Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 Road to Boruto drops on the Nintendo Switch making the entire quadrilogy of ninja action finally available on the little hybrid console. It is the latest in the stellar 3D ninja fighting game series developed by CyberConnect2 and comes complete with a huge playable roster, cell-shaded anime-like graphics, and top tier voice acting. In other words, it’s a must-play for any fans of the anime or manga.
The game’s story kicks off at the start of the 4th Great Ninja War story arc from the anime. The story segments are completely voice acted with the English, Japanese, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese dubs. I played it with the Japanese dub and English subtitles because that’s how I watched the anime so it was nice to hear the authenticity. The game’s storied cutscenes are mostly static images from the anime with the characters speaking, which made me wonder why the developers didn’t just use clips from the anime if they went so far already to make it look like the show. This presentation gets old fast when there are five-minute long cutscenes after every battle. So, if you were looking to play this game instead of watching the Naruto anime I would advise against it. However, if you’ve already watched it like I have then it serves as a nice refresher to the story. I haven’t watched an episode of the anime since it ended a few years ago so it was quite nice to jump back into the world of shinobi again.
The 4th Great Ninja War is essentially the climax of Naruto’s story so you can imagine that a good portion of the series’ best fights occur during this arc. It was great to relive these fights in a faithful way to the source material. Such battles like Guy Sensei vs. Madara Uchiha and Kakashi vs. Obito felt so good to remake.
The story mode offers two separate paths for players to explore, one for Naruto and one for his frenemy, Sasuke. Because I got to play as so many different characters throughout the story the battles never got stale with many characters having different versions with entirely different moves to use. Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 also contains the DLC content Road to Boruto, which contains the story of the first Boruto movie (Naruto’s son).
This game also contains the largest number of playable ninjas with a whopping 124 different shinobi to choose from! The characters span from all different time periods in the Naruto universe – from the original Naruto to Naruto Shippuden and Boruto.
In battles you create a three-person team made of one leader and two support ninjas. Yes, you can have a team of all Narutos if you want. Each character has their own special attacks, play styles, and supporting moves so it takes time to learn all their different moves and ideal teams. The battles look and play great. If you’ve played any of the other Ninja Storm games then you already know how to play as pretty much nothing has changed.
Completing battles and progressing the story will unlock items, which can be spent on in-game items like character battle phrases and such. After completing the story it’s recommended to play Adventure Mode, where the player controls Naruto as he completes ninja missions that take place after the Great War. Some of these missions unlock flashback fights, such as Naruto vs. Gaara, which feels like a lifetime ago. The missions aren’t much to write home about as they’re mostly fetch quests, but it was nice to run around the ninja world and talk to characters who were recovering after the war, which is something that the anime didn’t really have the chance to cover.
Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 looks great on the Switch in both handheld and docked modes. I played it mostly in handheld mode and there were no drops in frame rates or slow load times, which was awesome. Most of the music and soundtrack sounds like it was directly lifted from the anime, which is, of course, fantastic. CyberConnect2 really blew the presentation out of the water.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 Road to Boruto is a shining example of how to make an anime inspired action game. With tons of playable characters to utilize and one of the best storylines in Japanese anime, I can’t recommend this game enough if you’re a Naruto fan.
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja STORM 4 ROAD TO BORUTO Review
- Graphics - 9/109/10
- Sound - 9/109/10
- Gameplay - 9/109/10
- Lasting Appeal - 8/108/10
Final Thoughts: EXCELLENT
The latest entry in the Ninja Storm franchise continues to build upon what the popular series is known for: over the top ninja action. If you’re a fan of Naruto you won’t be disappointed. This one doesn’t miss.