- Game: Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker
- Consoles: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, PC
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Developer: Soleil
A Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker review copy was provided by the publisher.
Back in 2016, CyberConnect2 dropped the final entry in its immensely popular Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series. Like the manga/anime it’s based on, the fourth and final entry in the series ended on a high note. Now that the Shinobi World within Naruto has moved on to the next generation, so has its next playable adaptation. Bandai Namco Entertainment knows just how much of a hit its Dragon Ball Xenoverse IP has been thus far thanks to its deep character customization options and interesting retelling of past events. In a move that doesn’t come as much of a shock, they’ve opted to try out that very same formula with Naruto. On its first attempt however, developer Soleil hasn’t quite hit a home run with the release of Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker.
Unlike the Ultimate Ninja Storm games, Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker’s primary focus is on original avatars. Players now have the freedom to produce their very own ninja icon who fights to come up the ranks during a massive tournament. This feature stands out as the main selling point of the game – a feeling of satisfaction and pride will surely arise as you further develop your character and turn them into a more formidable warrior. Like the Dragon Ball Xenoverse games, you’ll be able adopt Naruto’s recognizable icons as trainers and unlock new abilities and more as you grow alongside them. It’s quite addicting to continually customize your avatar’s appearance and equip them with brand new forms of jutsu.
A sense of disappointment quickly sets when it comes time to participate in the actual mission structure of your ninja journey. There’s no original plot threads to get your custom character entangled in, sadly. After experiencing the entirety of Naruto’s epic story arc, it’s quite the letdown to find out that no new tale has been put in place for your own up and coming ninja. Your character is only relegated to accepting random requests from other characters, completing them, and heading back to those same characters just to get some praise for doing what they told you to do. Not having the chance to throw your custom character into an epic tale on par with that of Naruto himself is a huge missed opportunity.
There’s no offline component to speak of here – all of your adventuring is done within an online setting alongside other player created ninjas. Everything you’ll involve yourself in is done through a competitive multiplayer or co-op setup. The game throws you into numerous 4v4 situations that challenge you to complete varied tasks. These modes provide a nice bit of fun – successfully pulling off attempts at team synergy is a joyous affair. Each ninja can tap into one of four battle types (Attack, Ranged, Ranged, and Heal), which helps deepen the experience when choosing the right character type for different battle situations. The combat itself is solid, and while simple in execution, it still provides a nice sense of heaviness and flair to your combos and special attacks.
As for the co-op missions, they tend to grow repetitive over the course of your playthrough. Once you’ve been asked to defend a village’s gate or save some samurai for the umpteenth time, you’ll soon grow tired of the whole mission structure altogether. A change in difficulty and setting won’t give you much incentive to complete them all. While you may be implored to beat a few more missions in order to obtain scrolls (the game’s version of loot boxes), you’ll eventually choose to obtain your rewards via multiplayer matches. This issue is joined by a litany of other problems, such as a problematic camera that has a hard time keeping up with all the action, no offline modes, no option to play as the anime’s standout characters, and an entirely too small and lackluster lobby setting.
Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker Takeways
Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker is a shoddy first attempt at replicating the Dragon Ball Xenoverse experience. There’s a few good things going for it, though – the game looks and sounds great, the multiplayer modes and character customization can be quite addicting, and constantly upgrading your warrior is pretty satisfying.
However, this team-based fighter is a bit too rough around the edges. There’s no offline modes to speak of, the camera can be a bit uncooperative, the main lobby setting feels too empty, and the co-op missions quickly become a bore. Here’s hoping that on their second attempt at this new franchise, Soleil goes back to the drawing board, keeps what worked here, and further build out its foundation for the better. Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker provides some fun here and there, but that sentiment doesn’t stay along for the whole ride through.
Our Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker Review Score: 6.75 out of 10