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Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden review

AT A GLANCE
  • Looks good for PS2
  • Ultimate Jutsu still rocks
  • Lots of characters
  • Repetitive platforming
  • Button mashing
  • PS2 load times

You can always count on the Ultimate Ninja series to provide flashy, over-the-top kung-fu craziness with each installment, and Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden certainly delivers the fireworks … for a PS2 game. But even if you’re a Narutophile, you should consider how deep your love for lil’ whiskers goes before investing in this one. For a franchise all about fighting, the recent Naruto games have been a bit too heavy on platforming and exploration, and Ultimate Ninja 4 is no exception.

Before you get to the main world hub, you’ll have to slog through the Black Shadow story arc, a brutally tedious campaign which consists of jumping from block to identical block, breaking open barrels for nearly useless items and fighting hordes of mindless drones who challenge only your ability to tap the circle button. It’ll be almost two hours before you hit your first boss, and he’s such a letdown that you may not have the drive to keep going afterward. It’s a shame, because the game gets much better when the focus returns to the flashy 1-on-1 ninja fights that made the series so popular. These are the highlight, and we wish there were more of them.

It’s nice that in making sequels, Namco Bandai isn’t merely pumping out the same fighting engine with only minor tweaks, characters and cutscenes. However, adventuring and multi-man brawling isn’t something the Ultimate Ninja series excels at. Without the smoke and mirrors of next-gen visuals, the Ultimate ninja series on the PS2 is beginning to lose its draw. Not that we’re graphics snobs - it’s just that all anime fans know how disappointing it is for a ninja to hide his full potential.

Fans will like that the plot picks up alongside the Naruto Shippuden anime series, beginning with the Black Shadow arc and slipping in some game-exclusive storylines along the way. For those unfamiliar with the Shippuden timeline, Ultimate Ninja 4’s main story has you playing as a slightly older (if just as hyperactive) version of ol’ fox-boy, and a significant amount of story has already transpired.

You can collect “Pieces of Memory” to unlock helpful expository materials, but it’s a bit odd; you have to get pretty far the main story if you want to collect enough Pieces of Memory to get caught up on what you were supposed to know in the first place. If you’ve been following the anime series religiously, have no fear. However, anyone unfamiliar with the exploits of Team 7 and Co. would be better off going with an earlier game in the series - one with fewer threads to pick up and maybe a stronger focus on the fighting. Or, just save your money so you can upgrade to a next-gen system – it’s time.

Apr 9, 2009

More Info

Release date: Mar 24 2009 - PS2 (US)
Available Platforms: PS2
Genre: Fighting
Published by: Namco Bandai
Developed by: CyberConnect 2
Franchise: Naruto
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Cartoon Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes
PEGI Rating:
12+

12 comments

  • jscriber100 - September 18, 2010 1:19 p.m.

    this game is pretty good.i like how every character that grew up is a lot stronger,but the storyline is too short and the 2D gameplay gets repetitive.
  • Cloud1Fair3 - August 28, 2009 5:43 p.m.

    Dude, people are too harsh on thier judgement of games nowadays, I had a great time with this game, I admit it's not amazingly in depth, but the main focus is fighting and it was cool to mix it up with an Uzamaki Chronicles feel to it. Oh well that's just me, I just think with the new gens out people judge everything too harshly.
  • lancelot110 - June 17, 2009 5:57 a.m.

    There old games from Japan
  • garrag - April 30, 2009 6:44 p.m.

    CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am personally a Naruto fanatic I love Naruto to death!!!! I Sold like 12 of my games just so i could get this (I have no money right now to spend on games.) And For what? Like 4 new characters? less than 3 hours and i have beat the storyline? The real SASORI is not even in the GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This game should die, die, die. Even Naruto Ultimate ninja (the first one) was better!!! Seriosly i want to hunt down the makers of this game and slice of their freakin heads!!!! ummmm.... Will Sasori's true form ever be in a game??? (if it already is some one pls tell me wich game so i can go get it instead!)
  • lucashintz - April 10, 2009 7:41 p.m.

    I agree with the review. the fist two hours suck horribly, it does get better but it ends abruptly. Also it doesn't even finish the first shippuden arc. The bulk of the content seems to be more about exploreation and colecting things. This games really only good for wasting time but with tons of characters and stages its good for multiplayer too. Also(again) I think this is actually better than naruto storm for some reason.
  • Cyberninja - April 9, 2009 11:07 p.m.

    then why did you read the review?
  • lancelot110 - June 17, 2009 5:56 a.m.

    Just in case any of you didn't know these games (Ultimate Ninja) are about 3 years old every time they come out except the latest ps3 one. I believe sasori is in the next one but again its ps2 so i would just wait for them to make the next ps3 version it will likely be shippuden. Im an avid naruto reader and watcher so i kinda look these things up lol.
  • 9thBuhamut - April 13, 2009 9:01 p.m.

    Shadinga! Your future is death! Hhahahahaha so fuckin funny!
  • Dadyo238 - January 16, 2012 8:56 p.m.

    Sharingan, dumbass!!
  • Maxstats69 - April 12, 2009 1:22 a.m.

    The 3rd installment was probably the most fun I ever had playing a 1v1 fighter with a handful of friends. I imported it from Japan years ago and used the slide card to play it on a U.S. PS2. Awesome game, get that one instead.
  • manaconda - April 10, 2009 3:36 a.m.

    maybe for the same reason i read the homie rollerz review. for the sheer joy of it.
  • Vicmasta97 - April 9, 2009 10:34 p.m.

    i hate naruto but im the first to comment im a very confused person

Showing 1-12 of 12 comments

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