Even after the reveal of Naruto’s end in the Anime world, I thought that the game franchise with the same name would be stopped after Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4: Road to Boruto. Well, it seems Bandai Namco have other plans, and after revealing Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker – a strange team-based fighting arena game – they decided to port the franchise as well to the latest and hottest console: the Nintendo Switch with Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy. The most successful generation of titles form the Naruto franchise, the trilogy focuses on the first three Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm games, which were released originally on the previous console generation from 2009 to 2013, before the switch to the current batch of console with the fourth and final Ultimate Ninja Storm game (reviewed on our site). The question now: is it worth revisiting those games?
When I think about it, it’s been almost 9 years since I’ve played the first Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm on PlayStation 3. The title was a revolution for CyberConnect, allowing the developer to use the full force of that console generation to offer a new experience to fans of the anime or manga, in 3D environments (compared to the previous 2D games). If at the time the reception from fans and the critics was good, it is clear that the title shows a little weight of the years, even despite a port to this generation of console and boost to 1080p.
Nevertheless, the game didn’t really age in a bad way, since the overall experience anyway was a cell-shading adventure, which relied more on portraying in a better way the famous clash of the hero in his younger days. Let’s just say that it will suffer mainly from the comparison with the two episodes that came after (or even the three if we count Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm) since the combat mechanics, on the whole, is much less impressive, less technical and lacks fluidity.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 and 3, on the other hand, are much more consistent, in terms of content. With a larger cast, thanks to Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 will all the key characters of the anime until the end of the Pain story arc, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 adds the rest until the great ninja war arc in the storyline. Moreover, Bandai Namco included the Full Burst version of the third game, rather than the basic one, which has a plethora of extra content like extra costumes, characters an, chapter in story mode. It’s worth mentioning as well that most cutscenes had been reworked for this version, which in itself, does not change much to the game experience, but for fans, it makes the overall more enjoyable.
If the Naruto games are primarily developed for fans, all of these CyberConnect 2 games target a larger group of players, as the gameplay is so easy to learn. The battles are still tensed and dynamic, and developers have always made sure to respect the original work by transcribing as best as possible the protagonists, their ultimate and secret techniques, as well as different battle arenas influenced by the anime’s settings. In addition, the game focuses on the core storyline, skipping all the side stories (usually the movies) and boring part of the manga that everyone would like. As a result, it perfectly condenses the best moments of the franchise, without missing the main branches of the storyline in a coherent way.
By adding the number of hours that will be spent in the Adventure mode of each game without talking about sidequests, you get around 30-40 hours of gameplay, which is highly reasonable considering the price tag. The side missions and the many collectibles to gather will be an excellent motive for fans to spend more hours in these Naruto games. Plus, you also have offline multiplayer game modes to prolong the lifespan of the game, especially with the online version of the latter in for Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 and 3.
So who is this trilogy for in the end? Well, if you previously played all these games either during the original release, or the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 trilogy or even Legacy version (which includes Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4: ROAD TO BORUTO as well), then you probably could skip this. There’s nothing new added in this Nintendo Switch version, except the fact that it is the only way to play these games on the go, which might be a good incentive for hardcore fans. It is through the perfect opportunity for all newcomers of the franchise to embark on the adventures of our favorite ninja, especially since the game is $40 combining all three games, all DLCs, which is nothing compared to the amount of fun and content you’ll get from it.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy was reviewed using a Nintendo Switch downloadable code of the game provided by Bandai Namco Games. The trilogy is also available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC in digital and retail store releases. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published (click here for more information about our review policy).
• Three games with a great price tag
• The original Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm
• Online modes of Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 and 3 are available and populated
• So much content
• Some random slowdown when playing on the Nintendo Switch dock mode
• No real novelty for veteran players