The ending of a much-loved series can have a deep-seated emotional impact when you’ve spent many years growing attached to all the characters. The Naruto manga began in 1999, but for many it’ll be the anime that appeared in 2003 where they grew to love the wilful, over-confident, but passionate ninja in training. Thankfully, despite their eighteen year run it doesn’t look as though the adventures of Naruto are liable to come to a close any time soon, and with the release of Boruto: Naruto The Movie last year, the focus has shifted to include the next generation of ninja.
Expanding on last year’s Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, the Road To Boruto DLC takes in the events of the film, which may be jumping the gun a little for some if you’ve been waiting for the release of the English dub – you heathen. Alongside the expanded storyline you’re also given eight alternative characters to unlock as you go, as well as a handful of bonus items to use in-game.
The story begins with Boruto, son of Naruto and Hinata, working on his teamwork as a member of Team Konohamaru, with their now grown-up Sensei still sporting his trademark blue neckerchief. Your team also features Sarada, the daughter of Sasuke and Sakura, and Mitsuki, son of – well, that’d be giving too much away.
Fans of Naruto will get a real kick out of seeing the original characters grown up and paired off, and their offspring are still just as engaging and fun to be around. The key thing is that this remains a genuine entry in the Naruto canon, and I hope that we’ll see more of them in the future.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 remains one of the most visually impressive fighting games out there, and the Road To Boruto is no different, utterly capturing the look and feel of the anime. The story continues to be told through a mixture of stills from the Shippuden anime and the Boruto movie, while the in-engine animated cutscenes bring the whole thing to life, successfully merging the action packed gameplay and engaging storytelling.
As with Ninja Storm 4, gameplay mainly revolves around moving through the free-roaming locations such as the Hidden Leaf Village, while engaging in side quests and the main story chapters which generally pull you into one of the game’s flashy battles. This is largely the same as the previous Ninja Storm titles, and the new generation of ninja do little to make it feel all that new. Of course, CyberConnect2’s winning formula has been in place for years now, and fans probably just want more of the same. Road To Boruto absolutely provides that.
The expansion isn’t without its annoyances though, key amongst them being the omission from the playable character roster of the two main antagonists, Kinshiki Ōtsutsuki and his master, Momoshiki Ōtsutsuki. It seems to make very little sense, apart from the niggling feeling that Bandai Namco may still be holding them back for yet more lucrative DLC. Given the premium pricing of this installment – which just about matches up with the level of content – you’d have hoped for everything that involves the movie to be included.
Road To Boruto is a successful expansion that provides more of what fans of the Ultimate Ninja Storm series love. Fun characters, including the adult versions of those that Naruto fans have grown up with, an enjoyable storyline, and yet more visually incredible battles to take part in. If this is genuinely the end of the CyberConnect2’s Ninja Storm run, they’ve gone out on a high.