair of support characters that can help out with special moves and occasionally guard against attack during brief respites in action. However, Naruto Revolution also introduces four-player battles to the series, which are great fun to play and work by swapping out the power bars and replacing them with battle orbs. These battles are more akin to a 'free for all' as each player starts with 1000 orbs a piece and loses / gains them during the heat of the battle. The fighter with the most orbs when the time limit expires is the winner - it's as simple as that.

Naruto Revolution isn't just about the World Ninja Tournament, though, as there are a few other modes included to add further value, the most notable of which being 'Ninja Escapades' that includes around 50 minutes worth of original anime from Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto and is split into three episodes. Despite being fairly short-lived, these episodes actually work really well as each fight is prefaced by a section of anime that gives the impression of watching an interactive episode, with the story progression totally dependent on the outcome of the fights.

Upon beating the D Rank tournament, access is given to the 'Mecha Naruto' episode, another short campaign with the ultimate aim of unlocking that character for general usage. Inclusion of the obligatory 'Free Play' mode gives players the opportunity to practise with all the currently unlocked characters, learn combos and try their hand at the survival mode / league play.

Screenshot for Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution on Xbox 360

It makes perfect sense that a game based around a World Ninja Tournament should have an online component enabling players to compete against contenders from all across the globe. For the most part, these battles are similar to those played during the campaign with the crucial difference being that the human opponents are already insanely good from the years spent training in the previous Naruto games. Having a 100 playable characters could potentially hold Naruto Revolution back from being taken seriously by the online fighting fraternity purely as having that many fighters to choose from, combined with the three-fight style options, opens up the possibility of an imbalance somewhere down the line. Even now, Capcom still regularly updates and tweak the ageing Street Fighter IV (which most still refer to as THE definitive competition brawler) as it can take months of online play for a slightly overpowered character to become apparent, so it remains to be seen whether CyberConnect2 will be as vigilant with the balancing updates for Naruto Revolution (the fact that this is an annual franchise suggests it may not, though).

The ability to customise the fighters' appearance and create a player card that will be seen in online lobbies with items unlocked during the main campaign is a nice touch, as is having the option to create a Network Clone that can be sent out into the online universe to virtually represent gamers in battle and earn money / items on their behalf.

Screenshot for Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution on Xbox 360

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Whilst it's unlikely there will be many non-Naruto fans beating a path to the shops to pick this up, it still handles as an excellent introduction to the franchise for the uninitiated and stands on its own two feet as an action-packed piece of entertainment. However, those already heavily invested in the Naruto universe are faced with the decision of whether having 100 playable characters is enough to warrant a purchase. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is decent enough as a piece of fan service and a solid fighter in its own right, but the main problem with yearly updates is that occasionally franchise fatigue will set in…and nobody wants that.

Developer

CyberConnect2

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Fighting

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Ofisil, Renan, Sandy Wilson

There are 3 members online at the moment.