|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.
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.
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.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor