Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker first appeared to be Naruto’s answer to the Dragon Ball Xenoverse series. While Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker certainly does contain various elements found in the Xenoverse games, there are enough changes that make this title stand out as a completely unique game in the anime fighting genre, albeit a less-than-stellar one.
Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker is the latest game based on the acclaimed Naruto franchise. One of the main draws that separate this game from past titles is the addition of player-created characters. You can create your very own ninja in the Naruto universe and use them in four-on-four combat or work with others to complete cooperative missions.
While being able to create their very own ninja might sound exciting to some, the number of rules and restrictions applied will likely disappoint anyone planning to design a unique character. The character creator almost exclusively contains parts belonging to already existing characters in the Naruto series. This level of restriction can be found in the game’s combat as well, as much as in Dragon Ball Xenoverse, players can learn different techniques used throughout the series. However, these techniques are locked to four different fighting styles and cannot be customized. More customizations can be unlocked, but the only way to do so in through the game’s loot system, which means players will have to deal with a ton of RNG to even attempt to make a character they’re happy with.
Unlike most anime fighting games, competitive play is the core mode for Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker. This means that there’s absolutely no story content. Some of the missions do have cutscenes to introduce them, but these only last a few seconds and are usually re-enactments of missions found in the source material. Offline solo play is possible, but because everything in the game works only to serve its multiplayer aspects, it feels completely meaningless.
Combat in Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker alternates between being incredibly fun and tirelessly frustrating. Players develop their own layouts, tied to attack, defence, ranged and healer roles. The frustration of fighting comes from going up against more than one enemy at a time, something that unfortunately happens often. The camera actively works against you, and targeting a single enemy only makes things more difficult. Making things worse is that certain special techniques lock onto targets, creating a major balance issue. On the bright side, traversing the arenas can be a blast thanks to the game’s smooth movements. With the ability to run on walls and water freely, moving around mimics the anime series perfectly, and makes me wish the environments had more to offer.
Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker is a fun game in theory, but its issues take away most reasons to spend time with it. Teamwork is everything in this game, and when playing with friends, it’s easier to at least make use of the game’s cooperation-oriented gameplay to find some enjoyment. Still, with the combat as broken as it is, there isn’t much more to do aside from running and jumping around like a true ninja.