Unlike his father, Boruto Uzumaki has no desire to stick to the tenets of the past. Instead, the fiery prodigal son of the Seventh Hokage wants to blaze his own path in spite of his established parentage. The same, sadly, cannot quite be said for Road to Boruto, an expansion pack for last year’s Naruto licensed title that feels more comfortable resting on its laurels, than striking out on fresh new ground like its titular protagonist.
Naruto: The next generation
Road to Boruto enables players to follow the narrative of Boruto: Naruto The Movie which released in cinemas last year, charting the events of that film with a mixture of cutscenes, battles and of course, a fair whack of side-quests to pad things out a bit. Starting with the good stuff, Road to Boruto brings in a raft of new characters that expands Ultimate Ninja Storm 4’s already massive roster of ninja folk even further.
Of that new group, Road to Boruto centres around the children of the Naruto series most iconic figures, with Boruto Uzumaki, Sarada Uchiha and mysterious newcomer Mitsuki in particular being the focus of this new story. Set many years after the events of Kaguya’s defeat at the hands of forever best buds Naruto and Sasuke, Road to Boruto takes us back to shinobi school as we witness the new trio prepare and train for the Chunin exam that will set them on the course to being true ninja, while a more insidious and large scale threat brews in the background.
Where things get especially interesting, is in how we get to witness the rather poor relationship that Boruto has with his famous father, with Naruto being far too busy to give his son any time, it leaves the younger Uzumaki feeling resentful and angry thus creating an intriguing plot point going forward. Happily too, Road to Boruto retains the keen sense of exaggerated spectacle and anime style that the Ultimate Ninja Storm series has embraced for years now, with the new content brilliantly matching the presentation of the movie upon which it is based.
More of the same
Where Road to Boruto begins to a falter is in the content that it offers, both in terms of quantity and quality. Despite boasting an all-new storyline, much of the expansion takes place within familiar locales, with the Hidden Leaf Village of Konoha being mostly recycled for this expansion and very little being added into it to meaningfully separate it from how it is depicted in Ultimate Ninja Storm 4.
Speaking of which, those who have put any amount of time into the base game’s adventure mode, will find what exists in between Road to Boruto’s bombastic fights and cutscenes to be dreadfully familiar. Simply put, you’ll be spending most of your time smashing up boxes, buying extra stuff for the in-game collectible gallery and doing a series of largely pointless and simplistic side-quests that just aren’t consistently satisfying enough to stand on their own.
This is a problem because in Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 proper, the adventure mode was an entirely optional extra mode that you could engage with in addition to the main story campaign, so folks who didn’t fancy all the filler busywork which that mode embraced could sidestep it entirely if they wanted and still get a decent amount of game for their buck.
In Road to Boruto, if you don’t touch that content than the longevity of the expansion shortens dramatically. Indeed on its own, the entire story campaign is able to be completed in just a couple of hours. Essentially then, if you’re not invested Road to Boruto’s selection of side-quests, nailing S-ranks and extracurricular activities (and to be fair, there is a decent amount of it), than the question of value all of a sudden becomes a deeply pertinent one when that $19.99 price tag is staring you in the face.
On the other hand, if you lapped up all that side story content in the main game then you will find a great deal to love here since upon completion of the expansion campaign scenario, many more unique events and additional quests become available; adding on a good few extra hours onto Road to Boruto’s duration in the process.
For fans desperate to know what happens next in the Naruto canon, Road to Boruto will likely prove to be an irresistible purchase. For the rest however, who have extensively sampled the original game’s adventure mode and might find little enticement from Road to Boruto’s array of unevenly wrought side-quests, this Ultimate Ninja Storm expansion leaves a little to be desired.