Review: Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker

 

There are so many anime fighting games coming out, some of them make it in this huge list, but not every anime game is equally good. Where will Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker be placed?

At Gamescom this year I got to play  Jump Force  and  One Piece: World Seeker  . Both games felt great. Naruto to Boruto is one of the games that I didn't have any prior experience with at Gamescom. The game starts in the universe where Naruto's children will lead the new generation. Boruto is the newest series in the Naruto universe and will be the standard for years to come. This game picks up on that timeline. It is therefore the intention that you be led up to great Shinobi.


 

Your character, your story

In  Shinobi Striker you  can create your own character. You start by choosing your village, your beginner outfit will also be based on this choice. Then you can adjust things like your hair, face, make-up, wrinkles and face-marks. There is quite a bit of choice and that choice gets even bigger later in the game. You can use well-known hairstyles, but also unique ones. Ultimately, it is also possible to unlock or collect more outfits and variables.
The game is essentially an online phenomenon, but you can also play missions solo. You always start in a lobby, just like with Xenoverse. This lobby is the center square of the Hidden Leaf Village. If you look up you immediately see the faces of all the Hokage and the apartment buildings that have been built in the Boruto universe. In front of you is the building where Naruto, the current Hokage, does his work. You are supposed to play online missions. You can play the storyline, or engage in online battles against each other. You can also play through the old, iconic storylines of the Naruto or Boruto series. The game is very in touch with the actual series, so you can also unlock signature moves and weapons from the original show.


If you choose to play the original part of the story, these usually have nice cutscenes, these are well constructed and look fancy. Your own character will of course not appear in these cinematics. Unfortunately, the other solo/online missions are nothing special. After a few hours of playing, it's like doing chores. "Go here, beat these guys, find this object, replay", this is what you have to deal with after a few hours for the rest of the game. A certain grind to unlock new things.

Luckily there is multiplayer

Fortunately, this is mainly a multiplayer game. The online modes are a lot more fun. You have modes like Capture the Flag and Defend your Base, these are all super fun to play. You soon notice that the budget of the game was not too high, given the options quickly run out. In the online modes there is a kind of tactic that you have to get through with your team. For example, you can lure other Shinobi into the bottomless pit, or have one of your team go the other way while you distract the enemies. This makes for a different round every time.
The combat is therefore quite simple. You get special Ninjutsu on L1 and R1, a Substitution on L2, and a Long Jump on R2. You can make combos with square and triangle and also use ranged attacks. This combat is well implemented and feels quite fluid when you get the hang of it. If you get the combinations right, you can even have multiple enemies at the same time, something I often miss in a game.

Verdict

Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker  may not be the very best implementation of an anime, but you can tell that the developers have a big heart for their game. I see this as a foundation for a new generation of online anime titles. Xenoverse 1 wasn't a perfect game either, but the second part was very well received. I am sure it will be the same with this game. Anyone who wants a fun online experience in their favorite franchise I definitely recommend to buy the game!

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