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Naruto Shippuden! A beloved franchise, a popular character and the star of a series of games which are clearly invested in annual shadow clone entries which repeat the exact same gameplay year after year. But along comes Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution, which is promising to shake up the series. Is it the revolution that the franchise desperately needs? Oh hell no it isn’t, in case you don’t feel like reading.

Because once again, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is a carbon copy of previous games in the series. Everything from the combat, the visuals and the audio assets is once again the same. I’m not going to bother repeating myself for the fourth year in a row, so if you want to know how the game handles, here’s a few reviews for three years worth of games.

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So let’s focus on what has changed this year, what few new additions there are to the core gameplay. Well for starters, while the gameplay retains the tried and trusted moveset of combos, projectiles, chakra loads and ultimate attacks, characters now also have the ability to specialise in one of three distinct fields.

Awakening fighters can start a match off with a massive power-up, Team specialists can hit the field with more effective combo attacks once they nail the timing and Ultimate Jutsu experts can use their trademark techniques with even more ferocity than usual. Also new to the gameplay, are guard breaks and counterattacks. Guard breaks allow players to slot in items that allows them to overcome the tightest of defenses and leave opponents vulnerable, while counterattacks can save your ass no jutsu from a vicious combo once you’ve run out of substitution counters and preventing any support for the opposition.

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They’re good additions overall to a solid combat system, but it’s not nearly enough to sell the game.

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One of the bigger draws for hardcore fans this year however, will most likely be the Ninja Escapades. At almost 600 chapters, the Naruto Manga has been around for over a decade now, crafting a tale that spans the ages between countless ninjas and their personal battles. But between some of the more epic battles and revelations, there’s a lot of history that has remained hidden.

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Ninja Escapades, fill that history in, and with a neat twist as well. Between the various chapters, there’s almost an hour of brand new footage from the official anime production studio that cranks out weekly Naruto episodes. The downside to this mode however, is that there are so few of them. Between the genesis of the Akatsuki, the hidden history of Shisui Uchiha and a look back into the past of Naruto’s parents, the escapades are scant and offer very little incentive to replay.

And it’s a damn shame. More than anything else, a properly fleshed out Ninja Escapade mode would have been a killer addition. But instead, it comes off as a stray thought which was added in at the last minute for the game.

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Then, we’ve got the main event for NS:UNSR. The Ninja World Tournament has you choosing a main character and heading off to see who has the skills to be considered the most powerful shinobi out of all the hidden villages, with battles being either the traditional one on one fights or fatal fourway where health bars are replaced by orb bars. Collect the most orbs by beating the tar out of your opponents within a set time limit, and you’ll win the match. Easy as that.

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And after being teased with a third-person mode in previous games, NS:UNSR goes all the way with this idea in the Ninja World Tournament. It’s a great idea, but one that is executed in a clumsy manner with the free-for-all battles becoming chaotic arenas of jutsus flying everywhere and attacks having little to zero strategy whatsoever, something that flies in the face of the spirit of shinobi battles in Naruto. These are fights where moves are planned ten steps in advance, but in NS:UNSR, they’re exercises in button-mashing futility.

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The novelty quickly wears off, with the progression system through the five tiers of the tournament offering little interest or value thanks to stilted dialogue and missions which are a chore to accomplish. Once you conquer this mode however, you gain access to Mecha-Naruto mode. A brand new character, Mecha-Naruto is a robot looking for answers, through a more traditional story mode that is filled with even more clichés and boring sequences that will have you skipping through them as quickly as you can.

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The thing is, in spite of all this flaws and arguments, the core gameplay of NS:UNSR is as good as it ever was. The 1v1 system isn’t broken and while the new additions aren’t the revolution that fans were promised, are welcome. It’s a system that works well for online play, but the 100+ characters on the roster also means that some ninja are going to be severely over-powered.

I want to like the game, I genuinely do. But I’ve been playing them for over five years now, and the growth has been incremental at best. The visuals are a massive high point as always, boasting superb graphics that shouldn’t be possible on older hardware such as the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

But for returning fans, it’s another Naruto game that can easily be skipped. Newcomers on the other hand, might find something worth their while here.

