CyberConnect2 has given fans of the Naruto series amazing fighting games ever since they started work on the series back in 2003 for the PlayStation 2. Bringing such an iconic figure to life in a video game can sometimes be tough but CyberConnect2 has done just that, bringing an interesting Naruto game to the table every few years. This time around it’s Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. With a new formula added to the series, things get really interesting this time around.
Revolution is going to be a change of pace from recent entries in the series, in that there isn’t a story to really wrap your head around. Well, I mean there is a tiny, tiny Mecha-Naruto story that you can play through, but like I just mentioned, it is small. In the game you are fighting for the right to be called the best ninja and that is really about it. There are three cool ninja escapades that allow you to see things like the forming of the Akatsuki, so you aren’t without any kind of story.
The chunk of your time with Revolution will be spent in the Ninja World Tournament, trying to make your way to the top of the ninja world. The tournament is broken up by ranks, meaning you will have to clear Rank D through Rank S to take home the title of best ninja. Each rank tourny has three rounds that you will go through; preliminaries, quarterfinals, and the final match. The nice thing about this mode is that at the beginning of each ranked tournament, you are able to select a different ninja to play as.
The battles you will be fighting in these tournaments varies from a 4-player battle royal to a one-on-one battle. If you’ve played a Naruto game in the past, you should be familiar with the 1 vs. 1 battles, but the 4-player battles are a new thing this time around. Here you will take your selected fighter into a match against 3 computer players. These matches are an insane battle royal that pits you up against not only each other, but rogue ninja’s that will pop into battle and all sorts of traps throughout the battlefield. As you land hits on the other participants, orbs will drop on the ground for you to pick up. At then end of the timed battle, the player with the most orbs will win the fight. As you progress through the ranks, these battles can get really hairy.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution Review - S Rank (PS3) - PlayStation LifeStyle
Where combat has been given a nice tweak is that you are now allowed three different ways to play each battle and use your support characters. Select Drive and you support characters are used as shields basically, popping out to block incoming attacks and when a support drive is used, they will show up to give you a nice boost on your combo. Awakening allows you to enter an enhanced awakening state and the Ultimate Jutsu option will allow you and your 2 support characters to pull off Ultimate Combo Jutsu. It adds a huge twist to battles as your fighting option can differ from your opponents. Revolution also incorporates guard breaks and a much better counter-attack system, things that were badly needed in the series and add to an already well done fighting game.
Outside of the tournament rounds, there is actually plenty to do around the Island. With each rank that you clear, you will unlock challenge missions to part in, which will have you fighting through a few ninja’s in different types of battles to secure medals, which can be traded in for accessories. You can also head to the employment office to take on missions such as sparring with a fellow ninja or finding a specific item on the island. Past that, you will also be tasked with finding your fellow ninja and completing a task for them or defeating them in battle, all in en effort to get them to fight with you in upcoming battles. There is even a lottery desk to visit, where you can use tickets collected through battles or on the island to win prizes.
If you are wanting to just mash it up for fun, the game does offer a free battle mode. Here you can take part in custom tournaments, leagues, vs battles, and survival. In the leagues and tournaments, you can select basic play or an ever-changing mode where each match gives a different set of challenges, such as each fighting starting with more ATK power or shurikens doing twice the damage. The survival mode is actually a lot of fun, as you try and see how many fights in a row you can win before you get taken down.
Revolution does offer an online mode which I found to be rather lacking. Here you can go head-to-head vs an opponent online or you can join 4-8 player leagues where you basically sit in a lobby for far too long waiting for your turn to battle. It’s not a terrible idea, but most lobbies I found emptied out rather quickly as people got tired of waiting for their turn. I don’t really understand why multiple fights couldn’t be happening at the same time; instead you have to wait until one fight is over for the next to start. Perhaps the coolest part of the online is that you can create a network clone that will go online and show up in other players islands and fight them, bringing back exp and sometimes items to you.
It is clear that the Naruto franchise looks ready to move on to next-gen hardware. The characters look great and the cut-scenes are still very well done, but you are starting to see where things have started to grow stale and could really use a jump in that hardware. The island you are on isn’t ugly, but it has some age that is starting to show. The music that you will find in the game is smooth and just fits in so well with every aspect of the game.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution will feel a bit dull for those who are looking for a heavily storied experience but it should not be overlooked simply for the fact that it isn’t a full fledged Naruto story. What it lacks in story it makes up for in frenetic 4-player combat and a whole slew of modes and features to keep you busy. Whether you are tracking down herbs for Kushina Uzumaki or training with Might Guy, there is never a shortage of tasks to take on. Revolution is a perfect way to bide your time until the next installments releases and as Naruto would say, “It’s my ninja way”.
Review copy was purchased by the reviewer. For information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.