Naruto Shippuden was at one point one of the longest running Shonen Jump series next to One Piece. The manga also spanned a hugely popular anime series followed by a set of games that were based on the anime. These games offered one of the best combat for the series with unique team-based and 1 vs. 1 battles. It also featured some of the more cinematic battles in flashy QTE-focused events. Even though QTE are generally disliked for most games, the implementation in Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm was unlike any other games and it only added to the immersion offered by the large scale battles, making you feel like you were actually taking part in them.
The anime has since concluded with the mantle being passed to Naruto’s Son Boruto, but the legacy still lives on till today. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Legacy also brings the first 3 games in the series for the first time to the current generation consoles and PC. Even though the games carried the same DNA for the most part, what sets them apart is how the adventure mode is crafted for each successive entry in the series. The most freedom was offered by the first Ultimate Ninja Storm but the combat gradually improved with each subsequent entry leading to the release of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 last year.
I will admit that I have been a huge fan of the series since its inception and used to read the manga and watched the anime for a while during its peak popularity, so after having played the games, I can safely say that the developers have really nailed the feeling of the combat and the experience of some of the more over-the-top cinematic battles that are featured prominently throughout the series. There is a sense of satisfaction to be had when you manage to successfully pull a set of quick time events that trigger a secret scene during some of the key cinematic battles. I haven’t seen any other game come close to replicating it so far.
If you have played the latest Naruto Shippuden, you might have already enjoyed the basic combat that the series offers, but there is actually a lot more to it aside from just the standard battles. You can go through the adventure mode in the past 3 games that not only deals with some of the more current events in the anime, it also features flashbacks from some of the key events in the story and as a fan of the series, it was a joy to experience them in the game. Do you want to experience the legendary battle between the rivals: Naruto and Sasuke? You can now do it all in the game and they are as awesome to experience here as they felt like when watching the anime.
Since the previous entries in the series were released at a time when the story wasn’t complete, each part of the game deals with just a specific arc in the story. For the first game, you will be most experiencing the story from a young Naruto’s experience as he deals with his mission of becoming the Hokage. This means you will be going through the majority of the story events before the series shifted to adult Naruto with the release of Naruto Shippuden. The first game is unique in that sense that it offers full 3D exploration around the Leaf Ninja Village, something that was taken back in the sequels for the series.
Part of the reason it feels like the developers opted to strip down the exploration was because they felt like fillers for the main story, which is always going to be the highlight for the series. Running around the Leaf Ninja Village might be cool at first but the sidequests end up being boring fetch quests and you can’t help but shrug at some of the writing for the quests. They might offer you a glimpse at the main cast of characters or provide some fan service but it never feels like they offer a compelling experience. The meat of the adventure mode is mostly the main story battles and this is something that has been continued in each of the subsequent game.
Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 deals with the final battle of Naruto with Pain and uses it as a culminating point for the end of the game. You can still explore around the Leaf Ninja Village as most of the game is set before the events of the invasion of Pain to the Leaf Ninja Village, but the exploration here is limited with fixed camera. There are still sidequests to do here and the battle system receives some tweaks as well, but it mostly feels the same. This is not necessarily a bad thing since the battle system is easily the best part of the game.
Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 continues on the same path as its predecessor but it has the most changes for the battle system. Some of the proved to be a bit controversial for fans of the series but honestly I didn’t really had any issue with them. The battles just get crazier as you go from one game to the next and it shows how the developers slowly began to grasp the basics of the combat. There are a wide variety of special moves available here and with a large supporting cast for it.
If you are planning to go through the trilogy, it is not a bad idea to just focus on the story. It is easy to get burnt by the side content in the main adventure mode. However thankfully the story mode still offers plenty of enjoyment which leads to the final portion of the Legacy collection: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4. There is a more detailed review available here but purely from a combat perspective, it is the definitive version of the game and also sports a large roster from the series containing pretty much every character. You can also play through some of the initial story offered in the ‘Road to Boruto’ DLC that was released for Ultimate Ninja Storm 4.
Another thing to mention here is that each of the game featured in this trilogy is complete with all DLCs and online multiplayer intact, so if you hate some of the changes in combat from the new games, you can still play the multiplayer from the entry you prefer. This was a surprise to see considering how Ubisoft stripped away the multiplayer component from their Assassin’s Creed remasters but it remains intact here. Visually, the art style has saved these remasters from aging terribly and they still look amazing and nail the look and feel of the anime.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Legacy Review (Xbox One)
Game Reviewed on: Xbox One
Game description: With more than 16 million Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm games sold worldwide, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Legacy collects all 4 Storm games in one breathtaking collection.
This is the ultimate Naruto collection and even though the combat system might be similar, the adventure mode offered here is unique with each game offering its own set of story moments, different forms of exploration in the Ninja Leaf Village and flashy cinematic battles that should please the Naruto fans.