Video game series finale holds its own

Von Lanier

Fans around the globe have waited three years for the latest and final installation of the Ultimate Ninja Storm game franchise, which was foretold to be the best game of the series yet.

“Naruto Ultimate Ninja 4,” based off the hit anime and manga series produced by Hiroshi Matsuyama, hasn’t failed to deliver in most respects. But to look at it objectively, the game still has some areas that could have used further development.re-ultimate ninja 4

While I fully enjoy the simple and classic-style combat system the franchise has kept consistent throughout the series, it kept me wishing for a better variety of combos from characters that players familiar to the show have been accustomed to using for years now.

Although there are many different move-sets from the vast plethora of characters you get to choose from, some characters are at a natural disadvantage to others because of their available moves, or lack thereof.

The combat system of the game has been refined to include never-before-seen cinematic camera angles during battles and features the most responsive button layout system to date. The battles in versus mode are still short and sweet for the game’s visually over-the-top fighting system but they have also now been extended to three rounds per fight instead of just one for players who prefer a more closely contested experience.

Personally, my favorite part about the newer combat system is that players can now switch between using their active fighter or either of the two other support characters at any point during the fight, which was unheard before and delivers a somewhat faster pace to the already intense action.

For me, the game begins to lose cool points at the quality of the story mode. It is, disappointingly, only six hours long at maximum, but the game offers an adventure mode which fans can follow-up with after trailing off of the main story. The level of detail, especially during the cut scenes of story mode, could use more interactive dialogue and action scenes rather than the still-motion cartoon-style effects that are presented.

The way the story ends with a glance of the future left me wishing there was just one more game to end it all, but longtime fans of the show will be excited to see the introduction of two new unforeseen special characters. The protagonist (Naruto Uzumaki’s son Boruto) and his arch-rival (Sasuke Uchiha’s daughter Sarada) are available for play to those who have preordered the game, as well as Kakashi Hatake as the sixth Hokage.

Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 features the absolute best gameplay of its predecessors, and paralleled with such a large roster of playable characters, it makes it the best of the series so far.

However, as such a huge fan of both the show and the games, I’m still not ready to say goodbye. Some could argue that this game’s sometimes-buggy A.I. and arguably forgettable campaign spoils its chances at being the best of the series, but I disagree. Others could argue that it’s the pinnacle evolution of a franchise that’s been around for many years.

If you’re looking for an action game with a phenomenally developed story, then “Ultimate Ninja 4” might not be where to find that, but if you’re a gamer who enjoys quick competitive bouts with friends, look no further. The versus-mode experience, online or offline, can be enjoyed for hours and hours by all ages.

I don’t think this should be the final game of the series, but it comes close to taking the cake as the best yet. Hopefully it isn’t the last we’ll see from the Leaf Village and the world of Shinobi.