Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker Review (Closed Beta Version)

Posted on January 5, 2018

In mid-December, Bandai Namco Entertainment and developer Soleil Ltd gave many people around the world the chance to experience Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker through a closed beta test. We were one of the lucky to participate in this test and were quite interested in seeing how the first in this new generation of Naruto games fared. With the thunderous finish to developer CyberConnect2’s Ultimate Ninja Storm series in the form of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4: Road to Boruto, Soleil Ltd has some huge shoes to fill. After all, it is thanks to the Storm series we became interested in video games and cover them here on Saiyan Island today! Of course, because we’ve only had the chance to play a closed beta test of Shinobi Striker and not the final retail version of the game, it’s hard to give a final verdict on which Naruto game is better. We can only predict what the final version of the game may be like based on our experience with the closed beta. Our review is of the closed beta so we will share our likes and dislikes with on it along with some closing comments on our feelings torward Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker.

WHAT WE LIKED

  1. Create and customize a character
    Creating their own ninja in a Naruto game has been something fans have been wishing for years and it is finally being delivered in this game! In the closed beta, Shinobi Striker gave players the ability to create a male or female ninja from one of the five major ninja villages from the get go. This includes selecting a hair style and skin/eye/hair color. After the initial character creation and venturing into the Naruto world, players could also select from a few sets of jutsu and 10 different costumes and assign them to specific slots that can be swapped during battles.

    The options in the closed beta were limited, but for a test, it was a nice preview of what is to come in the final retail version of the game – a variety of voices, body types, mouth types, eye types, pupil types, eyebrows types, nose types, and face paint styles. There will be over half a million combinations that can be made between the weapons, costumes, accessories, and jutsu. And that number balloons to well over five million possible combinations in terms of the facial features likes like hair, mouth, eyes, and face paint.

  2. Playable Characters from Naruto
    This is expected of every Naruto game, however, for a closed beta it was nice to try out four of the different playable characters in battle with their own unique skills sets in addition to the created character. We would have been happy just with the created character for this test, so it was worth highlighting.
  3. Graphics
    While the Naruto Storm series had phenomenal graphics, the best any anime game has ever had in our opinion, Shinobi Striker has visuals we can appreciate as well. They are a vibrant colored-manga style. Think the original Ultimate Ninja series from the PS2 days, but upgraded to PS4 and Xbox One level.
  4. Lobby Actions and Chat Features
    The PlayStation Network has its own function to chat and send messages to players, but sometimes it’s a real pain to hit the PS button and wait for the menus to load in order to say or ask something like simple like “want to play”. Developer Soleil Ltd had made 10 pre-formulated in-game chat phrases that allowed for quick communication. 10 may not be enough for the final retail version of the game, we hope more will be added for that. We’d like to see phrases along the lines of “I’m done playing for the day” or “Hurry up and pick your character so we can start”. Basically things you want to communicate to other players in the lobby. Also, the lobby actions – which are poses like lying down or waving – add extra pizzazz by complementing chat with visual expressions. Many players in the closed beta just used the lobby actions for fun though. There were around 50 lobby actions in the closed beta, you can see them at 4:58 mark in the video above.
  5. Lobby Actions and Chat Features

  6. Movement, including Wall Running and Wire Kunai
    Naruto Storm 1 included wall running and fighting. It honestly wasn’t that great, felt very ridged, but for all of its sequels it was removed until Storm 4 where it was limited to just certain boss battles. Since 2010 with Storm 2, fans have been begging to be able to roam the walls of the ninja world in battles and Shinobi Striker implements it flawlessly! Running around on the wall is as seamless as running on the ground. And jumping from the ground to the wall and back is just as seamless as just running on it. The transition is perfectly done. It is literally like the Naruto anime, once a character jumps toward the wall, they are on the wall, and we can see the chakra on their feet indicating they are on a wall. Something quite easy to do for most ninja in Naruto and it is just as easy in the game. Allowing players to move on the wall in addition to the ground expands the battle arena and use it to their advantage and as a part of their strategy, just like it is done in the anime/manga. Quite simply, it’s a satisfying experience! All basic movement actually feels quite satisfying in Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker!

