Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm – Full Burst
In a world of fighting games that rely heavily on practice and technique, the Naruto series has always strived to be different and embrace its own mythos. My knowledge of the universe may come second-hand and my patience for shonen’s particular tropes may run thinner the older I get, but one thing remains true: the Naruto world makes for a damn good fighting game.
For those who follow Naruto, the story begins just after the defeat of Pain and Naruto becoming the Hero of Konoha. (For those who don’t, that’s about 450 chapters in.) After so many games in the past starting from the very, very beginning of the tale and only getting a few arcs in, not having to trudge through those early moments to get to the good stuff comes as a great relief. If you’ve never experienced the series, though, watch out. Terms and references come thick and fast, and a newcomer will quickly be completely lost as to why everybody is yelling about Sasuke and Jinchuriki. Fans and newcomers alike, however, will be very pleased once they reach the character select menu in multiplayer. Full Burst boasts a whopping 65 characters to choose from, all with their signature attacks, many with alternate costumes and special teams to play around with.
But it’s not about the story. A game with a name like Ultimate Ninja STORM 3: Full Burst could only be about the fighting. Utilising a 3D battlefield allows the ninjas to actually move like ninjas, able to dash and dodge and teleport about the space with satisfying speed. Taking a leaf from Marvel vs Capcom, each character has three health bars instead of going three rounds. Two support characters can assist you in battle but cannot be switched in, instead requiring a short cooldown period before being able to be summoned once more. The concept is there, but the execution allows for some very cheap tactics that may not appeal to the more seasoned fighter.
Similarly, our old friends the super and ultra attacks are present as well. Rather than boost your meter via landing attacks a la Street Fighter, you instead charge up and release your Chakra through an incredibly simple three-button input. Though the computer is nice enough to not abuse this, fighting in the incredibly laggy online mode is an exercise in frustration with nothing to stop players from spamming these attacks over and over again. Full Burst puts a lot of mechanics like these into its bag – Dynasty Warriors-style action sequences, fights against skyscraper-sized foes, QTE-styled battle cutscenes – but all of them suffer the curse of being a much lighter, less satisfying version of each concept.
This is doubly true with the story missions. Inside missions, you are given the choice to either take the Hero route or the Legend Route, but these really boil down to Easy or Hard paths. Confusing at best and forcing players to run the story twice at worst to gather the experience within each route, strangely going towards boosting your choices of in-battle items. None of this is helped by the inexplicable slowdown encountered all over the place. I counted a dozen times in the first few hours where a character’s lips were moving long after the dialogue was over, and while the battles run smoothly for the most part, apparently the engine dies at the thought of someone running down a hallway without lag. It’s disturbing that these things should still be happening after so many games on this engine.
Griping about the nonsensical story helps nobody, as tempting as that is. The fact of the matter is that Full Burst tried to juggle a dozen different systems and ended up dropping the ball on nearly all of them. If you want a simple, fun fighting game to challenge your mates to that is bears a massive cache of the source material, Full Burst is the game for you. If you’re looking for a game like Street Fighter that focuses on doing one thing very, very well, then it’s best to look elsewhere. This burst may not be full enough for you.
- Huge cast of characters
- Easy system to get into
- Packed with Naruto Lore/story
- framerate issues
- Shallow super system
Written By Aaron Milligan