Before the opening of the Tokyo Game Show 2017, we were invited to Bandai Namco’s office to check and play some of their yet unreleased games. Suffice to say, some were incredibly okay, and some were just alright. But what grabbed my attention was Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Strikers, a multiplayer 4v4 game touted as one that would take the franchise into greater heights.
In the large hall where the event was held, eight PS4s were running the game, each of which were partnered with an equally imposing TV. The eight units were then split into groups of 4. You probably know where this is going. Anyhow, journalists were given the chance to play the game in its current build. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to play (I was sad, wet, and alone). So, I just had to be contented with watching people play. Anyhow, here’s the gist: matches are objective-based in Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Strikers. Four roles are expected to appear: melee attacker, ranged attacker, defender, and support. Featured during the demo was a capture the flag mode. More to be revealed as the game’s release date draws closer (Early 2018).
Here’s our friends from Ungeek.ph playing the game. Do check their adventures in TGS 2017!
So is this a “Naruto” take on Nintendo’s massively popular Smash Brothers? I can say that it does have similarities, but the differences are quite evident. One, the game plays in a third-person perspective. Due to the vertical and wide open nature of the battlefield, the player must make use of positioning as the environment can be also considered as a danger. Second, the ninjas themselves open a wide variety of actions and unexpected development in a match. Why? Because you can make your own.
One thing the developers specifically mentioned is this: player-customized characters are the star of the show. While the series’ titular and popular characters are available, players are encouraged to build their own ninja from scratch. The developers then further detailed that the game would feature a “very extensive” customization.
Quite interesting is how the player acquires the skills for their creation. We got quite a few clues as to what the single player campaign of this game would be, but here’s how you “grow” your ninja. In order to acquire certain ninjutsus, the player must seek the help of some of the notable ninjas in the Naruto universe. For example, should the player wish to learn Naruto’s signature move, “Rasengan”, the player must act as a disciple of Naruto, doing tasks or fighting him for the mastery of the move. These acquired ninjutsus can then be used in the game’s multiplayer. The developers also made it clear that some ninjutsus can only be used by custom characters and there is also a possibility to learn all ninjutsus. However, it all boils down as to how the player uses them and fits them to their own fighting styles.
Balance was also a main point during the demo. The developers themselves thought of the game’s potential as an e-sports title should the opportunity arise. However, with their own words, told us media that the priority of Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Strikers is of course, fun. Sounds like it would ring true.
Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Strikers will be available for the PC (Steam), PS4, and Xbox One. The game is expected to be an online-intensive game, reportedly having a little offline content.