    There is a tool in Naruto to Boruto Shinobi called a wire kunai where players can throw a kunai that is attached to a wire and basically swing around like they’re Spider-Man. We’ve seen this in the Naruto anime, it’s rare, but we have seen it. In Shinobi Striker, it is a key move to use when fighting in the air or jumping from a wall on one side of the stage to another. We have to say using the wire kunai was very fun to use in the game. It’s like you’re Spider-Man, but in the Naruto world! In addition to wall running and wire kunai is a skill called chakra jumping. This is another feature in the game that makes it a joy to play. With a press and hold of a button, chakra gathers in the feet of a character and then allows the character to leap large distances. Using this in tandem with a wire kunai and then wall running is quite the thrill! Despite being so fun, these are all just basic operations in Shinobi Striker and one of the first few things taught in the game’s tutorial.

  7. Large Map and Numerical Indicators to Inform Distance
    The closed beta had only one map, but it was quite large which made it nice. We feel it would have been somewhat difficult to navigate if it weren’t for the numerical indicators – which seem like they are in meters – that inform us about distance. It could feel like those scenario’s where a character is dreaming and the place they want to get to is right there in sight, but no matter how much they try, they can’t physically reach it! Thankfully that isn’t the case with Shinobi Striker. If we are getting closer to an enemy or enemy’s base, and it is in our view, we can see we’re getting closer via an indicator. And if we move away from an object or opponent, we’ll see the indicator showing us how many meters we’re getting further away from it. It is very simple item, but we liked it and wanted to highlight it.
  8. Ability to Hold and Use Jutsu While Moving
    When performing select jutsu like Fire Style: Fireball Jutsu, players can press the buttons to activate it (for example press the L1 button) and then hold the button so the character will do hand-signs for that jutsu. Upon release of the button, the character will then fire the jutsu. In other words, you can activate a jutsu while running around and shoot it when you feel is the best time to do so! You can see an example of this between 2:03 and 2:11 as well as 8:10 and 8:22 in the video with Sasuke below.

WHAT WE DISLIKED

  1. Substitution Jutsu
    Naruto Storm 4 Road to Boruto did substitution jutsu perfectly. The rate at which the meter filled was perfect and the amount we could do in one meter was perfect. We could substitute enough times where it was helpful, but not enough to abuse it. In Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker, substitute once and then wait some annoying length of time to use it again. We’re not sure how long off the top of our heads it was before a substitution jutsu could be used again, but it felt like it was an unhelpful skill to use. Especially since when we did a substitution, there were times where the opponent we substituted from could still attack us or if we managed to substitute away from the first opponent, then another opponent on the field could still attack us.
  2. Delay in Launching Jutsu
    While we really like the ability to hold a jutsu, in most cases while we played the closed beta, we wanted to fire it as soon as possible! It feels like there is an annoying delay between pressing the button to do a jutsu and actually firing it. There are so many times when we wanted to do a jutsu, but got hit before even being able to use it. If an opponent is running toward us, ready to do damage to us, we want to counter immediately.
  3. Battle System, Including Locking On and the Camera
    Part of the reason we dislike the delay in jutsu is the lock-on aspect. It feels flimsy! When you lock on an opponent, you want that opponent front and center, always! The camera felt like it would pan to other places we didn’t want to see. Also when somebody started attacking us, we have to try and search where they’re attacking from and when we try to lock-on, it doesn’t always lock-on to the opponent that is attacking us. Even if there is only 1 opponent around, it just didn’t feel like the game worked right. We don’t know how to describe how to make the camera and locking-on system better, we’re not even sure if we described what we disliked about it properly.

    If we are to give an example, it’s basically whatever made the camera and lock-on system in the Dragon Ball Xenoverse series superior when comparing it to Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z. In other words, we don’t want to feel like we’re playing a Naruto version of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, which is what Shinobi Striker felt like while we fought with opponents in the closed beta, we want something more like a Naruto version of Dragon Ball Xenoverse and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2’s battles – if that makes sense.

