Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

A Full Burst Story

Awwww. It looks like anime fighters have finally grown up. Usually, these fandom fests are dismissed as pandering cash-in jobs that can’t hang with the big boys like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat . But now, anime fighters have gone through one of the biggest steps in hardcore fighting-game puberty. They finally have their very own expansion pack that is being branded as a full-priced title. So give a warm welcome to Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst —the Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition of the anime-fighter world.

Usually, when a fighting game gets re-released like this, its main appeal is balance changes. This is not the case with Full Burst , as the designers don’t seem to be concerned with game balance at all. Just like the original Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 before it, Full Burst ’s versus mode is a totally broken mess. Certain characters are absolutely useless, while others are unstoppable god machines. The boss characters are still incredibly overpowered, and you’ll still find characters that can hit you from clear across the screen, lock you into pseudo infinite combos, and generally cheese you to death using techniques that the designers probably didn’t think about.

When we originally reviewed Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 , we said that this was one of the first fighting games where the versus mode was an afterthought, and that still holds true here. The real draw of the game is the single-player story mode, Ultimate Adventure, which faithfully recreates the events of Naruto Shippuden . In this mode, it doesn’t matter that characters are an unbalanced and broken mess because that’s exactly how they are in the Naruto anime and manga. So, of course, all of the “balance changes” usually implemented in a fighting-game update would be made here.

And by “balance changes,” we mean cinematic updates. Yes, believe it or not, it’s the cutscenes of Full Burst that have gotten the biggest overhaul. In-game cinematics have all been cleaned up to look smoother and more anime like, and it’s noticeable. Whether it’s the updated dynamic camera angles, the slightly tweaked animations, the smoother cel-shaded textures, or whatever, Full Burst certainly does look better than its predecessor.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst Screenshot

That’s not the only update the story mode has to offer. A brand new chapter has also been included, which covers Itachi’s escape from Kabuto’s control. If you don’t know what this means, then you aren’t caught up with Naruto enough for it to be a spoiler. Altogether, this new chapter pushes Full Burst ’s story mode to a little over 12 hours of content; this makes it one of the longest fighting-game story modes we have ever seen.

Unfortunately, this and the redone cinematics are the only new things that the story mode has to offer. The rest plays out exactly the same as it did in vanilla Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 , including Hero/Legend decision points, side-missions, boss fights, mid-fight scene transitions, and more. So anyone who already played the original is going to be treading on some pretty familiar ground here.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst Screenshot

Another thing that usually sells fighting game re-releases is the addition of new characters. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst does technically expand its roster… by one. The sole new character is Sage Mode Kabuto. Yes, it’s not really even a new character; it’s just an old character with new moves and abilities. Granted, he does play completely different from normal Kabuto, and he looks incredibly evil! Also, as a boss character, he’s pretty brokenly awesome and powerful. So people who are looking to get a power rush will have a lot of fun with him. However, you can probably get all of your new-character kicks out in no more than a half hour, and then it becomes depressing to see that the roster hasn’t changed in any other significant way.

Aside from these updates, the game has 100 new challenge missions to offer and a whole host of new costumes to try out. The challenge missions are… OK. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst is best when played in single-player mode, so including more single-player content is always a good idea. The problem is, a lot of them feel like busy work, and it’s unlikely that anyone other than die-hard completionists will go through the trouble of completing them all.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst Screenshot

The costumes, on the other hand, are really a nice touch, once again proving that aesthetics rule the day with this game. Call me an otaku, but dressing up Naruto and friends in school uniforms is a nice treat. There’s also samurai armor, funny hats, and references to other anime such as Dragon Ball Z and One Piece . So if you are the kind of guy that likes to play dress up, customizing each character to your own twisted aesthetic specifications, you can lose yourself in the many costume options the game has to offer.

Whether or not you purchase Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst will come down to whether or not you purchased the original. Even at a discount price, Full Burst doesn’t offer that much more than its vanilla counterpart. So if you bought and completed the original, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to drop $40 on a new story chapter and one character. Luckily, CyberConnect2 and Namco Bandai are taking a page out of Capcom’s book and offering Full Burst as a DLC expansion as well as a full game, and it will only cost a mere $9.99 as DLC. Granted, this will mean that you can’t bring the game to your friend’s house in order to show off Sage Mode Kabuto, but that’s an acceptable loss.

In short, if you haven’t played Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 yet, then Full Burst is a pretty good deal, but then again, if you haven’t played it yet, you probably aren’t a hardcore Naruto fan, and that’s basically the one demographic that the game really appeals to. If you are a hardcore Naruto fan, then pick up the DLC expansion to the vanilla version we all know you bought and call it a day. If you are looking for a good fighting-game experience, however, you really should look elsewhere. Full Burst may not be as cinematic as games like Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls , but make no mistake, the whole purpose of this game is to watch the Naruto plotline unfold again… this time with funny costumes!

Like an anime in motion, the graphics in Full Burst are better than ever. 2.9 Control
The controls in this game are still mashy, but they’re responsive. 3.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music hasn’t really changed at all from the original version. 3.2 Play Value
It’s a great buy for anyone who hasn’t purchased the original, but less so for hardcore fans. 3.1 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Additional Chapter – Finally free of Kabuto’s control, Itachi intends to crack the Reanimation forbidden technique. Will an unprecedented Uchiha alliance with Sasuke be enough to handle it?
  • New Playable Character – Kabuto reaches the almighty Sage Mode and is now playable in versus mode. Unleash his power and defeat your opponents both offline and online.
  • Director’s Cut – Discover completely revamped Storm 3 cinematics and experience the epic conflict consuming the entire ninja world more intensely than ever before.
  • 100 New Missions – Embark on a whole new series of missions, many with their own uniquely challenging objectives.
  • 38 Additional Costumes – Outfit characters in a selection of 38 costumes from the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 DLC packs.

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