Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy Review
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
In the tradition of modern day ports, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy has, as its name suggests, three games from the series smuggled as one package onto your Switch. Having these allows you to play through a large chunk of Naruto's story as well as offering something of a time capsule as the first game was released nearly ten years ago. All of them are fighting adventure games and all of them have great looking anime visuals and solid voice acting, assuming you pick the Japanese voices like you are meant to.
The first game Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm is definitely the weakest of the collection, which to be fair to it, is the way things should be with the first entry in a series. While the fighting works well the Story mode has fairly poor pacing and lots of filler, much like the original Naruto anime itself in fact. There is an open world to explore and you are thrown into a plethora of different mechanics and gameplay bits that are overwhelming at best. While the story is still enjoyable getting through it involves a lot of grinding that the other two just don't require thankfully. Not a bad game in the mechanics themselves but not a great game either.
The second entry Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 is where the series finds its feet, not only is the fighting tightened up but so is the Story Mode. Along with following a more interesting story line than the first game, the game also streamlines the story to make it more enjoyable and significantly more focused. There are still plenty of side-quests but they aren't a necessity anymore and you aren't stopped in the middle of story progress, this makes the game a lot more enjoyable and just makes the experience as a whole much better. The quick time events here result in some cool flashback story images from the anime that reveal information about the various backstories available for each character, this just helps to tie everything in together and all in all elevates the game far above the first.
Finally Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst is easily the best in the series, taking all of the refinements between the first and second and just making them better still. As a result the fights feel great and look amazing, the set pieces and quick time events add in the epic feel of the anime fights themselves and the visuals tie it all together. The story is fairly linear and gets you to the heart of the fights very quickly, there are a lot of cut scenes to watch but in the event you don't want to sit through them, you can skip them. It is little quality of life things that make this the best entry, add in the best combat so far and a great range of characters and you are onto a winner. Granted the story diverges from the canon events but it still comes to a satisfying conclusion providing you aren't too hung up on these kind of changes.
Overall the collection is very solid, while the first isn't the best game the next two are so much better it is easy to move past it. The third one in particular is a wonderful fighting game to play, despite being a little easy when fighting against AI opponents. Naturally where these games excel is in the multiplayer which as always, fits the Switch perfectly and really allows them to come in to their own. The visuals of all three still look wonderful on the console in both handheld and docked mode and the sound is great too. Ultimately if you are a Naruto fan this is probably a must buy, with the wide range of characters and the chance to play through so much of the story being there, it is a hard to ignore collection of games that get better as you go through them. Plus the collection does a good job of making it easy enough to flit between titles without having to close the game and reload it all. Definitely a must own for fans of the anime or anyone who wants to play some entertaining adventure fighting games.