Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden Review
Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden box art
System: PS2 Review Rating Legend
Dev: CyberConnect2 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Namco Bandai 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: March 24, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Though the controls might be essentially identical to Ultimate Ninja 3, one area that is significantly different is the visuals. Although, I can't say that this change has been for the better. Before I go on, let me point out that I am well-aware that the years have not exactly been kind to the PlayStation 2 and as a system that has been around for nearly a decade, you have to substantially lower your expectations. But still, this game just looks like a mess.

Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden screenshot

While Ultimate Ninja 3 had smooth character designs and rich, detailed environments, Ultimate Ninja 4 has jagged lines, plenty of seaming, and blandly-textured environments. Even the series' trademark cel-shading has taken a huge hit since the last entry in the series, and the characters are missing a fair amount of detail that used to be present. Now, while I realize that this game is technically older than Ultimate Ninja 3, I still wish they would have focused on giving the game a facelift before releasing it here, much like they did with the Wii's Clash of Ninja series (which got all-new character designs during localization.) But instead, the visuals come to us as dated and technically inferior to the last two entries in the Ultimate Ninja series previously released on the PlayStation 2.

Despite the poor visuals, Ultimate Ninja 4 does have a good soundtrack. The music is sampled directly from the Shippuden anime, which has some seriously good tunes, so the background music as well as character themes never disappoint. The game's voiceover is again available in Japanese and English, and all the original Seiyuu and Voice actors reprise their roles for the game.

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I was more than excited for this game to premiere in the US, simply because fans have been waiting since 2007 for the Shippuden saga to come stateside. However, I have to say that I was very disappointed with this title, as it takes several steps back in regards to the Ultimate Ninja Series as a whole. With poor visuals and a lackluster story mode, this title certainly didn't live up to its potential and is a step back for the Ultimate Ninja Series on the PS2.

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
2.0
Graphics
The graphics are poor, even by last-gen standards. Persistent seaming and jagged edges mar the character design, and the environments lack detail.
4.0
Control
Controls use the standard Ultimate Ninja template and are easy for newbies to learn and series veterans to recall.
4.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music is good, and both the Japanese and English voiceovers use the original seiyuu/voice actors from the anime.
2.9
Play Value
The mission mode is not very deep, and it's almost completely linear. Although there is a fair amount of content in hero mode, it just isn't enough and can't measure up to UN3.
3.2
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Master the largest roster of ninjas that are more mature and powerful! NARUTO SHIPPUDEN has arrived. Your favorite characters are more mature, faster, and stronger! Brand new SHIPPUDEN characters such as Sasori, Deidara, and Chiyo are available for you to control! There are a total of 52 playable ninja!
  • Explore the massive world of NARUTO SHIPPUDEN! Freely explore and engage in missions in various locations such as vast deserts, secluded forests, and crystalline caves.
  • Experience the major moments from Naruto Shippuden! Actively engage in major battles from the SHIPPUDEN saga and experience firsthand its dramatic storyline in brand new Master Mode!
  • Discover an original storyline! Discover a series of tales called The Black Shadow that take place between Sasuke Retrieval Arc and the SHIPPUDEN Arc.
  • Discover Brand New Action game Mode! Experience Master Mode where you can accomplish a variety of challenging missions by exploring the world of SHIPPUDEN, leveling up Naruto, and battling against multiple enemies at once!
  • Unleash new Ultimate Jutsu! Unleash powerful new Ultimate Jutsu at an unprecedented scale!


  • Screenshots / Images
    Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden screenshot - click to enlarge Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden screenshot - click to enlarge Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden screenshot - click to enlarge Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden screenshot - click to enlarge Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden screenshot - click to enlarge Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden screenshot - click to enlarge Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden screenshot - click to enlarge Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden screenshot - click to enlarge

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