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Naruto x Boruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm CONNECTIONS Review — Choppy Connections

I’ve played every single Naruto Ninja Storm game and have enjoyed most entries in the series despite some of their most notable flaws. Now, more than seven years after the launch of the last entry in the series, Bandai Namco has released Naruto x Boruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm CONNECTIONS. After spending several hours experiencing everything it has to offer, it’s hard not to admit that it barely features enough content to validate its existence, yet it still somehow provides many features that every previous game was sorely lacking.

Naruto x Boruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm CONNECTIONS is the first entry in the series that focuses on both the Naruto Shippuden and Boruto series but in two distinct ways. The game features a new narrative that focuses on Boruto and the new Team 7 fighting off a new threat to the ninja world. It also gives players the new Historical Mode, which lets them relive memorable and epic moments from the anime and manga series.

The new story takes place in Konoha, where a new virtual reality game is all the rage. Every child, adult, and in-betweener is playing the game where they can choose the avatar of any past and present ninja villain or hero in the ninja world and fight battles for fun and items. Unsurprisingly, Boruto and his friends try out this game and meet Nanashi, a mysterious AI handler. Of course, the fun doesn’t last long, as strange things begin to happen shortly after the game’s popularity spikes. People start getting their chakra drained, and a gigantic spell is cast over the whole world via the moon, which brainwashes them to start a new war. After a series of events, we find out that Nanashi and a mysterious terrorist group are behind the whole ordeal, and it is up to Boruto, Sasuke, and Team 7 to put a stop to it.

After playing through the story, I can only say that the narrative, though interesting, is nothing unique or grand enough to be noteworthy. The only thing that was interesting is the new revelations about the Uchia clan, admittedly, in a way that makes it very clear that nothing going on is canon. And while it’s also easy to attribute the story’s somewhat bland nature to it being an original story, it still does a good enough job of at least keeping the player engaged through its relatively short (about 9 hours) run, but is not one they’ll remember for long, especially as it noticeably leaves a lot of questions unresolved because it messes with established canon.

On the other hand, the game’s other narrative mode, the History Mode, impressed me even less. It is apparent that a lot of effort was put into the mode as it highlights just about every major arc from both the Naruto and Naruto Shippuden series through most of the same images used in prior games, a narrator giving context to each fight and arc and several scenes with full dialogue from the series but displayed through static images in a visual novel format. As such, while it provides a decent interactive recap for fans who may need it, it doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from the several other recaps done in many other games in the series. However, CONNECTIONS is an entry that, at the very least, provides improved visuals along with enhanced and optimized gameplay performance.

Speaking of visuals and performance, it’s only fair to note that Naruto x Boruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm CONNECTIONS sports the best graphics in the series thus far with full 4K support, vibrant colors, highly detailed 2D and 3D models, and amazing visual effects, with crisp, precise motions, and transitions. The only disadvantage about the visuals that’s worth pointing out is the several odd overexposed models occasionally appearing in the game, which always look way too bright compared to the background. Besides that, the game runs incredibly well on PS5. CONNECTIONS is perhaps the best and most consistent Naruto Storm game In terms of gameplay and performance. I ran into no glitches, bugs, crashes, or framerate dips, as the game runs at a smooth and consistent 60fps. 

Additionally, while there aren’t many new additions to gameplay, CONNECTIONS adds the feature that makes you and your opponent’s chakra bar charge automatically when you’re idle or not using chakra moves. However, the bar can still be manually charged at will like in Cyberconnect’s other recent entries. The game also features the most extensive roster in any Naruto game yet, with over 130 characters. This includes new characters such as Ashura and Indra Otsutsuki, the originators of the leaf village.

However, despite all these features, Bandai Namco failed to include one of the most essential features for any fighting game, the rollback netcode. Despite being a next-gen title and the latest entry, the game only offers competitive players of the online mode peer-to-peer connection, which is historically unreliable, as well as the feature to block out last-gen consoles that run the game at only 30fps. This, of course, doesn’t help with unreliable connections, which is usually the common issue with any online fighting game. Lastly, while the game does offer cross-gen support, it doesn’t provide crossplay, which means players can only play with others on their chosen platform.

Overall, while  Naruto x Boruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm CONNECTIONS offers several great features, such as a moderately engaging original story, newly enhanced visuals, and better performance, it’s also a game that can only be recommended to die-hard Naruto fans and can be ignored by arena fighting game veterans.

60

Alright

NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM COLLECTIONS

Review Guidelines

While Naruto x Boruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm CONNECTIONS finally adds some genuinely important features to the series, it still lacks some important features and a large portion of its other content is passable.

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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