  4. If something isn’t in view, it feels like a surprise
    In the Naruto world, most of the time ninja can sense when an opponent is near or nearing them. In Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker, no such function like that exists. We can’t sense when an opponent is coming towards us. We only know they are coming toward us if they are in our view. Many times during the closed beta, we got the opponent’s flag and felt like we were home free to bring it back to our base with nobody in sight. But surprise, all of a sudden an opponent throws a kunai or starts attacking us from what felt like nowhere. If some attacks were specifically designed to be surprise attacks were a surprise, we’d be ok with that, but every attack we can’t see is currently a surprise. There isn’t even a map to see where everyone is relative to us, which we feel would be very helpful in a huge map.
  5. The wait to start a match
    In the closed beta there was only one type of match, a quick match to capture the flag, but there was nothing quick about it. The time it sometimes took to start a match was horrendous! 8 human players need to join in order for a battle to begin. Sometimes, after waiting for 10 minutes or so, we still were unable to get into a match because 8 human players were not joining our quick match “room” despite there being what seemed like many players in the Hidden Leaf Village hub world ready to battle.

CLOSING COMMENTS

Everything we’ve mentioned in our review of the Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker closed beta were the obvious things we noticed and remembered a few weeks after playing it. We hope everything we liked stays in and is built upon further. As for what we disliked, we hope developer Soleil Ltd will take notice and update before releasing the final version of the game.

We began writing this review with the intention not to compare it to the Naruto Storm series (particularly Storm 4: Road to Boruto), but when there is a gold standard for a franchise, it’s hard not to.

Most of what we liked are new features in Shinobi Striker not found in the Storm series – for example character creation or wire kunai. We also liked that a few characters from the Naruto universe were included in the closed beta, but we’re confident we’ll be disappointed with the final roster. We’re anticipating around 22 playable characters in Shinobi Striker vs the over 100 in Storm 4: Road to Boruto.

Additionally, what we disliked heavily outweighed what we liked because what we disliked was the battle system, which is the reason people will come back (or not come back in this case) to play a game. We didn’t have fun battling what so ever. Creating a character was fun. Then moving around with that character aimlessly or to capture a flag was fun. But those have no meaning if the battles aren’t fun!

Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker was announced to have an early 2018 release. A specific release date has not yet been announced yet, our fingers are crossed the game is still being improved upon and a far better experience than the closed beta. Thinking of Storm 4, that game was announced to have February 2016 release date in July/August of 2015 (six-seven months before it came out). Bandai Namco’s Dragon Ball FighterZ was announced to have a January 26, 2018 release date back on October 23, 2017. A concrete release date has still not been announced for Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker, possibly indicating it might launch sometime later in 2018 rather than the initially announced early 2018.

We don’t want Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker to be trash. We want it to be good and we root for it’s success. If the developers need more time to make a better game, we’ll definitely accept that. In the words of Nintendo’s great Shigeru Miyamoto – “a delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever.”

NARUTO to BORUTO SHINOBI STRIKER CLOSED BETA FINAL RATING:
4 out of 10

Note: Whether you agree or disagree with our review, if you participated in the Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker closed beta, you can give your feedback directly to Bandai Namco at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2S5VPGT.

Related

Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker Open Beta Players to Get Free Outfit
Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker – Closed Beta Character Customization Options
Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker – Give Bandai Namco Your Feedback on the Closed Beta
Naruto to Boruto Shinobi Striker: PS4 Closed Beta Sign-Up Details Revealed
Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker Closed Beta Coming in December
Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker – New Gameplay from Tokyo Game Show
Naruto to Boruto Shinobi Striker Beta Test Announced
Naruto to Boruto Shinobi Striker – Created Character Gameplay, Details
Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker – Character Creation, Story Mode, Boruto Confirmed

Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker is a multiplayer game set in the Naruto universe. Players will be able to fight with their favorite characters and discover a new gameplay style set in thrilling 3D environments with a graphic style completely different from the Naruto Storm series. Up to eight human players can engage to become the greatest ninja.

In order attain victory, a team of players must combine the right combination of skills as they will be able to select characters with RPG-like attributes – Attack Type, Ranged Type, Defense Type, and Heal Type. Players can change tactics and strategy by changing the combination of styles on their team. Each character must carry out their role in order to guide their team to victory.

Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker is in development by developer Soleil Ltd. and will be published by Bandai Namco Entertainment to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC/Steam. A specific release date has not yet been announced, but the game will be published sometime early in 2018.

  • ShadowC0N

    I usually don’t take much from reviews because I want to experience the game/movie/show/etc. for myself. Especially if I’m excited for whatever it is. In this case, I read all the dislikes for this beta. I noticed some of the likes, but I was more concerned about the dislikes. I know it’s a beta, and they do this to see how the game is received by players. But I hope they get the kinks out. I agree with Saiyan Island. If they have to delay it to get those things fixed, so be it. I like the idea of character creation and team battles on a big map in the Naruto world. Just don’t release the game when the beta has things to fix; things that are essential to enjoying the game. PLEASE! Lol

  • Wish I had gotten the beta. I would have liked to try it.

  • narutobleachop

    I gotta agree with those dislikes. the battle system and camera sucked major butt and it took forever to start a match that was supposed to be quick lmao

  • narutobleachop

    yea, they gotta delay it to make it better!

  • randy191993

    Yeah, Strikers really looks like the Battle of Z of naruto. Which is not good. I mean i would get the “Coming out of nowhere” thing from attacks since they ARE Ninja, and Ninja are supposed to be stealthy(yeah you can forget that when they summon 10 meter etheral giants to throw meteorites on their enemies. But Ninjas are supposed to be stealthy. But the rest… meh.

  • kfrye

    This is only a bad sign if they don’t take note of issues like these found in the beta. Considering there’s no release window save for 2018 hopefully they’re working on fixing stuff now.

  • The last one isnt really a negative its just you being impatient -.- Its a closed beta, people arent going to just hop in like an open one

  • Goku Black

    . _ . Da game is ass.

  • Leo LeiGto

    lol. like its bad? or its bad ass?

  • Billy Townhouse

    Wait, I didn’t read all that. So at the end, was the review good or bad?

  • Brofist

    First: Who’s surprised? I stopped being interested at the “open world, non-cinematic jutsus, not a 1 on 1 beat em up” part, which has never been done well for anime games and it’s often a chore of grinding and farming in that genre. One Piece will be the next one with that fate. Stick to… I dunno… the Ubisoft Naruto on X-Box? Or Ninja Storm Impact.

  • Z Man

    whats so bad about being surprised by an attack we dont see coming… dont want it to be too easy

  • Datguy

    It’s not about being easy, it’s about there being a problem with the mechanics, having RNG in a supposed skill based game can be frustrating.

  • Datguy

    I didn’t mind Dbz Sagas for the ps2, surprisingly fun to play co-op, though maybe it wasn’t as open world as you’re suggesting.

    If anything I wish devs would consider going back to the RPG aspect when it comes to anime games, idk if they sold well but GBA legacy of goku games and the Attack of saiyans DS game were super good. Even that fusions game was just awkward

  • Z Man

    yea but not getting a warning when someone is sneak attacking you isnt a broken issue

  • TheCervixPounder69

    read you lazy bum

  • Scott Baker✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

    we dont lik being suprised!! in nbinja world most ninja cn sence presences! erm no not eveyone scensory type ninja can. eye doujutsu people can. also this games trying be moba if you can see everyone in that type game no one will ever win as all defences be coverd.. you moan about things not being in that break the game its trying to be.

  • Marpolo13

    I personally think that is because, even though there is a good audience for those types of games, a lot of people (for any anime game really) want multiplayer to beat people up more than an RPG, in general.

  • Datguy

    I don’t think that’s what the writer was referring to, I think he’s referring to random projectiles appearing out of nowhere without there being a sense of navigation. I haven’t personally played the game but it seems like the writer is referring to some sort of pop in issue or range issue. Meaning the projectiles have no set range or the game doesn’t have a far enough view distance to see things coming until its too late.

  • Datguy

    I understand that but we get those games practically every year in DBZ. Personally I think I’ve bought every dbz game since Burst limit but It’s getting boring, think XV2 was the game I played the least of (possibly because it felt so similar to XV).

