Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections

Posted:  Nov 15, 2023
Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections has been flagged by members of our community to be re-evaluated.
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
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Review

The game was provided by Bandai Namco for review. Thank you!

Ever since I can remember, I have loved Naruto. It quickly became my favorite manga, anime, and anime-styled video game series. I still have fond memories playing Clash of Ninja on my Gamecube for the first time and loving every part of it, but my favorite Naruto series of all of these was the Ultimate Ninja games. From playing the first game on PlayStation 2, I was hooked by the artstyle and platform-fighting mechanics, as well as the cool cutscenes and interactivity for ultimate moves. The series has come a long way 20 years later, and Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections is the culmination of it all.

The general gameplay mechanics haven't been changed much. You will choose a team of up to 3 ninja and run around a 3D landscape and fight against your opponent. You can utilize different attacks, items, throwables, and chakra to turn the tide with different Jutsu and ultimate attacks. You can also awaken, which enhances your attacks and Jutsu to turn the tide and your other teammates to use support attacks.

Unlike the other games, though, this is the largest offering by far. With over 130 characters to choose, including Ashura, Indra, and Karma Boruto, and over 66 stages, there is no Naruto game with a matched roster. It is awesome being able to play as each of these unique characters and see their cinematic moves or team attacks. It would have been really awesome to see a bit more variety in the some of the character's moves, especially the Boruto/New Age versions of the other original characters like Shikamaru or Sakura, but I am happy that they added a second Ninjutsu attack to each character and made support transitions easier for greater combo potential.

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This is also the first time you are able to experience the entirety of the Naruto and Sasuke arcs in a single video game. It goes through when they first meet, all the way up to their final battle after the Ninja War. After playing through all of the other Ultimate Ninja Storm games, I do wish more cinematic boss fights were brought in, instead of a general overview of most events, but it was still great being able to fight the Shukaku as young Naruto and destroy Pain in the same game. There is also an enjoyable original story told through Boruto. It is cool having a new story to play while experiencing the original, and I enjoyed it.

And like the other games, the multiplayer aspect is largely in-tact. There is the local fights, which you can use a 2nd controller for, and online battles. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a match for online battles, somethign I will try once the game is officially released, but if it works similarly to the older games, I will be pleased. You can also customize your fighters a bit too with different costumes and new accessories, both of which can be fun to play around with.

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If you are looking for the best version of this series, Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections is the way to go. It really is the best aspects of the games thanks to its expanded roster and story coverage. I still wish more of those larger cinematic battles made it into this game, and a bit more variety with some of the other forms of the original characters, but I still had a blast nonetheless! And even though it has some odd behavior, it is just wonderful to play on the Steam Deck.

Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections - Steam Deck Performance

My time with Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections started off a bit rocky. When I first got in, I was aiming for 60 FPS and it kept going down to 45, which did slow it down greatly. I initially thought this meant I would have to cap to 30 FPS in game, which is ok, but not great for a game like this. Luckily, thanks to the ability to set a static GPU Clock Speed frequency, this is completely fixed.

By setting the frequency to 1200, the framerate immediately shot up to 60 with some minor dips to 58-59, which weren't noticeable. For 99% of the game, and during normal combat, this held perfectly. I noticed some dips in the story mode during certain battles, like Kurama vs Yugito, or some heavy cinematic moves, could dip a little. To account for the story mode, I would keep the TDP limit at 11, but regular matches will have high drain that is unnecessary. I was able to set TDP limit to 9 when just doing some local battles.

Oddly enough, the game may sometimes completely dip in performance. I was able to fix this by turning the GPU Frequency off and on, or making sure the game was connected to Wi-Fi. I initially thought the latter was more important due to performance going down when the device was in sleep mode and being woken up, but then some of the time, it would work again, so it was a bit hard to pinpoint the issue.

I ended up keeping the game at its default settings, with motion blur turned off for personal reasons, as turning on MSAA could randomly tank performance. I was able to play some matches with 8x on, but there was some slowdowns. Theoretically, 2x should work perfectly fine, but when I changed that setting, performance dipped to 35 FPS out of the blue and I couldn't fix it unless I rebooted the game.

As for online, I couldn't really test it and I will need to re-assess once the game is released. I believe it should work okay, but I can't say for sure just yet.

Accessibility

When it comes to accessibility, there is a new "Simple" control mode which can automate combat and make it easier for newcomers or younger players to hit crazy combos. Otherwise, you can change volume settings, subtitles, language, and voice settings (Japanese, English, Portugese, French, Spanish, and German supported).

The game doesn't support 16:10 resolutions, so there are some black bars at the top and bottom, but there is full controller and cloud save support.

Conclusion

Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections is a fantastic way to celebrate 20 years of the Ultimate Ninja Storm series. It brings together a massive amount of characters to relive the battles that have spanned over the Naruto, Shippuden, and Boruto manga/anime and being able to re-live the entire Naruto tale and his battle to save Sasuke. I would have loved if more of the battles were brought over for the story mode instead of a more general overview, but the large roster and addicting gameplay make this game a keeper.

It does have some odd behavior here and there on the Steam Deck, and performance can randomly fall from time to time, but it plays extremely well with the right settings and is a blast on the Deck!

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections is a great culmination of the series that can play really well on the Steam Deck.

Build Score

Performance: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
VISUALS: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Stability: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarNo StarNo Star
Controls: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Battery: 
Full StarFull StarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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