Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 – Road to Boruto DLC Review

Developer: CyberConnect2 Co. Ltd.
Publisher:  BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
Release date: February 2, 2017 (early access)
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One (reviewed)

If you had any sense of excitement for the world of Naruto after the latest movie, then this Road to Boruto DLC was worth the wait. Road to Boruto gives players the opportunity to play through the events of Boruto: Naruto The Movie beyond the story that didn’t quite give you the best idea of what this new generation of ninja are capable of. So from the very first animation this DLC pulls you in because they also treat us with battles that are a bit more in-depth than you remember.

Before getting into the Boruto DLC, I played through a bit of the original story just to get a feel for what the game was like beforehand. Safe to say I found myself impressed by the quality in animation in comparison. Very fluent to the point where the characters would have to be standing still for you to realize any cell shading or in-game outlines. At first there was almost the assumption that they were simply going to use clips from the actual movie like the stories before took scenes from the anime. That was not the case here which was smart for the fact that the last thing you want to give players is a reason to feel as though they are being taken out of the story. They put the effort into crafting a story that stayed true to what you knew from the movie while making sure that there was much more to it than simply that. A lot of this expansion was designed from the bottom up.

When it comes to a story such as this, the greatest fear is how the story might bore you having already known the events. Some things you do unfortunately feel like you have to speed through for the sake of not rehashing conversations you already heard. I wouldn’t call the dialogue too wordy, but having to consistently press A to keep it moving is the one constant regardless of the Naruto game which weighs on your attention span. Now with that said, you can appreciate that at the very least some liberties are taken to do things slightly differently. I mean you wouldn’t want to change things up too much, but you certainly want to use the space available to shake up the perspective on events. For example the scene of Himawari’s birthday had a small change to it that worked. You can easily say to yourself that this isn’t what happened, but in that moment you notice you’re invested in what more could catch you off guard. In general they were giving us a fresh experience without overwriting the things you do expect to experience from key moments.

The characters brought something fresh to the table as well. Up to this point we get used to playing with all of these characters and their different variations or forms. Boruto and his generation offer a new sense of character evolution that is taking a step into the unknown unless you are someone who actually reads the Boruto books. I haven’t, so there was a lot to learn through their experiences that were expanded upon. Boruto does take some warming up to. He’s not one of those characters you come to love off the bat. This could be for a number of reasons, but this didn’t change the feeling of growing with him as he realizes the hard way what it means to be a ninja. But the real fun is getting the chance to see just what age does to the likes of Naruto and Sasuke. There’s no denying that they best thing about Boruto: Naruto The Movie was these two tag teaming against Momoshiki. This not only captured the true fun in being a ninja, but what true power looks like in the palm of our hands.

There wasn’t much new in terms of gameplay. This was more of the same which wasn’t a problem since there was nothing much to do in this area. So what you looked for here was the excitement that comes from all these new techniques and combinations. To that extent Road to Boruto succeeds because as mentioned above the appeal in this DLC is our opportunity to explore what this new generation of ninja are capable of. The movie gave us a taste, but the game here puts us in the driver’s seat to explore their potential in action. For example Sarada and Mitsuki have much more creative techniques to try out in comparison to Boruto. It was a treat to get the father-daughter moment(fight) between the two that the movie brushed past. They didn’t get into her struggles as the daughter of Sasuke as much as the game managed to in a short amount of time. Mitsuki a bit more than Sarada as well who still remains a shroud of mystery. The fact that they are allowing more than just Boruto to be the focus is a plus.

Doing the side quests and what not is a good way to build up playability, though ultimately it is the main story progression that holds your attention. There’s not too much you can do new in this area that doesn’t make you feel like you’re grinding or just being kept busy for the sake of game time spent. The redeeming quality here is the sense of exploration gained from a lot of new areas opened up. And not just the new areas but being able to see the way the world around you has changed after that skip through time.

The main selling point for Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 – Road to Boruto is that we get to ‘experience’ the story of Boruto: Naruto The Movie. As far as experiences go from a hands on approach, this DLC expansion was satisfying. It reminds us of why we initially fell in love with the Naruto franchise in the first place. When you reach the point we have as fans, you start to lose the memory of what the story of Naruto may have been at the core. Road to Boruto is memorable for the excitement you can feel once again towards a generation of ninja with their own styles and techniques. More than the expansion packs previous this one here gives you a reason to keep playing because you are stepping into a new world of possibilities.