Naruto Storm Has Been Reduced To A Shell of Its Former Self

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How The Mighty Have Fallen!

Story Highlights
  • The Naruto Storm series has lost its touch.
  • Its latest entry was a colossal disappointment, failing to live up to past games in every way.
  • Bandai Namco should consider moving on from this series before running it into the ground any further.

The original Naruto Storm was, in many ways, the anime game I had always wanted.

Dynamic battles that captured the acrobatics of superhuman ninjas, cinematic sequences that often put Studio Pierrot’s anime adaptation to shame, and fine details that screamed love and passion for the source material were just a few elements that instantly made this series a hit.

Fast forward to 2024, and Naruto Storm is not nearly as impressive. This franchise, once leading by example, has far outlived its prime, becoming yet another long-running series without a purpose.

Why it matters: While Dragon Ball fans look forward to exciting games like Sparking Zero, the Naruto Storm fandom has been left with nothing but disappointment.

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
Naruto Storm 3 Recreated Naruto’s Iconic Showdown Against Kurama

Setting An Arena Fighter Benchmark

To fully understand Naruto Storm’s downfall, it is critical to acknowledge its strengths.

Naruto Storm continuously challenged what an arena fighting game could be. Whether it be the freedom of traversal in the first game’s stylized rendition of Konoha or the cinematic escapades recapping the story that followed in future games, this franchise always sought to innovate.

The boss battles were also a highlight. Cyber Connect 2’s genius lay in its ability to take the smallest moments in the story and turn them into full-blown boss fights with epic scale and heart-pumping set pieces to boot.

This meant that Naruto Storm was far from just an adaptation. In many ways, it became an extension of the source material itself. Take the Hashirama vs. Madara boss battle from Naruto Storm 4, for instance.

These two ninjas, often revered for their unrivaled power, were only heard of in ancient legends for a majority of the series, their battle shown in brief glimpses during flashbacks.

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4
Naruto Storm 4 Immediately Made An Impression From The First Boss Battle

Come 2016, Cyber Connect 2 offered an introduction that instantly put these two in the spotlight. Starting the story mode with a high-stakes boss battle that spanned two phases, this game put their divine powers on full display, transitioning into an all-out brawl with Kaiju-like beasts(Susanoo-infused Kurama and the Wood Golem) as the battle ramped up.

Of course, this series was never perfect, but it had enough heart to keep players like me hooked for well over a decade. However, Naruto Storm Connections lacks everything that made the franchise special.

Beating A Dead Horse

While I used Naruto Storm 4 as an example of the IP’s strengths earlier, this entry made it abundantly clear that Cyber Connect 2 had begun to lose steam. The fourth game’s highs were as remarkable as ever, but they were all accompanied by numerous lows.

For Naruto Storm Connections, on the other hand, I struggle to find any highs to begin with. Basic functions like private matches were sidelined as additions in future patches at launch, half of the story mode was comprised of recycled content, and mechanics like the tilt from past games were removed.

Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections
Naruto Storm Connections Introduced Baryon Mode Naruto To The Series

Most of the glitches from Naruto Storm 4 went unpatched, rage-quitting was left unaddressed, and Cyber Connect 2 even replaced old voice-acting snippets with AI-based voices in the recycled content.

It cannot be understated how much of a letdown this game was as a fan of Cyber Connect 2’s work. I can only describe Naruto Storm Connections as a cash grab that was aimlessly slapped together to capitalize on Bandai Namco’s newfound live service interest.

Like other publishers, Bandai Namco sees live service as a goldmine for revenue and player retention.

In the aftermath, Naruto Storm Connections has rapidly lost players on Steam, and I suspect the situation on consoles is not much different. Perhaps it is finally time to put this series to rest.

Naruto Storm had an incredible run for nearly two decades, staying on top of the arena fighters. However, it might be best left behind in favor of other ideas based on the manga series.

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