2014 brings hardcore anime fans another dosage of ninjutsu-filled action with Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution. This annual installment comes with a different take on the single-player story campaign portions of the game. Three separate mini-episodes give players the chance to explore the origins of some of the more important characters from the series cannon. These playable side stories focus on the formation of the infamous Akatsuki, plus two more characters in the form of Shisui Uchiha and Kushina Uzumaki. What makes these stories so entertaining is the additional bits of original animated sequences, which segue quite nicely into playable fight scenes. While these scenes are fun and quite the treat for hardcore Naruto fans, they’re simply too short and lack the explosive Quick Time Events seen in past game’s story modes.
The more fulfilling piece of story mode gameplay comes from the Ninja Tournament mode. Here, players will participate in 4-player battles where the winner must gather up the most orbs by the round’s end. The familiar open-world elements of past series’ entries makes a return here as you complete side missions, collect items and gather up allies for battle. The appearance of the awesome original character Mecha-Naruto gives this mode even more interesting content to play through, plus the infinitely more fun 4-player battle royales never get old. The Ninja Tournament mode is a fun single-player diversion that’s worth delving into.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution continues to feature the anime authentic visuals the series is known for. Each of the game’s selectable fighters, support characters and arenas all look amazing. Watching your favorite ninjas pull off their flashy special and finishing moves is still one of the biggest attractions of this fighter. The additional 50-minutes of original animation looks just as good as the gameplay graphics that accompany them. The Online mode gives players the option to finally customize their favorite characters with unlocked weaponry and other clothing items. This minor addition becomes major as you now have the option to customize your experience even more than before.
This sequel maintains the fast and furious gameplay seen in past games. A bunch of new mechanics make their debut and manages to freshen up the fighting game system a bit. The new guard-break, counterattack and three additional fighting systems (Ultimate Jutsu, Drive and Support Drive) change up the gameplay a bit. The Ultimate Jutsu mode is the more fun of the three fighting styles since it gives you the option to employ specific team formations and dish out amazing team-based finishing moves. The majority of the fun that exists within this mode comes from the mixing and matching of characters that have some sort of connection from the anime. The huge roster (118 playable characters) and system balances makes this the most refined sequel in the series.
It’s pretty disappointing to see that the Ninja Tournament 4-player fights aren’t selectable out of that story mode. It seems like a huge missed opportunity to participate in these fun skirmishes with live players in a local/online environment. And for those players who have been playing the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series since its inception, this latest entry might instill feelings of staleness. This fighter is fun, no doubt. But it doesn’t do anything major or groundbreaking to bring in new players. It’s safe to say that this release is more of a sidestep than a serious main sequel. The lack of a continuation of the show’s current story arcs is disappointing and having only three short side stories to play is also a bummer.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is a decent sequel that offers longtime fans some worthy additions. While the original side story missions are fun, their just aren’t enough of them and their runtimes are a bit too short. Most of the single-player fun is derived from the Ninja Tournament story mode and chaotic 4-player battle. The huge roster, new types of battle styles and refined gameplay make this entry as quality as possible. While this game is still a fun experience, it still feels like a slightly unimportant addition to the series.