Didn't I just review this game six months ago? Well it's been a little bit more than that, but here we are again with another Naruto title. This time around it's the full package, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3: Full Burst, with almost as many letters in the title as there are characters to choose from. So why should you be picking up this version, or upgrading if you already own it? A few compelling reasons, though if you've already moved on to something else, it may not be enough to draw you back in.
Full Burst is most certainly living up to its name, what with all the stuff they've packed in this lower priced entry/DLC package. This comes with all of the DLC costumes that have been released up until this point, some reworking that has been done to streamline the game's story mode, a new character in Sage Kabuto, and a new chapter at the end of the game that continues to follow the Naruto Shippuden story line. I don't want to spoil anything, but it follows that new character who joins the roster and he adds quite a challenge, which is something I picked on the original release for. But I wasn't expecting anything like this. Just a word of advice, stock up on ninja tools, you're going to need them. There are also one hundred new challenges that have been added in to the training mode, which have some pretty nifty awards if you happen to complete them.
If you're picking this up as the DLC pack, your save will carry over and everything you've unlocked previously will still be where you left it, which is always appreciated. What I've listed above though is where the 'new stuff' ends, so what are you left with? Well Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 was a pretty competent title from the get-go, so if you skipped out on the first release, lets cover what you missed because if you played it smart and waited to get this game then you'll definitely be picking up a quality title.
The story covers the latest arcs of the Naruto: Shippuden story line. Which means Sasuke's out to destroy the Leaf Village, along with Madara Uchiha who has declared war with everyone in a mad attempt to control the world, and the Akatsuki are still lurking in the background. It's hyper condensed which I love because it's tough to keep up with any anime series these days, let alone this one. While some of the story segments get a little long in between bouts of gameplay Cyber2Connect did a fantastic job of trimming the fat off the story while still making it palatable. In terms of actual story it gets a bit tough to follow because there are so many factions in play, but while the game installs it actually goes through a history of the Naruto storyline and wraps up right where the gameplay begins which is a nice addition. The Legend and Hero routes have also received a few tweaks, making some of a longer segments of gameplay a little shorter, for a much leaner but more concise experience.
There's been a little bit of an update to the visuals, though it's not a drastic improvement because the game is already a gorgeous title. Most of the work though has gone in to the cutscenes, giving them a bit more visual punch and polish, which I didn't think possible, but if there's one company that can always surprise when it comes to how good a game can look, it's these guys. There are a few times where it felt like there wasn't a difference between watching this game, and seeing the show on TV, which I think speaks volumes to the level of skill these guys possess. The audio has been left untouched, but still features a Japanese and English audio track.
So, should you pick up Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3: Full Burst? If you need something in your library to compete for longest game name, sure. But honestly as a DLC pack it provides a decent addition to your purchase. If you skipped out on the first release of this game back in March, then now would be a great time to pick it up, it's got a lower point of entry and has the added bonus of feeling like a full game. Which isn't to say that the first release wasn't, it's just that the new content and changes makes up a lot of ground where the first game was lacking. Maybe next time the guys at Namco and Cyber2Connect can just hold off on their first release and deliver the full scope of their project a month or two later? Who am I kidding, something like that wouldn't fly in this industry these days.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
In a past life I worked with Interplay, EA, Harmonix, Konami, and a number of other developers. Now I'm working for a record label, a small arm of casual games in a media company along with Gaming Nexus, and anywhere else that sees fit to employ me.