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Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's demo goes big and sparkly

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Talk to the Thousands Of Hands

Naruto may have ended more than a year ago, but nothing keeps a good franchise down. Between the lagging anime series, books, more manga, and several feature films, Masashi Kishimoto's world of superpowered ninja is far from over and done with.

That's a good thing, because Cyberconnect2 gets to make Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, the first current-generation installment of their long-running fighting game. Namco Bandai dropped a playable demo was released on Japan's PlayStation Network the other day, and if the spectacle within is any hint at what's in store for the rest of the game, anime ninja fans can look forward to quite the time.

The demo itself is fairly lightweight, at under a gigabyte, and contains nothing more than the cold open and title card for the main game. But what a title card it is!

Things kick off immediately, flashing back to the epic battle between Madara Uchiha and Hashirama Senju, the progenitors of Naruto's ninja world. History is in the making for fans, as this is the fight that ultimately created the Valley of the End, the massive hole in the ground that serves as a place of dramatic import for many key moments in the series proper. 

Madara and Hashirama duke it out with Wood-style jutsu, massive weapons, and huge creatures like the Nine-Tailed Fox and Hashirama's tree giant grappling in the background.

For better or worse, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 looks to be almost unchanged mechanically from previous games. The controls are simple, with buttons for melee and ranged attacks, as well as ones for channeling Chakra magic and dashing around. The Chakra serves as a modifier, supercharging the next action when pressed, turning a regular dash into a chakra dash, and turning a standard attack into a special. So far, so Storm. 

The main differences between this year's release and the last are largely presentational. CyberConnect2 largely maintains the games' style of cell-shaded polygons, and if not for the likes Guilty Gear Xrd, this would easily be the best-looking "anime-style" game on the market. 

That said, where Arc System Works maintain their lead in detail, the Naruto title wins out on sheer scale. The aliasing present on the polygons is much less pronounced, and the most noticeable addition are veritable founts of glowing particle effects. Dust clouds, debris sprays, and novel takes on fire, both actual and magical, spice up the game's look. It's so intense that framerate issues sometimes crop up in the most intense scenes, such as when Madara fills the screen with burning triple-tornado.

The game also doesn't skimp on the Quick-Time Events. Though a hoary old design contrivance at this point, CyberConnect2 has at least mastered the form, using the button prompts in a way that engages with the onscreen insanity, and promising rewards for players with impeccable timing. One can only hope that the team decides to get all meta with the user interface, like they did in Asura's Wrath way back when. 

From the looks of things, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 will be off to a promising, if perhaps too-familiar start. Fans of Naruto and of the games themselves can look forward to a game that covers the thrilling conclusion of the Naruto story, while everyone else can expect a good dose of over-the-top anime spectacle. And with luck, CyberConnect2 will have something just as insane, and perhaps more ambitious, planned for the engine they've created here.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 will be released on February 9th for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoManaging Editor   gamer profile

Josh is Japanator's Managing Editor, and contributes to Destructoid as well, as the network's premier apologist for both Harem Anime and Star Trek: Voyager For high school reasons, he's called "u... more + disclosures


 


 



Filed under... #feature #japan #Namco Bandai #naruto #PlayStation Network #PS4 #Video games #xbox one

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