Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Strike was reviewed on PS4 but also available on PC and Xbox One
There have been two anime loves in my life since I was young, one of these being the beloved Naruto… Over the years the anime has continued to expand and develop into one of the biggest franchises the world over from manga, TV series, movies and finally (and more importantly) gaming. I can confirm that the team at Bandai Namco, along with developer Soleil have put in great effort into Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker to create beautiful detail with the battle mechanics along with visually stunning backgrounds and character aesthetics. There are definitely areas for improvement which I could see bettering the game over time through updates, however I believe the online Ninja battle royale concept of 4v4 is enough to see most fans of the Naruto franchise prepare to Rasengan their money and invest in this heavily focused multiplayer game. So without further ado, let us delve into the world of Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker!
You are introduced to the game with what I found to be a breath of fresh air to the franchise and that that was the ability to create your own personal Ninja in the all new character creation. All of the hair-styles, eyes, and clothing you will of course recognise from the anime series however, there is sufficient items and customizations to feel that your character was your own and one that could stand out in some way from the rest which was something a number of fans wanted in the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm series. Personally, I just want to be Naruto so my character often resembles one of the team from the anime. But I add some of the great alternate gear, adjust body height, width and add some body markings and you can create yourself as a Ninja originating from one of the five villages on offer.
You enter your village hub area where you are greeted and introduced to the game. The surrounding area is occupied by fellow players and a vast range of familiar faces who manage different areas of the game. You can also find further customizing your character with Tenten, equip new gear and accessories with the strong and fierce Sakura or enter the Hokage estate and impress Naruto himself as you battle other Ninja online with quick matches and in the Ninja World league. There is something for everyone in the village! It is worth noting though that the village has its’ restrictions on movement and where you can travel here is very limited.
The game is not without its faults and with the new customisation and what appears to be a game structured more around multiplayer, the single player area also called the VR Ninjutsu arena headed up by Kakashi felt somewhat empty and reminded me of a first version of another game that I am trying to keep out of this review as it is stated EVERYWHERE! There are of course missions you can complete solo or with others online in the VR arena and you are rewarded with scrolls that are appraised by Tenten to unlock new items and gear. The range of gear and items on offer is huge so you will have a number of hours of gameplay ahead to get the gear you want!
With somewhat of an empty hub and the single player arena lacking it feels like the game is more aimed at online multiplayer ninja battles. You can easily get lost for hours and hours playing online with three other ninja battling another team for dominance as you are pushed to develop your characters stats, gear, accessories and battle tactics on your way to become number one.
Shinobi Striker as far as battle mechanics goes has an intermediate to advance skill level required and is far more in depth than previous Naruto titles, this alone gave me more than enough to want to continue my ninja training to better my skills in battle and become an asset to my team rather than a burden. I was and will continue to be absorbed by this game for months and months to follow as the online battles are something to behold in terms of beauty, and battle excitement. Background visual aesthetics are bright, bold and parts of the land are destructible… Continuing on the journey with the yearning to excel and become the equivalent to a Hokage’s skill level in the game, that is my dream!
There is definite room for improvement, more customizations is something everyone always wants and can be added in updates, the single player VR arena I felt was a little rushed and you can have mentors to teach you techniques in this arena but as they are just VR it doesn’t give you that personal feel that you have had one of the greats train and teach you how to do set moves, just a computer generated person has done it…Yes I know, it is a game!!! The feelings you get from the character teaching you a move is something a lot of people always enjoy and knowing it is just a VR character in a game didn’t feel right.
For a first step in a new direction for the Naruto gaming franchise it is a positive one however, it does have quite a way to go in terms of competing against its other anime counterpart on the gaming level.
Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker is brilliant for existing Naruto fans who want to have thousands of online battles and enjoy the brilliant gaming mechanics and artistic aesthetic beauty of the game brought by Bandai Namco and the team at Soleil. For new fans that love anime and are new to the franchise, if you enjoy multiplayer fighting games it is a winner.