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Preview: Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

You know you’re going to have a good time when you enter a small press room hosted by CyberConnect2 CEO Hiroshi Matsuyama, fully dressed up as a Nine Tails Sage State Naruto. This was exactly what happened to us during the special hands-off presentation of Ultimate Ninja Storm 4. The cosplay was great but the game looked even better.

Sorry for the delay

Mr. Matsuyama kicks off the presentation by apologizing for the delay of Ninja Storm 4. As you might have heard, the game isn’t releasing in 2015 but got delayed until February 5 next year. This delay was bad news for the fans but to make up for the delay, the game will come in a nice special edition including a great Naruto figurine. It even gets better if you know that you’ll get two new and exclusive characters if you pre-order the game in stores. These are Boruto (son of Naruto) and Sarada (daughter of Sasuke). Both characters play a crucial role in the story but explaining it now would take forever. Just note that these two characters might have the same powers as their famous parents. A nice little bonus for those who pre-order if you ask us!

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Visuals close to anime

After this first look at the special edition and pre-order bonuses, it was time for us to see the first screenshots of the new game. Keep in mind that this is the first Naruto game developed only for the current generation of consoles. Thanks to the extra power of the current generation, Naruto has never looked better. The cel-shaded graphics always looked great but now it truly is a playable anime. The team added incredible details to mirror the anime experience. There’s no HUD, transforming the game into a new television episode.

Aside of the lack of HUD, the developers also added new visual effects to mirror the anime even more. An example is the so-called ghost blur which blurs out character’s legs when they run very fast. Aside of that, the auras around the characters also looked very impressive.

It doesn’t stop there however. The characters also got new facial expressions to bring them more alive. We’ve seen some of these new expressions up close and they all looked incredibly detailed. Thanks to this, you’ll see anger, disappointment, courage and other emotions better than ever before.

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Some changes to the combat

This brings us to the second part of the presentation where some of the new combat was demonstrated. Unlike other Naruto games, you’re not picking a main fighter and two support characters. Now, you pick three playable characters that all can be fully controlled. A system similar to Marvel vs. Capcom. To keep things fair however, all three characters share one health bar. This is an important change for the developers since they now have to create a lot of new fighters. The support characters of the previous games are now playable as main characters. Good news for the fans!

That’s not the only innovation however! Since the game wants to mirror the anime, it also has some effects on your elemental attacks. If a character is using a water attack, this attack will get a lot stronger if the character is standing in water. This new mechanism opens up a lot of new ways of fighting. The developers were proud to share this news since it brings a little strategy to the combat.

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Last but not least, the costumes of the characters will suffer wear-and-tear, meaning your clothes will get destroyed over combat if you’re getting a lot of damage. This feature didn’t look that impressive yet since this degradation of costumes is very predictable based on the damage that was inflected but was nice to have nevertheless.

Early conclusion: 

The bad news is that we’ll have to wait a little longer but the good news is that this game might be the best Naruto game ever created. Thanks to the extra power of current consoles, the game really looks and feels like a Naruto anime episode. Everything looks great and the new way of fighting, controlling three characters, looks like a lot of fun as well. We can’t wait to find out if the game can keep up this high quality until the end.

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.