Title: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst
Platform: PS3, 360, PC
Release Date: PS3, 360 – October 22nd, 2013
PC – October 25th, 2013
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
– Engaging cinematic QTE
– Fast paced gameplay
– Overall fun campaign
– Looks and feels like the anime
– Initial campaign pacing is bad
– PC port is not good; 30fps lock, lack of options
– Massive online connectivity issues
Prices as of March 10th, 2014
Steam $39.99 USD, €39.99 EUR, £ 29.99 GBP
Minimum System Requirements
- OS: Windows XP, Vista, Seven, 8
- Processor: 2Ghz Dual Core or AMD equivalent
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics Card: 512MB video cards (Geforce 8xxx-ATI HD2xxx)
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- Hard Drive: 8 GB available space
- Sound Card: DirectX sound device
Reviewed by FrontalSpy
Naruto is one of Japan’s biggest names in both anime and manga. Recently, the games based on Masashi Kishimoto’s manga, have also become popular, largely thanks to the Ultimate Ninja Storm series from CyberConnect2 and Bandai Namco. There has been 4 titles in the series so far, selling millions worldwide, but exclusively on consoles. In a weird twist, the latest entry in the series has reached the PC – that is the upgraded version. Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3: Full Burst is an upgrade to the vanilla 3, containing more missions, all DLC costumes and a new act. While the games have garnered good reception on consoles, does the latest entry hold up on the PC?
Before discussing the PC port on itself, let’s divulge into the game. Note that there may be spoilers for people that watch the Naturo Shippuden anime.
Following the energetic hero Naruto, defeating Pain and saving the village, the ninja world is in even graver danger. The group, known as the Akatsuki have devious plans to take on the world, and in response the leaders of the villages, known as Kages, have called upon a meeting to discuss such matters. Whilst the meeting is underway, they are attacked by the Akatsuki themselves, namely Sasuke. But he isn’t there for them, he just wants Danzo – the temporary Konoha leader. As things get heated up, the kages are visited by the Akatsuki leader himself, the self-proclaimed Madara Uchiha – one of the greatest shinobis of all time – where he declares war against all the villages in order to capture the two remaining Jinchuuriki (people with tailed beasts sealed within them), Naruto and Bee. The Fourth Great Ninja War. The villages must band together, settling aside their horrendous past, and face the common enemy, who have obtained of the strongest ninja of all time on their side.
The game covers the Five Kage Summit Arc to the climax for the Fourth Ninja War Arc. As of recent, the anime itself has surpassed the game in terms of story. Throughout the game, you will be playing as many of the important and key characters from the Naruto and Naruto Shippuden series. Not only the characters from Konoha, but other villages as they band together to form the Allied Shinobi Forcesand hope to end the Akatsuki threat.
Full Burst is primarily a one on one 3D arena fighter, with the option and use of assist characters. You will be pitted against another character in a reasonably sized arena, throwing punches and special attacks at each other. In Naurto terminology, Ninjutstu, Taijutstu and Genjustsu. The game has a basic control scheme, one button to jump, one to punch, one to throw ranged weapons and one to load chakra. And Chakra is mighty important in the game, it is the basis of all your flashy and useful attacks, such as fireballs and the Rasengan. In order to do so you need to load your chakra and hit punch. Each of these attacks drain your chakra bar, so you need to recharge it before doing more ninjutsu. This also creates a somewhat tactical playing field, where you need to time when to charge up and at what safe distance to do so. Though this doesn’t discredit non chakra attack since they can rack up massive damage through combos.
On top of that are more complex moves; dashing, substitution jutsu, ultimate moves and support characters. Dashing can be a normal double jump or quicker with the addition of chakra. This closes the gap between characters for you to unload a volley of punches or a ninjutsu move. The substitution jutsu is a vital move that allows you to teleport and cancel out of a combo. You then appear behind the opposing character, where you can either retreat or counter attack. It has been changed from previous games; you now have a pre-set bar that allows a maximum of 4 times for it to be used, but the bar does fill up slowly. Ultimate moves require a double load of chakra, but has a prerequisite amount of chakra need, represented by the white line. The Ultimate moves deal massive damage and look incredible. But the reach of these ultimates are usually limited. Support characters add an extra incentive into the battle, to either build up your combo or to protect you. With up to two support characters, they can quickly change the flow of battle, where when the support meter is built up enough they can even take devastating blows for you.
There is a new action gameplay segment in the game similar to Ultimate Ninja Impact. Where you control one character who must advance to a point taking out numerous foot ninja along the way. It is only ever used three times, and while it is fun and adds variety into the game, it is ultimately not executed as well as it should have. It is a nice idea to run around slashing down multiple minions at once, but with how the lock on system works, it falls by the wayside.
The entire gameplay system is rather fast paced and very enjoyable, since CyberConnect2 has been tweaking and perfecting the system since the first game. Everything feels fluid and really accommodates the actual feel of the anime. The attacks are all an accurate portrayal and feel authentic. The ultimate moves are devastating to unleash and are an amazement to watch, even with the small little commentary from the characters during the attack adds so much. Whilst there is so much fun to be had, the game doesn’t really incorporate much skill into the game. Button mashing, whilst not a good way, can lead to some unintentionally cool moves and maybe even a win. The game itself contains over 80 characters, and each one is unique. They all have their own skill set, a defined playstyle that requires some practice if you want to unlock their potential, but nothing too deep.
