Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 Hands-On – Ending on a High Note (PS4)

While my hands-on time with Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 wasn’t too much different than our original hands-on, I was able to ask Hiroshi Matsuyama, the CEO of CyberConnect2, a few questions and find out a some new details regarding the final entry in the Storm series.

To start off, it really does need to be said that this iteration of the Storm series is by far one of the most beautiful entries for the franchise, and is hands down the best example of cel-shading imitating anime I have ever seen. Not only do the textures look better overall, but the increased density of the background environments and lighting effects gave the fights a noticeable weight that I had never noticed before. While I have never been the best at the Storm games, it does continue to utilize its incredibly deep but easy to control mechanics that make the player look and feel like they are a ninja. Many of the actions were the same as I had remembered from the previous game, but the effect that the improved visual fidelity has on the experience simply cannot be overstated, as each moment looks and feels like it was ripped straight from the show.

During the Hashirama and Madara fight I played through, the design of the maps made the match look and feel more like what would be expected from a super powered brawl, and gave it a subtle layer of narrative that sets the stage better than I have ever seen in a fighting game. Nowhere was this more noticeable than the Kaiju fight that the original match inevitably broke into. As the trees started to shake from the sheer force and magnitude of the bout between both Kaijus going at it, it was easy to see that these fights existed in a living world, as opposed to the sterile stages we often see from other fighters. 

Besides the content that was unveiled earlier in the year, I was also able to see a bit of new gameplay that involved Gamakichi sliding around and getting into it with an enemy I didn’t recognize. Sadly, there really wasn’t much to note from a new gameplay standpoint, but it does highlight that there will be more than one memorable Kaiju fight.

One of the other new additions that sadly weren’t on display, was the new Change Leader System which lets players use a swap in a support character as their main character during a fight. This will force players to utilize the same health and chakra bar, but does let them transition over from one character in their awoken form, to another character in their awoken form. Wall actions were also not on display, as they are still being developed.

This was also the case for the New Combination Ultimate Jutsu moves that lets certain combination of characters perform a devastating attack. The example given was the Hyuga Clan, which would require Neiji, Hinata, Hiashi and the newest character to join the roster, Hanabi Hyuga from The Last. When asked about how many characters would be in Storm 4, we were told that there would be over 100 playable fighters when it releases on the PlayStation 4 in fall of 2015. With so much new content being added, as well as the visual improvements being made to Storm 4, it is hard to see that the series will be coming to an end, but based off our limited hands-on, this is really shaping up to be ending on a high note.