When I reviewed Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 earlier this year, I was in love: between the improved mechanics, tons of characters, and sheer breadth of story, there was so much content to keep a Naruto-phile like me busy that I poured dozens of hours into the game while reviewing it. There were certainly some flaws, but overall it was an incredible title.
When word of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst came out, both as a DLC update and a sort of “Game of the Year” edition retail package, I was hungrily awaiting the upcoming updates, including the Sage Mode Dragon Kabuto fight that gave me such a hard time during an earlier preview, and the visual improvements, costumes and new missions. I’m pleased to say that Full Burst is a worthwhile package, especially for players who are just diving into Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 for the first time, offering so much additional content along with game’s original content, for a cheaper low price.
Note: For the purpose of this review, I’ll just be covering the additional content that Full Burst offers, with regards to the retail version of the game. For a more comprehensive overview of what Naruto Shippiden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 includes, check out my original review.
First things first: if you’ve given away, sold or lost your old copy of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, fret not: your save will work with Full Burst. I remember the old days of owning games whose “Greatest Hits” and GOTY edition saves didn’t work with the original’s saves, but Full Burst, once fully installed and loaded, will merge with your save file, and continue on as if nothing happened. Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is entirely the same otherwise, besides visual improvements, a new Ninja Time chapter, 100 Challenge Missions, and all previously released costumes.
The biggest addition for fans who love the Naruto narrative is Brothers, United. Labeled “Fragment: True Legend – The Uchiha Brothers,” the new Brothers, United segment gives players control of a reunited Sasuke and Itachi Uchiha, just in time to take on the impossibly powerful Sage Mode Dragon Kabuto.
This battle is hard, hands down, but not impossible. As usual, the battle is a mix of straight-forward fighting, beautifully choreographed quicktime events and cutscenes, and will require both patience, timing and reflexes. Developers CyberConnect2 have often been lauded for their cinematic experiences, seemingly ripped straight out of an action-packed anime. The Full Burst‘s Brothers, United fragment is just as great, while also mildly connecting to the larger story, and exploring the incredibly complicated relationship between the tormented siblings. Itachi fans should especially feel pleased with the content’s conclusion (should they make it that far).
For hardcore gamers, Full Burst‘s Challenge Missions should be a major draw, with 100 new missions for players to dive into and attempt to beat. These missions are much like the fights available during the game’s story campaign, allowing players to enter “Battle Prep” and the “Shop” to purchase items and prepare for battle. Instead of a narrative dictating the path of your challenges, players are flatly given ten missions at a time, divided into ten ranks, with the final Key Mission being the hardest of the bunch.
Much like the shinobi found in the Naruto franchise, missions with higher ranks have harder difficulty, and can only be moved onto when a player ranks up by clearing missions. Much like the story campaign, clearing missions with bonus conditions grants special rewards.
Besides the bonus conditions, players will also unlock image pieces when defeating missions, which can be used, when completed, as custom themes for your console. This is a cool feature, a reward both in-game and out of it, and something I’d like to see in other games. While PlayStation is testing the idea of using trophies for sweepstakes entries as part of its “Greatness Exchange” program, this could be a great way for developers to use “concept art” unlockables in a more tangible way.
Full Burst comes with a slew of costumes; some pretty cool ones, and some very, very weird ones that feel more of a waste of space than necessary. While looking through the alternate attires, I asked: Why does Naruto have a pirate costume? Or a cowboy costume? Or, of all things, a matador costume? And don’t get me started on his Gondolier costume or Sasuke’s Napolean costume.
It would have been nice to see more costumes from other franchises that publisher Namco Bandai manages, perhaps to even cross-promote titles; something from Tales of Xillia, One Piece or Tekken to go with Naruto’s Dragon Ball Z Goku costume. It also would have been nice to get costumes for more of the characters in the game, since the majority of them are solely for Naruto and Sasuke.
Visually, the game shines. I honestly never imagined CyberConnect2 would need to enhance the game graphically because their Naruto games, especially the Ultimate Ninja Storm series, have always had such a distinct, signature look. One that makes players feel like they’re watching a completely animated cartoon that they just happen to be controlling. And yet, Full Burst is noticeably brighter and sharper, making the game pop out even more than ever before.
For $39.99 or less (some retailers are already selling it an even greater discount) or as $9.99 DLC for gamers who already own the original game, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst is a fantastic buy. The game still isn’t perfect–it would have been great to get a Fast Travel option for traversing the Ninja World, or at least a dash or running option–loading is still pretty lengthy at times, and the lip-syncing for people who prefer the English audio will occasionally be distracting.
But altogether, the game makes for an incredible package, one that should keep players occupied for many hours as they complete story missions, post-story missions as well as searching for story fragments, completing the Brothers, United content and taking on the challenge missions. Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 was made to celebrate the Naruto franchise, and Full Burst was made to put icing on the cake. If you’re a Naruto fan, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst is a must buy.
For more details, screenshots and trailers on the game, check out all of our extensive Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 news coverage.