Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections Review (PS5) – Naruto is one of those franchises that is well known even outside of the anime scene. He has been around for 20 years now, and his fan following is completely dedicated to the franchise. With milestone anniversaries usually come celebrations that match. However, Naruto doesn’t receive the level of celebration worthy of the namesake.
Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections Review (PS5) – A Disappointing 20-Year Celebration of A Beloved Franchise
One of the biggest selling points for Storm Connections comes with featuring the entire storyline for both the Naruto and the Boruto series. This franchise contains tens, perhaps hundreds, of fights near and dear to the hearts of its fans. Unfortunately, this mode lacks the kind of attention and investment that the franchise deserves.
First, it’s worth mentioning that this franchise requires a great deal of effort to compress into one game without bogging it down. With that said, the entirety of what the game calls History mode consists of screenshots from the anime with almost Wikipedia-like descriptions of the most significant moments in the franchise. At times, a narrator reads the description, which adds a little bit of intrigue, but the majority of History mode is reading matter-of-fact retellings.
For a game intended to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of Naruto, the content put in Storm Connections lacks much inspiration. A potential saving grace for some will be that you can still participate in the big fights along the way. Honestly, without the buildup that comes with the shonen genre, these fights just feel like arcade matches.
Game Extras and Special Story
Looking at the success of Dragonball Z Kakarot, a similar game in the Naruto universe would have celebrated the future Hokage much better. On that note, Special Story does bring a new experience to the franchise, focusing on Boruto. Special Story lasts about five hours or so, not overstaying its welcome, and brings in plenty of the heavy hitters from the franchise complete with a rather emotional ending.
At the same time, the creative choice to let you choose any random character in featured fights disconnects you from the situation at hand. Unlike the History model, the scenes here are acted out and voiced, giving the full experience the franchise has to offer.
Free Battle brings a few other options, like forming a tournament, league battles of teams you form, and even a survival mode to see how long you can last. Outside of that, you have Online Battle, consisting of only ranked or casual matches. Considering online doesn’t include rollback netcode, you’re at the complete mercy of your opponent’s connection.
The one strength on offer is the flashy, engaging combat that fans have come to know and love. The camera never gets away from the action either. While usually locked behind your character, it will stay put if you move far away from the camera. You don’t get turned around, but you can momentarily lose your character until you get used to the function and familiar with the cast.
The coolest addition to the game comes with its simplistic controls. If you want, you can just press Circle to execute complex combos versus knowing complicated button sequences. Then, when conditions line up, the button sequence for special finishers and attacks pop up on the screen. This helps make combat more accessible as well as convenient to all players.
The only other worthy talking point is levelling your characters. No matter what you do, you earn experience for a character no matter where you use it. For instance, if you play Ino Yamanaka in both online and History, her earned experience contributes to one experience pool. So, there’s no need to level each character in each game mode.
However, the complete package lacks the meat on the bones to validate the $60 price tag. As it stands, Storm Connections is an attempt to avoid cost while still delivering a game with online components and cosmetic microtransactions.
Fun, Flashy Combat With Only Special Story to Warrant A Purchase
Recommending Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections to anyone at the $60 full price is a very hard sell. With a basic slideshow presentation in History mode, not much else is on offer outside of other basic game modes. Yes, Special Story is a good time with decent production, but that alone is not worth the cost of admission. This is not a bad game by any stretch, but it’s one I can only recommend after a deep sale.
Review code kindly provided by publisher.