With the release of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy, you can now play through the entire Naruto saga on PS4 up to the end of the Boruto movie. Sure, the Boruto series is airing but for now, being able to play through the story of one of the world’s leading shounen titles so easily is wonderful.
I’ve previously reviewed Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 and found it to be fantastic, but those jumping in with the PS4 would’ve only been able to play through the climax of Naruto’s journey. This trilogy contains Ultimate Ninja Storm 1, 2 and 3, with all DLC included. Full Burst is arguably my favourite game in the quadrilogy, so being able to play through it again has been great. They all feel very similar but the pull here is the narrative, and if you’re not interested in that then you’re best off sticking with Ultimate Ninja Storm 4.
The improvement between each game is notable, with the battle system being refined each time with more abilities, more skills and smoother transitions. The first game encourages adventure and for you to explore the Hidden Leaf Village and other locales more, and this is toned down in the later games. This is similar to the One Piece: Pirate Warriors games where the first one had exploration, but later on focused on the action and cinematics. Admittedly, whilst the changes can feel restrictive to some, I prefer them as it provides a more focused, better-paced adventure. Some of those quick-time events in the first game are unreasonably fast, though, and lead to a few game overs — I don’t remember them being so frustrating on PS3.
The games are clearly aimed at fans of the anime and manga, and so the gameplay is accessible and simple to those who might not play games so often. Whilst the learning curve is easy to come to grips with, there’s a lot of nuances, items and the substitute system which leaves a lot to dig into. Battles are fast-paced and explosive, and I found myself falling in love with the games all over again — I even returned to the fourth game again! I spent most of my time with Full Burst but all three games have a lot to offer with their lengthy stories and robust rosters, although I’m surprised that Bandai Namco added online on PS4 to all three titles.
There’s been some work done in updating the visuals of these games, and it’s notable considering how old the first game is. It might not look as stunning as Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, but they’re all still striking games and the awe-inspiring art and visual direction aren’t lost here. The Naruto games become more cinematic with each installment, and the various cut-ins during battle are intense. The Naruto games capture the feel and look of the anime exceptionally well.
As with the original games, the anime voice-actors and actresses wonderfully reprise their roles here. As they always have, they’ve given brilliant performances which I cannot fault. The music is beautiful with some fine piano work, and Full Burst in particular has a breathtaking soundtrack — the music in that final battle between Naruto and Sasuke is incredible.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy bundles in a great deal of fun content for a decent price, although there hasn’t been too much work done on these remasters. That said, they hold up very well today even if the first two games do feel a little dated compared to the later games, but I found myself being pulled back to them none-the-less. The Ultimate Ninja Storm trilogy are three parts of an overall excellent quadrilogy, and Naruto fans will be pleased to have the entire collection on one system.