Republished on Wednesday 1st June 2022: We’re bringing this overview again from the archives following the announcement of June’s PlayStation Plus lineup. The unique textual content follows.
For the uninitiated, Naruto is an extended working manga collection printed within the weekly Shounen Soar periodical straight out of the Land of the Rising Solar. Naruto has been steadily printed since 1997, and has since turn into a world phenomenon standing with the greats like Dragon Ball, One Piece, and Hunter x Hunter, et al. Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker is the latest entry in Naruto’s lengthy historical past of video video games. Becoming a member of a roster of roughly 60 different entries, Shinobi Striker brings a lot to the desk, however does it hold with the remaining? We reckon Shinobi Striker solidifies itself within the Naruto collection as one thing fairly distinctive, and one thing that’ll certainly be an affect on future titles.
Shinobi Striker takes place chronologically between the occasions of Naruto Shippuden and Boruto: the Subsequent Technology, and is an open area combating sport with a robust emphasis on traversal. The sport means that you can both create your individual avatar or play as a ‘grasp character’, returning greats from the collection that’s been going for about 20 years. You additionally get to decide on your position by many customisation choices, and take to the battlefield in both offline or on-line four-on-four matches to see how you actually stack up.
Fight in Shinobi Striker is a wild journey. As your very personal ninja you may have the flexibility to run on partitions and water, you’ll be able to bounce from wall to wall with wire kunai, and use the surroundings as a software in itself. This makes the fight so wild and excessive that it really seems like a Naruto dream come true. You should be deliberate, considerate, and fast as may be.
Dodging and blocking are paramount, as extra button mashing can result in combos that go away you broad open to enemy assault. Nevertheless, the sport is seemingly a primary of its sort, because it has such an enormous array of roles, abilities, instruments, and weapons, permitting you to tailor your expertise nearly nonetheless you want. You’ll be able to select from 4 key roles: Assault, Vary, Defence, and Heal. These really feel dramatically totally different, as all of them have totally different units of weapons, abilities, and supreme talents that they’ll harness. Sadly, there are some dumb (if slightly enjoyable) glitches that come into play, like clipping into ledges and the like, however hopefully these are mounted with upcoming patches.
The sport is taken into account on-line always, though for solo play there nonetheless stays the flexibility to play ‘VR missions’. These are what the sport considers its ‘story mode’ regardless of the very fact it is bereft of any constant story. Nevertheless, you’ll be able to not less than get a ton of outing of those missions with out ever touching the net modes. The offline modes saved us busy for quite a lot of hours simply attempting to stage up our avatar, unlock new VR Masters (a selected character from the collection that imparts new abilities, costumes, and extra), and gather new scrolls (this sport’s tackle loot packing containers).
On paper this appears very lower and dry, an on a regular basis affair, however in follow, some potential points turn into obvious. The missions have a couple of key facets that may be an actual drag at instances. Cutscenes and dialogue don’t have any choice to skip, which is usually a huge slog when attempting to farm up ryo (in-game forex), and scrolls for brand spanking new gear. Moreover, quests are delivered one after the other, solely by speaking to non-playable characters scattered all throughout the comparatively small hub space within the Village Hidden within the Leaves. One massive subject we bumped into was that often — okay, not often, fairly incessantly — we had a bug the place our subsequent quest giver would not spawn instantly, and we must go away the sport and reload in with the intention to progress.
Regardless of the niggling points, what units Shinobi Striker other than different Naruto video games is the sheer quantity of customisation that it provides. They’re very a lot for followers of the collection, and we spent hours and hours decking out our shinobi to look as edgy as potential. Customisation actually appears to be the driving drive of the sport — it received to a degree the place we could not put down the controller as a result of the compulsion to get extra loot was far too robust.
In fact, if you happen to actually wish to put your totally customised ninja to the take a look at, you’ll be able to at all times go up towards different gamers, hitting the sport’s on-line matches to see the place you stand. Regardless of some matchmaking quirks that may often put our workforce of stage 20-somethings up towards a squadron of stage 60 gamers, it is stable enjoyable.
A quick and frenetic journey, Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker is larger than the sum of its components. Regardless of some voice work that feels moderately flat and a handful of different minor points, the sport feels real in its try to recreate the motion of Naruto, and forging your individual customized character’s legacy is certain to be sufficient to entice followers.