Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja 4

Platform:  Sony Playstation 2

Developed by:  CyberConnect 2

UK Distributor:  Bandai

ELSPA rating: 12+

Original Retail Price (SRP):  £29.99

Current Value:  £16.99

Reviewer:  Matt Dark 

With a trio of games already past us, Bandai take the Ultimate Ninja series to the next stage with Naruto Shippuden, bringing this anime fighting game into the new Naruto story.  Or so I thought.

First of all, Ultimate Ninja 4 contains the same essential modes as its predecessor, you have the standard practice and versus modes, along with a pair of single player options, one for the main story and another that acts as a recap mode.  The main mode, and the one you are pretty much forced to play, is ‘Master Mode’, which begins the Shippuden story.

Starting off with its own original story, before Naruto returned to the leaf village, Master Mode goes all the way up to about half-way through the ‘Gaara Rescue’ arc.  The fact that the story mode finishes mid-arc is odd enough, but the fact that its in the middle of an important part of the story leaves me wondering if the development of the game was cut short.  The gameplay in this mode itself is rather dull, while you are able to explore the maps as Naruto, jumping to higher platforms 

and using skills such as Rasengen and the Shadow Clones to help you get to the next area, the fighting system that has been introduced is rather bland.  When you enter a fight, which is always in a set area, not random, the only thing you really have to do is constantly mash the circle button and then Naruto will dash about the area as he unleashes a torrent of attacks on the enemy, only occasionally allowing you to mix things up by pressing triangle or X when prompted to finish the combo in a different way.

You can almost tell the developers weren’t too impressed with this fighting system, as the important battles, or at least the battles against actual characters, are all done using the standard fighting system.  Perhaps the most annoying thing with this mode though, is the fact you are forced to play through it if you want to play the games other single player mode, as you need to find and collect ‘memory fragments’ that are used to unlock cut-scenes and battles in the other mode.

     ‘Hero Mode’, as it’s called, is one big recap on all the main events that took place before the time-skip in the series.  It pretty much covers the entire story from the start all the way to the end of the ‘Sasuke Retrieval’ arc.  During this mode, you will be able to replay some of the important battles in the series, such as the battle against Haku and Zabusa, or the third Hokages battle with Orochimaru.  Laced between the battles are various cutscenes and anime-stills used to explain the story. 

Hero mode is a welcome addition, as it’s a nice way to look back at the story for those who

may have never played the first 3 games.  Its only real problem is that it all has to be unlocked, as I mentioned earlier, and it can be frustrating to have to spend a large number of points on cutscenes, only to run out before you get to an actual fight.

Probably the best part of the game, comes from versus mode.  With a grand total of 52 characters to choose from, being spoiled for choice is an understatement.  That is until you take a look at the characters available.  Of the 52 characters, 40 of them have been copied from Ultimate Ninja 3.  Most of the remaining characters are the new versions of characters, such as Naruto himself and Sakura, who have been updated to show off their new looks, along with some of their new skills.  If you were to look at things technically, there are only actually 3 brand new characters; Sasori, Deidara and Granny Chiyo.

Ultimate Ninja 4 is a poor sequel after Ultimate Ninja 3, which so far stands out as the best of the PS2 series so far.  This game feels more like something of a 3.5 rather then an actual sequel.  With the sheer amount of characters from the last game, this title doesn’t really need to be played, perhaps Ultimate Ninja 5 will change things around.


Ultimate Ninja 4 has the same collection system as the previous games; you can collect money to buy figures of the characters in various poses, videos of their special attacks along with music from the game.

While there is a fair amount to collect, there seems to be much less then before.


Game: Extras:


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