HomeReviews3/5 ReviewNARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS Review

NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS Review

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What NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS has reminded me is that every day is a school day, as before I embarked on this review, I wouldn’t have known a Naruto if I’d fallen over one. Now, after playing, I’m far from an expert, but I can at least recognise Naruto at fifty paces. So that’s progress, right? 

Anyway, coming from CyberConnect2 and Bandai Namco, NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS looks to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Naruto’s anime debut. So, let’s head on into a world of ninjas, magic powers and many enemies to fight…

NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS review 1
NARUTO X BORUTO

Story is where we will call in first, and there is a lot of it to go at, what with some two decades of history to take in. And what this appears to be is a kind of greatest hits compilation, something like Now That’s What I Call Naruto if you will. The tale follows Naruto and the rest of Team 7 from their early days, right the way through to the special new story chapter that was written for this game. Now, as a complete newbie to the series, I appreciated the history lesson, but the question remains as to whether Naruto veterans would have rather had more new content, rather than a rehash of what has gone before. Still, one thing I can’t complain about is a lack of story, so all is good in this area. 

One thing to touch upon is the vast range of fighters that you can choose from; apparently this is the biggest roster in any Naruto game. With an additional ten fighters added, the roster is now up at an unbelievable 130 fighters to choose from. Even if a lot of them are different flavours of Naruto and Boruto, that is still a lot of fighters. More than I have a prayer of learning the moves for, anyway!

Presentation is next on my reviewer’s big list of things to cover, and here the news is also pretty awesome. In the History mode and Story modes in general, the action is split into two defined types – there are actual battles, where you take the part of various people with specific conditions placed upon you, and then there are chapters of the story that are pretty much just lifted from the anime, helping explain what is happening. The voicework and the presentation of these cutscenes is very good. 

When it comes to the actual battling, this is played in a third person arena battle kind of style, the emphasis very much on movement. The enemies are all cartwheeling about the place like the floor is lava and will burn their feet clean off if they dare to stay in contact with it for too long. As such, actually getting into a fight with the baddies is pretty tricky. However, the animation is lovely and smooth, and the special effects when you pull off the various moves that everyone has tucked up their respective sleeves look suitably spectacular. I’ve been suitable impressed by the sound too; it is all very good as well, with the various noises of fisticuffs making the expected meaty thumps and impacts. 

NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS review 2
If you’re familiar with the Naruto scene

So what about the gameplay? Unfortunately we are going to have to start with a big drawback, huge even – the online mode either doesn’t work, or there is not a soul in the world playing NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS. It makes no difference if you choose Ranked or Casual, there is no matchmaking happening anywhere. I spent time looking around the internet to make sure I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but the reviews on the Xbox Store are full of people who have the same issue. What this means is that if a bit of online fighting is your bag, please bear this mind. Obviously, with no functioning multiplayer, I have been unable to test this portion of the game. 

In single player, the story is a lot better. Starting with the tutorial and moving into the History mode, there are a lot of things to remember. Feeling cocky, I eschewed the simple controls that were offered to me, opting to go for the full fat fighting game experience. I used to be able to do 10 hit combos in Tekken 2 so surely a simple anime based fighting game would hold no terrors? Well, it did, and I am a lot slower than I used to be, it appears!

The timing of button inputs is crucial, and the fighting action is so fast and frantic that quite often, if you are anything like me, you’ll do attacks that you didn’t mean to do, but that look pretty cool anyway. One of the caveats of the History mode is that there are various restrictions placed upon you, such as locking away powerful Awakening moves. These make the fights a bit more difficult, but the action is pretty enthralling and will certainly keep you playing. Winning a fight, and then watching the cutscene that goes with it is a proud feeling, and with optional objectives to go for (such as completing the fight with more than 60% of your health uintact, for instance) there is always a reason to come back and try again. 

NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS review 3
A cracking single player, let down by the online

There is a mountain of customisation to wade through as well. In fact, there is everything from giving Naruto Cat Ears (and who wouldn’t want their ninja avatar to look like a cat, eh?) through to whole new costumes and so on and so forth. I imagine being able to differentiate your Naruto online would be a big bonus, but as we can’t get online, it all seems like a bit of wasted effort. 

What we have here is almost half a game – you can play through the single player side of things until you are blue in the face but forget wanting to test your skills against others online; it’s a graveyard out there. If you are happy to play alone, then I can recommend NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS as the Ultimate Naruto game, with a lot of content and fighters to go at. But without a functioning online section, this seems like a missed opportunity. 

I’m not angry, just disappointed.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Looks and sounds great
  • Loads of single player content
  • More fighters than you shake a stick at
Cons:
  • The battling can get samey, trying to close an enemy down is tedious
  • Online play is a big issue
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Bandai Namco
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 17 November 2023 | £44.99
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Looks and sounds great</li> <li>Loads of single player content</li> <li>More fighters than you shake a stick at</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>The battling can get samey, trying to close an enemy down is tedious</li> <li>Online play is a big issue</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Bandai Namco</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 17 November 2023 | £44.99</li> </ul>NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS Review
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