Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm is an interesting series. It started off under CyberConnect 2 when they were considered the main developers behind the dot hack series, and it ended up being the project that will define them throughout all these years. As far as ranking anime fighting games go, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm easily belongs at the top of the list along with Dragon Ball FighterZ.
The Ultimate Ninja Storm trilogy was released last generation for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Bandai Namco remastered these games to bring them to the full HD platforms like the PS4, Xbox One and PC in 2017. This release was bundled along with Naruto Legacy Collection that featured every Ultimate Ninja Storm game including the Road to Boruto expansion. As far as the Nintendo Switch version is concerned, it unfortunately lacks the 4th game in the series so it feels like a huge chunk of the story content is missing here. However, if you are like me and prefer the events unfolding in Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 and 3, then there is a good chance you might be content with how the trilogy ends here.
First to get something out of the way, we have matched the Nintendo Switch version against the Xbox One version to see how this port compares against a stronger platform. To our surprise, it actually holds up rather well and this applies to the performance as well. I was worried that the performance of the game might suffer due to the transition to Switch and because of the higher resolution in Docked mode, which is pretty close to the Xbox One and PS4 version that run at 1080p.
If we compare this to the Nintendo Switch version, it runs at 900p in Docked Mode although the Portable resolution is disappointing and runs at 540p resulting in a slightly blurry look in handheld mode. The frame rate and load times seem to hold up well next to the Xbox One or PS4 version. The biggest issue that I noticed was in the first Ultimate Ninja Storm game where the frame rate felt like it took a hit. Perhaps it has more to do with the open ended nature of the city in the first game with a full 3D camera.
The first Ultimate Ninja Storm game feels fairly basic when it comes to the combat. The open world and exploration was also completely different in it compared to the later sequels where the design was completely revamped. You had a full 3D city to navigate in the game in the form of the Hidden Leaf Ninja Village. You could go everywhere, even climbing up the buildings. This sounds fun at first until you realize that the village is empty and you the story missions are dumbed down by forced repetitive filler missions. When the story did work, it was rather promising and had some nice battles featured from the anime.
As for the combat, the basics of the series were established here rather well however it is hard not to miss some of the more advanced features that make the battles more streamlined. The special attacks in this game required you to repeatedly press a combination of buttons which always confused me because of the intensity and layout of the attacks. This was removed to some extent in the later games and for a good reason. It made the combat a little too chaotic not to mention the fact that even if you didn’t really execute all of the moves, you attacks could still connect even if they didn’t do much damage, so it felt like a wasted effort.
The second game is the one which felt like it took a much serious turn. It also covers the most famous arc in the manga, the battle of Pain and Naruto in the Hidden Leaf Village. Right from the opening until your introduction to the story mode, it feels like a completely different game with top notch production values. The story mode here is the best in the Trilogy and features plenty of epic cinematic moments from the anime. It is easy to get the blood pumping during these fights even if they are carefully designed around quick time events.
Despite having 3 games in similar style that can also offer events from the past games, it feels like each game can stand well on its own. The combat is also revamped going from one part to the next, but it does feel restrictive if you work your way backward after playing the last game. The story mode is the highlight here and it is something that has managed to stand the test of time, aside from the story mode from Ultimate Ninja Storm 1. The visuals are also great and the chance to play it in portable mode with a friend is an amazing experience.
I had no idea I wanted a portable Naruto fighter after having played the Trilogy. I feel like if you are a Naruto fan, this is a pretty good package to get overall. If you have already played the game, the appeal of playing them on handheld is still there unlike the PS4 or Xbox One release that launched last year.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy collects 3 STORM games in one breathtaking collection. This series has established itself among the pinnacle of anime & manga adaptations to video games!
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy is a pretty good port of the first 3 games in the series for the Nintendo Switch. It might not be the complete series since it lacks Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, but the quality of the port is great and it utilizes the hardware of Nintendo Switch rather well to offer a fun Ninja action experience on the go.