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NARUTO TO BORUTO: SHINOBI STRIKER Review

Edited by: Chiara Burns

You better believe it!

Naruto and his friends are back, and this time their children are with them as well. Unlike in the Ninja Storm series, in this title, we don’t follow our beloved characters through their own journey, but finally get to do something fans have been asking for for years—we get to create our own ninjas!

Right off the bat, the customization options in this title are spectacular. The ability to create our own ninja is pretty neat in and of itself, but Soleil really went the extra mile to offer as much customization as possible. Not only do players (of course) get to pick the gender of our character, but even their village of origin! There are five or so different height settings as well as several dozen options for facial features and hair!

Not all of them are immediately available. However, all colors are. Eye, skin, hair, and accessory colors can be changed at any time. Choosing a village of origin determines your shinobi’s starting gear, but don’t worry—as soon as you start doing missions and skirmishes, you’ll be receiving some sweet loot to mix it up!

Learning from the best

In order to ‘explain’ the presence of older/dead characters, Shinobi Striker has a clever solution: a VR library. Missions are done in a VR environment, meaning that younger ninjas and older missions are available at any time.

The same goes for the VR Masters. These are the teachers your shinobi will be learning from. There are over a dozen available and more expected as DLC later on. To begin with, only the original team of Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke are available as teachers (plus Anbu Yamato for some reason), and the rest are unlocked by leveling them up, as well as completing missions.

Speaking of missions, they are the PvE element in the title and can be completed alone or in teams of up to four. Most missions are easily doable alone, but they are definitely easier with more players, especially in the beginning when your shinobi only has a small selection of skills. These missions are the closest thing this title has to a storyline—each mission is its own event, comes with narration and often a fair bit of dialogue, but overall there isn’t a coherent, continuous storyline. That said, the missions are well varied and challenging in their diversity.

Bring it on!

The main part of Shinobi Striker is, of course, the PvP play. Here, two teams of four players compete for the win. The fights take place in the different villages we know from the Naruto franchise. Each battle is assigned a randomly chosen map with a random time of day, be it morning, day, or night.

Shinobi Striker has 5 PvP modes: ranked and unranked all-out brawls, flag battles, base battles, and barrier battles. Each has their own set of rules, but they are pretty standard. Capture the flag or hold the base aren’t unique concepts, but they are nevertheless great fun.

As for the music and sounds, they too are a little generic. Voice acting is solid and at the level we have come to expect from Naruto games, and background music and sound effects are extremely reminiscent of the Naruto anime series. They get repetitive after a while, but they are atmospheric and suit the game quite well.

Battling it out

As for the actual playing, this title allows players to choose one of four roles: Attack, Ranged, Heal, or Defense. Each of the roles has specific jutsus, skills, and weapons. This can, unfortunately, mean that your favorite weapon and your favorite jutsu can’t be used together, but there are always alternatives.

Three jutsus plus a substitution skill are equipped at any time and can be swapped out between battles. The same goes for weapons and other equipment: kunais, seals, and the like. The clothes in the title are more than just cosmetic, they offer small boosts, such as shortening cool-down times or increasing movement speed.

This can lead to some ‘interesting’ clothes combinations if you choose them based on your battle needs! The alternative is to ignore these boosts altogether and to simply wear clothes that look good together. This is pretty easily done because Shinobi Striker offers well over 400 different items, each with up to 8 different variations in pattern or color.

Imperfect Paradise

Despite being an altogether fun title, Shinobi Striker has a few issues. First and foremost is the battle system. There matchmaking isn’t balanced in any way, so it’s not uncommon to see level 5s battling against level 73s. This isn’t technically a problem, as leveling up doesn’t impact any stats or skills, but it is very much indicative of inexperienced players competing against pros.

During the battles themselves, camera views and positions can be troublesome. Thanks to the shinobis’ inherent chakra, they can run up and down any wall (within the constraints of the decently sized maps), however, when fighting very close to said walls, players can find themselves pulled up and out of their combos, often accompanied by disrupting camera movements.

The PvP maps are pretty but few in number, and after a while they can feel repetitive. The missions offer a slightly greater variety of maps, but if Soleil ends up adding a few additional maps, this issue could be solved easily.

7

The Verdict: Great

Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker is a solid and fun title with some flaws. The gameplay is fun, the missions varied, the customization options spectacular, and the ninja creation just wonderful. However, there are some issues that make it less than perfect. The PvP play, in particular, harbors most of these issues, such as flawed matchmaking, awkward camera angles, and the somewhat limited maps.

Melanie Hawthorne
Written by
September 11, 2018
Published in Action

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Mel is a London-based copywriter that has been writing about video games for a few years now. After growing up in Vienna, Austria she followed her dreams and moved to London. Said dreams took her through a few different jobs (which included working as a web developer, shopkeeper and translator) before she settled on what she really wanted to do – periodically anger video game fans by expressing her opinions on games through various online publications. When she’s not writing about video games, she’s probably playing them... or walking her dog in a park. Since that depends largely on the English weather, Mel has plenty of time to indulge in her favourite games. These include but are not limited to Ark: Survival Evolved, Skyrim, GTA V, and oddly enough, Amnesia: Memories. She loves Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. She thinks Star Trek is way better than Star Wars and isn’t afraid to admit it – Live long and prosper!

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