Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Strikers Preview
A return for the Naruto Games, Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Strikers shifts its focus of playing your favourite characters from the series. Instead, it allows players to customize and make their very own Naruto inspired ninja and battle online with their character. The beta that ran from February 23-25th had great ideas which were not great in practice.
Initial release date: 2018
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Developers: Soleil, Soleil Trust Inc.
Personal Ninja (If They Can Get In)
Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Strikers is a great comeback for the series, in ideas alone. Players can create their very own ninja, while customization is limited, (due to the game being in beta stage), the outfits and designs for players are pretty awesome. Players get to dress up similar to their favourite characterís ninja outfit. The beta had many familiar styles to the series and it was pretty cool to make my own Hidden Leaf Ninja. The beta didnít offer much variety, but the developers have already announced that move outfits, hairstyles, and even body types will be added upon full release. Players also get to choose their own very move-set and skills. Players can choose among the popular Sharingan of the Uchiha clan, or have the Byakugan of the Hyuga clan. Players can customize their own sets of combos and move sets while reliving a sense of nostalgia. The central hub for the game is the town square of the Hidden Leaf village. Serving as the player's hub to gather information on missions, to meet with other players. It is used to customize and level up characters, as well as a place to rest in between matches/missions. Here players have access to the Hidden Sand training grounds where players can match with Aiís and test their skills. This, however, is probably the majority of where I spent my time in the game.
A Chaotic Arena Fighter
Shinobi Strikersí aim is to have a 4v4 fight between players. Problem? In the Beta, it was incredibly hard to find eight players. The beta didnít replace open spaces with bots, instead, it would lag out, making any form of entrance into a match near impossible. Worse was when players finally did get into a match, the lag was heavy -- most likely due to a mixture of beta servers and the player-to-player based connection.
I was hugely disappointed that not only could I not get into matches, I was stuck in the social hub. The beta only had the option to go online and again, itís understandable since most of the story is kept under the lid for the full game. But still, this game has a focus on online matchmaking. The story is but a small portion of the game, using it more for cosmetic unlocks and skill unlocks. It also serves as another objective for the game. The beta failed horribly with how bad the connections were, leaving me many questions as to how well the full game would be. Hopefully, fixes will come so that itís smoother upon full release.
Graphical Quality Rivaling the Series Mangaís
One impressive thing that has stuck with me is the intense graphic detail that Shinobi Strikers has. The character design of iconic characters, such as Kakashi, rival the manga. Similar shading with added colour to give off a gorgeous 3D design has left me thoroughly impressed. The past games in the series were 3D in design when it came to the actual matches. Many scenes also came from the actual anime, using the art style of that medium. The level of details this time in the game matches to the medium of the manga, creating high expectations to scenes upon when the full game releases. The story behind the game will be taking place during Narutoís time as Hokage. Many scenes will have few points of reference from the episodes to base the scene off of, especially when the central character will be the player themselves.
As a huge fan of the Naruto Fighting game series, I am disappointed that many of the few matches I could get in, were not the greatest experience I had hoped for. I do hope that many of the connection issues found in the beta will be improved. I look forward to customizing my character again and actually get to play more. I hope to see more modes and more objectives to do in the story. I did enjoy the attention to detail the game has to offer. I love graphically detailed games and in that aspect, Shinobi Strikers does live up to its name in that department. However, it will be a game that I wonít Naruto run to once the full version goes live. Iíll take a walk and wait till I become Hokage once the negative issues are fixed.