Forget the revolution, I think a more appropriate name for Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution would be Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Celebration. I mean, it’s not as dramatic a name, and conjuring up images of Kool and the Gang’s train horn cheers doesn’t quite stoke the fires of anticipation as much as words that allude to the dramatic bombast of something like Les Misérables, so the marketing bods probably wouldn’t be down, but Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is a celebration.
Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is a celebration of Naruto’s art, of its characters, of its style and of its world. Everything about Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is designed to appeal to, appease, and amuse the Naruto fan from beginning to end.
It’s a breadth thing, you see. Past Shippuden games have often fragmented a portion of the Naruto arc and focused in on it, inviting you to become a part of it. Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is more “Look at all the characters! Look at how they punch each other! Go punch all the characters with all the other characters!”
This is hardly new ground for an anime fighter. The biggest lure of the Dragonball Z Budokai games, as an example, was their similar appreciation for exploring every inch of the material they covered. The Budokai games appealed to fan-fuelled fantasy fight scenarios and spectacle over fine-tuned balance, more an interactive companion brawler than anything else, and that was fine.
Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution appeals to this same franchise niche wonderfully. Simply by investigating its 100 strong cast you’ll find fully realised, combat-ready versions of not only the main cast, but also of many “lesser” or underdeveloped characters, such as the various Jinjuuriki ninjas, and even Naruto’s mother Kushina, a character that’s rarely seen outside of the household in her few fleeting anime appearances.
Oh, and the main cast are fully explored too, don’t worry. Young versions, adolescent versions… most characters get a few guises plucked from key periods of the anime. Kakashi, for instance, has a young version that fights one way, but then his adult form has a number of sub-versions. You can play as Kakashi as he did in the war, who is unrelentingly aggressive, or as Kakashi more up to date, who attacks with dogs. The attention to scratching every possible character itch is, quite frankly, remarkable.
The whole package is given an extra air of authenticity – and more worth as a companion piece – through direct involvement by Masashi Kishimoto, the creator of Naruto. While the Mecha Naruto plot line is his most widely advertised involvement (and, for the record, Mecha Naruto is a highly entertaining character and is, in combat, much further removed from organic Naruto than you might expect), his most interesting work, for fans, will likely be his material that fleshes out existing characters.
Masashi Kishimoto has provided additional, casual outfits for the Akatsuki clan – characters not seen outside their ninja garb before now – and even provided additional insight into existing characters through the game’s “Escapades” (essentially playable episodes), including a rare glimpse of ShiSui’s Susano.
It’s this combination of the fully realised roster, Escapades and original canon content that really makes Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution an un-missable slice of Naruto lore. Again, it doesn’t really feel like a revolution, but a celebration. Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is looking like an exemplary example of its genre in terms of not only complimenting but also adding to the source material.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is due on September 16th, 2014, for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.