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Last Updated: October 2, 2014

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution
Another year, another dip into familiar waters with a game that isn't the revolution that fans have been waiting for. Believe it.
Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution was reviewed on Xbox 360
62 / 100

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • Admiral Chief 0

    Llew’s wet dream…

  • Umar

    Going downhill 🙁

  • Thami540

    oh well …digs the young Kakashi x Obito background

  • Hammersteyn

    “Another year, another dip into familiar waters with a game that isn’t the revolution that fans have been waiting for. Believe it.”
    COD or BF?

    • Diego Bórquez

      Battlefield at least keeps it in a 2 year cycle. But yeah, close to being CoD

  • Matthew Holliday

    “solid combat system”
    different is not necessarily better.
    tried the game at a friends, hated the combat. way too complicated.
    same with the new dbz games, this free range motion is just distracting. sure it adds another dimension to the game, but its sloppy and the combo moves even limit creativity… its no longer about fighting skill…

    even the areas outside of combat are bad. feels like im playing pokemon, but without the pokemon.

    if i had bought this game, Id have been mad. even on the 50% off steam specials.

  • Shame man. This is the reason that being a game reviewer is not always the sparkles that everyone makes it out to be. Get Darryn a drink people!

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Sparkling wine?

  • Travis

    Can someone please review the Falling Skies game. Not sure when it comes out though. Thanks.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Isn’t it out on Steam now? I hope it’s better than the series. Much much better – then it’ll at least be average.

      • Travis

        Oh, the series is my 2nd favourite series. Dont think the game will be that good though.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          Really? The writing is terrible. It’s like the writers decided to merge soapie-level decision making & family drama with every sci-fi trope they could think of & then shot it full of magic bullets. Other than that it’s not bad. 😉

          I watched seasons 1 to 3 a couple of months ago. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the fact I love sci-fi & the seasons are only 13 episodes long I would have given up.

          • Travis

            lol. Im sorta addicted to these post apocalyptic sci fi series. I think the writing is really good by the way, the characters are deep, i like the face that it starts after the invasion has already happened. I think Spielberg knows what hes doing. I do however feel its not as good as it was in the beginning seasons 1 and 2 are the best, 4 is the worst so far.

            Please tell me you like Dr Who. thats my favourite. I have been watching the episodes from the 1960’s black and white recently. Even the old episodes are good. Cheers.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            lulz You’re making me feel bad now because we have very different tastes. Rince made me watch an episode of Dr Who a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t really like it, was just too light & fluffy for my taste.

            I’ll give Falling Skies one piece of writing credit, as at the end of season 3 they still hadn’t told us why the aliens actually invaded & whatnot. They had the perfect opportunity when Tom was taken to the Overlord & he refused to tell him. Otherwise I like the characters, the overall story & the effects – it’s just… what they do with them 😉

          • Travis

            Dr Who is isanely good, but you have to watch a lot of episodes in order to get into it. It is light and fluffy but also very thought provoking and the plots are killer, spanning and linking 50 years. i mean half the reference’s people miss its that intense you have episodes being linked to each-other that go 30 years back etc.

            Anyway Im rambling.
            Pls tell me what are your fav sci fi series for interest sake.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            It’s a toss up between the BSG remake & Firefly for top position, also enjoyed various Stargate series. Defiance is my favourite that’s currently airing, along with Orphan Black & Person of Interest. Really looking forward to the upcoming series based on James SA Corey’s Expanse books, because those were good. I’ve also just started watching Farscape, which isn’t half bad.

          • Travis

            Farscape is excellent, especially the last series and end. There are a few dud and filler episodes, but the whole thing is really good. Im embarrassed to say that I still need to watch Firefly.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            I’m just finishing up season 2. I remember in one of the first episodes of the season he still asked Aeryn if she thought he seemed to be acting normally, just out of the blue – and I’d noticed his personality had changed a bit from 1 to 2. Then the whole brain-chip thing came out much later. Brilliant.

    • CAE9872

      I have a feeling it has been looked at/reviewed by Giant Bomb website – seems to be a lot of microtransactions? Please note I think it was this game…

  • ReaperOfSquirrels

    Have the first 3 on the Xbox 360… haven’t gone any further than that… mainly because I’d hate to be totally disappointed by them.

  • CAE9872

    Cannot say it was too much of a surprise. I think just too many of them so they all become one.

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