Review: Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst


Double-Review no jutsu!

Don't worry, you're not suffering from a case of deja-vu! In a trend that is becoming increasingly common, we have a Game of the Year equivalent for Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, rolling up the DLC and re-releasing it to those of us that passed it up the first time around. Or the fans that are happy to double-dip, I suppose. 

Unlike most other games, Full Burst actually comes with some new content that wasn't made available as DLC, so there's incentive for owners of the original game to check this out. You can either upgrade your current copy for a small fee, or go all-out and purchase a physical copy at a lower price than your typical game. Not bad.

But I've already talked about Ninja Storm 3, so this review is going to focus on what Full Burst brings to the table. Hit the jump to check out what I made of it, but let's just say that the $9.99 upgrade is pretty reasonable indeed.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst (PC*, Xbox 360, PS3 [Reviewed])
Developer: CyberConnect2
Namco Bandai Games
Release date: October 22, 2013 (NA), January 31, 2014 (EU)
MSRP: $39.99 (or $9.99 as a downloadable upgrade from NS:UNS 3)

(*Notes about the PC version of the game are at the bottom of the review)

Just like before, we're thrown into Naruto's origin story, as the Nine-Tailed Fox is running rampant in the hidden village of Konoha while the Fourth Hokage is fighting with a strange, masked intruder. Whilst this is technically the beginning of the Naruto story, it assumes you know a lot of the terminology and characters already, so it's not the best place to start playing if you've somehow avoided watching the ninja series. The game also focuses on the still-ongoing Fourth Shinobi World War arc, so the first two Ninja Storm games should be top priority if you want to get up to speed. 

Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 follows the same formula as its predecessors, for the most part, twining free-roaming 3D battles with some of the best quick time scenes ever used in a video game. Seriously, you need only look at this series and Asura's Wrath to know that they can be used effectively if the developers know what they're doing. Full Burst adds an extra character to the roster, and assuming you play through the story mode to unlock everyone you'll eventually have access to a whopping 81 playable characters. If you are looking for a good party game, this is as good a reason as any to give this a look. Having a competent battle system is great, but best of all it's just fun to mess around with. Having the strongest Naruto fight his child-self is quite the spectacle!

But let's talk about the differences between the two games, or rather, why Full Burst exists in the first place. First of all, the cutscenes have been re-rendered in glorious HD, whilst a few have also been tweaked to make them just that much better. Check out the video above to see some comparison shots to see what the developers have been up to. Whilst this might be due to playing the PlayStation 3 version this time around, I did notice that there's no longer any slowdown during the battle with the Nine-Tailed Fox at the beginning of the game. I can't verify that this is as a result of changes made in Full Burst, but great news nonetheless as the sluggish roof-jumping soured the early game in the previous version. 

In addition to the HD cutscenes, you will also get all of the DLC that was available for the original game, which means 35 additional costumes. Unfortunately, most of these are for key characters like Naruto (who has a wardrobe even The Village People would be jealous of), but if just want to fight as Sakura in a bikini, then your prayers are answered. Worth noting is that the costumes are only available if you're playing Full Burst on a retail disc, as they're not included in the upgrade price. A shame, but let's be honest, $9.99 is a pretty reasonable price, and you can still purchase the costumes in packs if you really think you're missing out. The costumes are not worth skipping over the upgrade for, but if you don't own the base game then you might as well get the full package. 

But wait a second, is that Kimimaro coming out of Kabuto's gut? Why yes, yes it is. Say hello to the bonus character and the focus of the brand new story chapter introduced in Full Burst. You might remember me saying that the Fourth Shinobi World War is still on-going in the manga, so where does the game end? Well, CyberConnect2 has decided to conclude the arc themselves, giving us a Sage Mode Kabuto that borrows members of the Sound Five to tussle with, in a story you won't be seeing in official works outside of this game. This final boss encounter boasts more health bars than you'll know what to do with, as well as some great cinematics for fancy fighting techniques that get used along the way. The game was finished long before certain fights happened in the Naruto main story, so you'll be waiting for the next game to see the recent scuffles in video game form. 

To round it all off we also have the addition of a Challenge Mission mode, complete with 100 missions to make the new content feel a little more substantial. These missions are split into groups of ten, where you must complete the first nine missions before unlocking a tenth, substantially harder mission. While some of these spice up the combat by increasing your opponents' attack stat or by hiding the health bars, some of them are a tad too bland. After all, many of these missions can be emulated by setting them up manually in the Vs. Mode. Each group of missions also has its own mural, with picture tiles being revealed each time one of its ten missions is beaten (like a Naruto-themed Puzzle Swap). It's a neat take on visualizing progression, and while it's not something that's going to sell copies of this game, it's a nice touch.

But is the whole package worth it? If you own the original game, then yes, you should absolutely pay the $9.99 to nab all of the bonus content (besides the costumes, of course). If you're thinking about picking this up at retail, that's another story. The $39.99 RRP is a great price to pay if you've not already bought the original game, and I'm sure there are a few people out there that will want it for all of the costumes. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst is a fine addition to the growing franchise, and it'll certainly tide you over until the release of Revolution later this year. 

8 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

Notes About the PC Port:

Josh Tolentino

After the minor debacle that was the PC version of Dark Souls, many gamers were right to be wary of Namco Bandai's next attempt to bring the previously console-exclusive Ultimate Ninja Storm series to the master race, but the worries proved unfounded. The port seems to work just fine, though it's a little bare-bones and doesn't have any extra features over the console editions of Full Burst, besides the standard ability to select resolutions and toggle things like anti-aliasing. 

All things considered, though, that's certainly enough, as the game looks absolutely gorgeous at 1080p and beyond, and with anti-aliasing turned on, the jagged edges that mar the console versions' otherwise perfect capture of the signature Naruto aesthetic are virtually eliminated. Further, even mid-range graphics hardware (I ran the game with an Nvidia GTX 560 Ti) is enough to keep the game at a steady 60fps in the most hectic fights, ones which dropped the frame rate much lower on the consoles.

For multiplayer, I found it difficult to get matchmaking to work, though other factors could include my region (Southeast Asia) and network settings (strong NAT). As with the console versions lag is a major factor in determining victory, so finding a low-latency match is crucial to getting enjoyment out of the PVP experience. Your mileage may vary.


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Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst reviewed by Chris Walden



Impressive effort with a few noticeable problems holding it back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.
How we score:  The Japanator reviews guide


Chris Walden
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