    I just assumed people were getting sick of those games to some extent, but idk maybe not. Don’t think they’ve actually ever done some sort of survey in regards to the matter. Could also even be that it’s easier to sell DLC in the fighting genre, not only that but the longevity of the game is possibly longer.

  • Marpolo13

    Oh I agree, but yeah generally people keep wanting those games. That’s why in light of all the FighterZ talk, there are still the people saying “yeah, but when’s XV3”.
    In a way it’s like a shoenen curse because even when an RPG of these types of series is made and is really good, people will always be like, “but when can I go online and beat people up”.

  • Ashura Otsutsuki

    I rather stay with storm 4 at this point ….. i just hope the next project from cyber is a storm 5 or an anime related game just like it …… i want bleach thats all 😉

  • Paul Watson

    They Could Do What They Do In MMOs To Show Which Direction The Attack Is Coming From. Like, An Arrow Indicator On The Screen Around The Attacked Person.

  • Datguy

    Yea or maybe give the support players some sort of map or detection and they’d have to inform their team about locations of players. Again I haven’t played the game, so for all I know there could be some super long teleportation ability which takes you to an enemy instantly which again is a problem since it “feels” random.

  • narutobleachop

    4 out of 10. lmao sounds pretty bad to me

  • Megalan

    You meant Storm OR Impact.

  • Joshua Foley

    I Would Like To See a Remastred Ps2 Ultimate ninja series for the ps4 would be interesting to see

  • Z Man

    maybe after u get hit an indicator but b4 u get hit wouldnt be cool.. unless that was a byakugan ability

  • Fall to Confusion

    I don’t think we’re getting another storm. Sucks tho…its a game that has a lot of potential if they DO IT RIGHT! I think its one of the most unique fighting games ever made but they don’t deliver its full potential that I think is possible.

  • Fall to Confusion

    “There isn’t even a map to see where everyone is relative to us, which we feel would be very helpful in a huge map.”

    I think that’s the purpose when playing games like Catch the Flag or Team Deathmatch……you’re not suppose to know where your opponent is unless they do something to let you know where they are. Maybe a ‘Ninja Sense’ notification around your characters head can be displayed when someone is near. Like a quick flash…

  • Taharqa

    4 and 5 of the cons are just stupid reasons honestly. 2 is reasonable but the delay in justsus makes sense in capture the flag. Don’t want someone to instantly spams sand shields and the instanly use spiky human bolder to get away. That’d make those op moves even more unbalanced and broken.

  • AsurasPath22

    This review literally fails, is this your first time making one?

  • Jordan Smith

    Okay okay okay 4 out of 10?….are you kidding me!? I agree with everything on your pros list but your con list is ridiculous bro. Okay I’ll give you the camera and maybe locking on but everything else was just too much. Like substitution, it’s all about stick skills bro and incorporating the BLOCKING feature in the game. It would be cool if they added like 2 substitution but Blocking is in there and it’s not hard to do. I never had an issue with the substitution aspect of the game. The “ninja sense” bs might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard yet from someone who played this game. Idk if it’s just me but ninjas arent suppose to be detected as easy because yah know they’re ninjas. Also I’m pretty sure if you just pan the camera you’ll see an outline of an near by enemy. Like I never had an issue with that either. Btw this game does well with the 4v4 battle concept and if you’re playing with people that know what they’re doing then there shouldn’t be no problem, all you need is someone to have the byakugan equipped as an ninjutsu and you’ll be able to see every opponent clearly through obstacles. Im not sure what you mean when you say, “delay of jutsu” again I never experienced that problem. Maybe your connection is trash or maybe your trash but that was never an issue for me or anyone I spoke to about the game. Tbh I don’t think you even played the beta because you’re saying it feels like battle z? You’re out your god damn mind! It’s like xenoverse with the flying. The only issue I had with the game is when your backed in a corner and the opponent is beating you senseless, you kinda lose control of the camera and you just get completely loss. But I’m sure that’s a quick fix. If I had to rate this game based on the beta I’d give it a hard 6/ soft 7 out of 10