Title: Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections
Release Date: November 16, 2023
Reviewed On: PS5
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Genre: Arena Fighter
Unleash the Power: Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections Review
In the realm of countless anime video game adaptations, the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm titles possess an undeniable level of prestige. Primarily for Shippuden, the source material’s story has been excellently adapted with terrific battles, memorable quick-time events, great cutscenes, and a surprising implementation of select free roam with side activities. So, it only makes sense that follow-ups would be made, with the latest iteration being Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections. Unfortunately, while the package contains what you’d expect from an arena fighter, its single-player content lacks in crucial areas.
Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections offers two primary single-player modes: History Mode and Special Story. Let’s address History Mode first: it’s pretty terrible. It’s a highly abridged, poorly told recap of the story spanning from the original Naruto to the end of Naruto Shippuden, spread across multiple chapters. As you might expect, attempting to condense that much narrative into one title is practically impossible, so it’s done through brief bits of narration akin to a highlight reel.
Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections offers an engaging standalone adventure with a ton of heart poured into it.
However, it lacks impact due to haphazard pacing and inconsistency. Bizarrely, some scenes have voiced narration, while others rely solely on silent text. The only benefit of this History Mode is reliving some of the significant setpiece battles, but the lack of connective tissue between the scenes makes it all feel messy. You’re essentially jumping between major events with little effort given to the “hows” and “whys,” making it a weak entry point for newcomers. Given that fans won’t find much substance or excitement here either, the purpose of History Mode is questionable, to say the least.
A Heartfelt Adventure: Exploring the Special Story in Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections
On the other hand, the Special Story is the real meat of the single-player content, even if its length is comparable to what History Mode offers. This new original plot follows Boruto and his allies as they immerse themselves in a new in-universe virtual reality game called Ninja Heroes while an ominous plot brews beneath the surface with the antagonist group Zero. There are some new characters here, including the Ninja Heroes AI guide Nanashi, who plays a pivotal role in serving as the emotional tether of it all.
What’s here is mostly well done, with terrific character work that puts Boruto in the spotlight while also emphasizing his relationships with family and friends. If you’re unfamiliar with the Boruto source material, you’ll still be able to follow the general story that unfolds, though you may feel lost regarding some characters and their relationships with each other. Nevertheless, the Special Story is a great standalone adventure with a ton of heart poured into it, bolstered by full, albeit just passable, voice acting. There are some strange writing decisions, such as characters needlessly recapping events that literally just happened, which gives the impression of frail confidence in that department when these scenes could’ve been excluded entirely.
Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections is more about using absurdly powerful, flashy techniques with lenient button activations.
Speaking of exclusions, the Special Story has its own major dose of Naruto franchise recapping that probably should’ve been removed in practice. Admittedly, it’s done far more cleverly here, thanks to an engaging premise and reactions from the characters witnessing the recap. It still feels largely needless, yet it does make the History Mode come across as even more obsolete than it already was. Ideally, the only story mode would’ve been Boruto’s, allowing for more fleshing out, potentially including free roam around the Leaf Village.
Flashy Techniques and Epic Battles: The Gameplay Experience in Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections
Aside from those two modes, everything else in Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections is self-explanatory, especially for those who’ve experienced the previous entries. The gameplay feels the same as ever, at least for someone like me who only played these Ninja Storm titles casually. The central components of charging Chakra, dashing, and Jutsu usage have been carried over, so fans will feel right at home. Parties of three can also be formed, with players able to use standby members for assist attacks or swap to them altogether, enabling a decent degree of individuality. Alternatively, newcomers can use the Simple Control style for easier combos, but with how straightforward the standard control scheme feels, you honestly won’t lose much time getting accustomed to that instead.
Like the other Storm games, Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections doesn’t encourage much depth; it’s more about using absurdly powerful, flashy techniques with lenient button activations. This applies doubly so in this game, where the cast is quantity over quality, with over 130 playable characters. It’s all good fun, though the Story modes won’t prepare you for online matchups. That’s because, in the Story, you can pretty much just spam Jutsu and charge Chakra back to back to win every battle without much thought. It’s addicting in a somewhat guilty sort of way. At the very least, the opening tutorial does a favorable job of imparting the basic movement and attack techniques that apply to everyone.
If you’re a diehard fan of Naruto and the Ultimate Ninja Storm games, then what’s here will likely engage you.
In-Depth Cast and Rewards: Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections Features
One feature that fans or newcomers may appreciate is the in-depth encyclopedia, which contains brief biographies and technique primers for every playable member of the cast that unlock the more you play as them. There’s plenty to peruse here if you have a few hours to spare. Plus, as you make certain gameplay strides, you’ll unlock several types of cosmetic awards. There’s a staggering number spread across accessories, costume colors, and much more. These inclusions are minor and don’t personally provide a substantial sense of reward, but if you get really into the gameplay loop, this may be enough.
Is It Worth the Hype? A Comprehensive Review of Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connection
As far as celebratory packages go, Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections gets the job done, but not much more than that. The story implementation is lacking, with awful recapping of the original content, while the rest of the game is simply more Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm. If you’re a diehard fan of Naruto and the Ultimate Ninja Storm games, then what’s here will likely engage you, but there’s little reason to return to these if you’ve played through them before.
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