The game consists of three modes: The campaign, free battle and online. The main attraction of the game is the 13 hour length campaign. Initially, you will only play as Naruto starting off in Konoha where you can run around the village doing side quests. As the game progresses, you will play as other characters in this over world moving from point A to B, just not in the village. While this is a good idea it is poorly implemented in the first few hours. As the game and story advances, you only have a linear path to follow and even then it only takes a few minutes. That’s where some of the problems occur, pacing.
The initial pacing of the campaign is bad. The game gives you this path to walk on that only lasts 20 seconds, where you will then be in a cutscene. Having multiple cutscenes in a row is fine, but having a tiny playable section that doesn’t need to be there? That doesn’t feel right. Additionally, when you do get a battle that too is usually over quickly. It is then followed up by more cutscenes and another 20 second walk to the next area for another cutscene. It’s just bad and has no flow. Towards the halfway part of the game, when the War starts it is much, much better. You will have longer and more varied fights, cutscenes don’t feel out of place and you don’t need to walk ten steps for some random exposition.
And when the campaign is done and dusted, there is still more to play. Granted it isn’t anything amazing. There are side missions you can do, which range from fighting Naruto’s peers, to collecting frog stones, to running around the entire world doing errands. The latter being as fun as it sounds. While they have added hundreds of new missions in the Full Burst pack, it’s nothing to get excited for. It is dull and requires minutes of backtracking through empty terrain and through one set path. The campaign also includes a two choice progress system; where you pick throughout key moments in the story to choose between a hero or legend option. Each have a palette of items you can use. Hero includes the use of recovery items while legend focuses more on offensive items. This item palette is also used in the other modes, though it is very limited and are pre-set.
The other single player mode is free battle. Here you can set up battles against the AI, and set up matches between two players. Yes, the game does support local multiplayer. You can set up a tournament competition between players and AI or just battle it straight up. There is also a practice mode where you can practice your combos, skills and powerful combinations. There is no straight up tutorial, but there is a combo list available at all times during battle.
The Full Burst expansion also adds an entire new arc to the story, featuring Itachi, Sasuke and a new playable character: Kabuto. Whilst it is just one boss fight, the entirety of the arc itself is well produced and well written. You also get all the alternate DLC costumes for most characters, a small consolation prize if you will.
In regards to the game looking amazing, the Quick Time Events in this game are done right. After a stressful battle you are given a QTE that resembles intense fights from the anime, where you unleash over the top attacks, scream at the top of your lungs and do some pretty awesome stuff. These cinematic QTE are how the system should be done, they are sparse and reward the player with some of the most amazing and fan creaming events in the game.
It’s because the entire game looks amazing. The cell shaded atheistic has been used for many years now for anime based games, and boy do they look the part. It does really feel that you are playing the anime itself. It is smooth, fluid and very vibrant. The arenas themselves are plentiful and have their own beauty. Another thing to praise is the music. They didn’t rip the music straight from the anime, it is all new and done well. Even the menu music itself is simple and great. The music adds so much to the battles, cutscenes and emotional moments.
Now, onto the PC port. It is not a good port mind you. The game is hard locked to 30 frames per second, and any attempt to change it – if you can – will alter the game’s speed. While this is a problem with most game, the game still looks and plays fast even at 30fps. While it is unacceptable it certainly isn’t unplayable. The game does lack graphical options. You have the usual resolution options, windowed or fullscreen and the option for Vsync. Anything else is missing. The only other option is to turn on super sampling AA to 2x. Yep just two times. But regardless, the game ran fine on my setup. The PC port also allows you to rebind keys for the keyboard, though I would recommend using a controller. Whilst the keyboard is somewhat playable, it’s not the optimal way. Also, do note that this is CC2’s first PC game.
The single player experience of the game is pretty solid. The game has the option for Japanese voices and English voices, if that’s your thing. The game looks and feels amazing, and the campaign, while a rocky start, becomes much more enjoyable towards the end. It is all flashy, intense and all you could ask for if you’re a Naruto fan.
Singleplayer Score: 85/100
And what if you’re a fighting game fan and want more out of the game? Well you would be looking at the online and competitive side of the game. Unfortunately the game suffers from online problems. Whilst there is almost no competitive community, you can still find people here and there that play the game. But do note which region you’re in. It wasn’t until recently that the game was patched to allow cross region play, to alleviate connectivity problems.
Yet they still occur. The online portion suffers from connectivity errors, long response times and bad lag. There is a 2 second button delay from my experience, which makes the online portion unplayable. Even connecting with local players online, these issues are still prevalent. And the Steam forums have many threads on such issues.
As for the rest of the multiplayer, there is a card avatar system where you trade your cards when you battle someone. There is also a tournament mode the same as in free battle, and you do have the option to fight in ranked or unranked battles. Additionally, the game does support local multiplayer. You and a friend can sit together and play through the game no problem.
The online portion of the game is a mess. Whilst many people can play the game with no problems, I suffered from massive button delay, lag and general connectivity errors. And it is just not me. If you want to play this online, it is not a great option. The competitive nature is nonexistence, since there are heaps of balance issues and button mashing your way to victory is viable. The longevity of the multiplayer is quite limited.
Multiplayer Score: 30/100
Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst is a fine entry into the series, and is an alright debut on the PC. While it does run smooth, more options would be nice. The single player portion of the game is the shining crown, and the multiplayer is just unplayable. It is a shame, but you can just grab some mates over and play locally.
This game was made for fans of the anime and manga. It looks magnificent, runs smooth and fluid, just like the anime. If you are a fan, this game is a must have. If you are not a fan, or just want a new fighting game, consider this game. Jump into the campaign, and enjoy a fun, intense and engaging experience. The multiplayer, not so much. Dattebayo!
Overall Score: 80/100