It’s always a great feeling when I see AAA game developers supporting the Nintendo Switch. Even if the games they are putting on the system are ports of existing games I could have or likely did play years prior. Portability was a big selling feature for me personally when I decided to pick up my Switch and to be able to enjoy three top tier fighting games from one of my favourite anime series it’s cemented the Switch as one of my favourite consoles I’ve ever owned.
The Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy contains the first three Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm games (Ultimate Ninja Storm, Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 and Ultimate Ninja Storm 3: Full Burst) together in one package on the Nintendo Switch for the first time. All three of these titles were originally released on last generation consoles and PC via steam but this is the first time they have featured on a Nintendo console or been portable.
Unfortunately it doesn’t include the complete Ultimate Ninja Storm series as the 4th game isn’t included. Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 was developed for current generation systems using an updated game engine and seems it may not be as easy a process to get it running on the Switch. Fingers crossed though that we may one day get it on the system.
As mentioned, the titles included in this trilogy are games from last generation and there hasn’t been a noticeable difference graphics wise with the Nintendo Switch version compared to what I remember playing many years ago. This wasn’t a deal breaker for me by any means but is worth mentioning if you thought you might be getting a modern day remastering of the Ultimate Ninja Storm game’s. This collection also includes the previously released DLC packs for the titles bundled in. The target audience for this port seems to be people that never had the chance to play the game’s when they released last generation and people like me who did play the games but want to experience them again for nostalgic purposes and to have the ability to play these game’s on the go for the first time.
As with many anime tie-in games, they not only allow you to play a game as some of your favourite characters from the series but they also let you play through the core narrative of the series too. The Ultimate Ninja Storm games are no different and unlike a lot of tie-in games it does a pretty great job at presenting the core story arcs and themes from the anime. Of course there are sequences that are shortened down and smaller side stories and character development moments that are completely skipped but that is bound to happen when you are faced with compressing the story-line of close to 700 episodes of anime into the story mode of three games.
One big plus many fans will enjoy is that unlike many other anime games, the three of these are full voiced by the English dub voice actors from the anime. If you’re a fan of Naruto, these games offer a nice refresher to the main story beats from the series and if you’re a complete newcomer there is enough here to bring you up to speed with the characters, world and events from the anime series and may just get you interested enough to plunge into the long running anime series yourself.
The first game in the trilogy covers the main story points from the original Naruto series (pre time-skip) covering the first 220 episodes of the series. The second game covers from the start of the time-skip to the end of Pain arc while the final game in the trilogy continues to the fourth shinobi world war arc but contains an original non-cannon ending that was used because the development of the game caught up to where the anime was currently airing.
Each game’s main feature is it’s ‘Ultimate Mission Mode’ which lets you play through the main story of the series while also completing numerous side quests in between for other villagers of Konohagakure where you are able to free roam and traverse the main village and other key area’s from the series. The game’s also feature an online mode that allows you to participate in online and ranked battles with others around the world.
Once you understand the mechanics of the fights you’ll easily be able to transfer those same skills over to any of the playable characters, and there’s a lot of them. Each character has the same framework of abilities, all able to attack, charge chakra, substitute, teleport and throw projectile weapons. The main difference comes in their individual special and ultimate justu attacks. It’s a case of easy to learn but difficult to truly master. You’ll find yourself trying out different combinations of main and support characters to find the fighting style that suits you best.
Each entry in the trilogy gains more playable fighters over it’s predecessor which is expected as the large roster of characters in the Naruto series seems to never slow down. The second game includes 44 playable fighters while in Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 you’ll enjoy a roster of over 90 characters, some of which are transformation forms of various characters containing tweaked move-sets.
One big drawback that I ran into while playing was it’s varying performance. At times it ran like a dream but in others, especially the large scale, high impact boss sequences there was some noticeable slow down and frame rate drops experienced in both docked and handheld mode. This combined with the lack of graphical upgrade may frustrate some buyers or lead them to purchase the trilogy on a more powerful system. Once again it’s not game breaking by any means but does get noticeable the more you play and is worth mentioning. Hopefully there is a future patch coming that may remedy some of these issues.
While there are some noticeable performance and graphical issues with this Nintendo Switch port there’s no denying how much value is up for offer here in the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy. You get three great fighting games from one of the most popular anime series around. Just playing through the main story in each of the game’s will take you over 40 hours. And then you still have online mode and plenty of other reputability options to further unlock other characters and costumes. Bandai Namco have also released the individual games separately on the Nintendo Switch e-Shop so if you wanted to grab just one or two specific entries from the series you’re able to do so but buying the trilogy does come at an overall discount.
Whether you’re a Naruto fan or newcomer, if you want to experience a great set of fighting games on the go the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy is well worth your time.
A Nintendo Switch review code for the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy was provided by Bandai Namco Australia for the purpose of this review.