NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS SWITCH ROM - is a comprehensive ode to the world and characters created by Masashi Kishimoto. Its immense cast of playable characters, each with exceptionally well-animated movements, and a heaping handful of maps ripped straight from the anime with loving detail look better than ever before.
NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS (NSP, XCI) ROM + v1.0.1 Update + 5 DLCs
|App Name||NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS|
|Genres||Action, Adventure, Fighting|
|Developer||BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment|
|Region||USA, JPN, ASI|
|Language||USA: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish JPN: English, Japanese ASI: Chinese, Korean|
Like the four Ultimate Ninja Storm games before it, NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS is a comprehensive ode to the world and characters created by Masashi Kishimoto. Its immense cast of playable characters, each with exceptionally well-animated movements, and a heaping handful of maps ripped straight from the anime with loving detail look better than ever before. But no level of source material accuracy can save this absolute mammoth of a game from hollow single-player content and a stale combat system that hasn’t meaningfully changed in fifteen years.
MOST CHARACTERS DRAW THEIR MOVESETS FROM THE SAME SMALL POOL
With 130 playable characters (though many of them are duplicates of main characters, with one or more extra variations of the same person taking up a lot of real estate), choosing a character based on their playstyle is less important than choosing a character you like from the show. That roster sounds impressive, but it actually feels barren as a fan, with only a few characters from Boruto, most of whom are just grown-up versions of other playable fighters. For something that’s billed as a definitive celebration of the whole series, Ninja Storm Connections falls disappointingly short.
Playstyles are generally so similar too that you could swap most characters’ voice lines and models with one another and not see a huge difference. That said, using each character to their fullest potential takes a lot of savvy resource management and patient play, which is where Ninja Storm games shine. Using these special techniques consumes chakra, the Naruto series’ life-granting spiritual essence. On top of that, you’ll also need to keep an eye on your substitution gauge, which allows your character to escape any combo or attack at the push of a button. But you only have four substitutions at your disposal, and using multiple will cause your gauge to refill very slowly. This all adds some extra sauce to the otherwise one-note combat as players dash and jump all over its 3D arenas.
Ninja Storm Connections seeks to further streamline the series’ combat for people who want a more forgiving fighting system by adding in the Simple control mode. By pressing a single button, your character will control itself, deciding when to dash, use special moves, and execute combos, leaving you to simply move and block. It’s great for people who love the show but aren’t into fighting games, but not something that will ever match up to an experienced player. It’s also highly customizable, allowing you to select what’s automated and what isn’t.
Playing online has been pretty smooth thus far – though results will vary depending on your own and your opponent’s internet connection strengths and speeds since Ninja Storm Connections disappointingly doesn’t use rollback netcode like a majority of other contemporary fighting games do, instead opting for a peer-to-peer connection. In most cases, this makes for a less reliable option that often results in a worse online experience. Netcode aside, the multiplayer options offer a solid range of online features including multiple opponent rating systems, with fail-safes for players who disconnect during a match or engage in toxic behavior. For a fighting game with such broad appeal, that’s a fantastic approach to curbing the poor behavior that permeates a lot of the casual arena fighting genre.
CONNECTIONS DISAPPOINTINGLY DOESN’T USE ROLLBACK NETCODE ONLINE
Its single-player story options, on the other hand, are something of a letdown. The History Mode lets you poorly relive the story of Naruto and friends from the beginning of the original series, which follows him as a kid through the end of Naruto Shippuden three years later. Special Story Mode, on the other hand, is a predictable and rarely exciting original story written by series creator Masashi Kishimoto set in the time of Naruto’s son, Boruto, whose own manga series is still ongoing.
I love the world and story of Naruto. Its complex politics, incredibly fleshed-out history, well-defined characters with rich backgrounds, and interweaving relationships are the foundation of why this series has remained so popular over the years. Unfortunately, Ninja Storm Connections’ approach to that story does it no favors. Parsed out like a half-baked flashback, History Mode truncates the events of Naruto and Shippuden in a slapdash fashion. Yes, these games are designed with the fans in mind and most of the people playing through its roughly seven-hour recap will probably already know these events like the back of their hand, but that doesn’t excuse shoddy storytelling.
Instead of cutscenes, subtitled stills from the anime pop up in between the occasional fight, with sound effects like clashing kunai and some sporadic screen-shaking as the only attempts to add flavor. I’m sure it’s challenging to condense entire arcs spanning dozens of episodes into roughly 40-minute-long chapters, but I’m equally sure it could’ve been done in a more interesting way than this. These “movies,” as the game refers to them, are narrated by the Naruto world’s god-like figure, The Sage of Six Paths. This detached perspective, delivered in English via voice actor Michael McConnohie’s hypnotic rasp, is great in a vacuum, but boring in the broader context of a series that involves so many distinct characters and performances by talented voice actors. And that’s if a given movie is fortunate enough to have any voiceover whatsoever.
You’ll rarely hear from the actual characters involved in these moments, which play out more like YouTube lore videos than interesting scenes. Instead, whenever a memorable quote comes up, our disembodied narrator reads it like he’s a teacher reading a book to a group of kindergarteners. In the same way that a poorly-placed repeated flashback can deflate the tension of an intense moment in an anime, so too can a comically offbeat line read. This isn’t through any fault of the narrator’s performance – he’s doing his best with what’s been given to him. This is a fault that sweeps this entire mode’s framing, which is just not a good way to retell this show.
THE STILL “CUTSCENES” PLAY OUT LIKE YOUTUBE LORE VIDEOS
That’s especially true compared to past games, which saw you take a much more active role in playing out these stories. In the case of the first three Ninja Storm games, you controlled a character through an entire open overworld that represented a smaller-scale version of the shinobi world where Naruto is set. It helped reinforce the sense of place that makes the world of Naruto so noteworthy. Layering extra side missions and hidden collectibles on top of that open world further established the sense that you were actually part of it, not just looking on as a passive observer who occasionally picks up a controller to shoot out a Rasengan. That all changed in Ninja Storm 4, and Connections picked the disappointing mantle right back up.
All side objectives and collectibles now come in the form of samey battle objectives, which include a very limited range of tasks like ending a battle with a certain amount of your health bar remaining or finishing your opponent off with a specific type of move. Considering just how many battles you compete in throughout Ninja Storm Connections’ single-player content, you’re likely to see every possible special challenge within the first hour or so.
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