Less than eight months removed from the original release of Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 comes the Full Burst version, which includes a significant amount of new and previously released content as well as some refinements.
Certain franchises are more difficult for me to play and review than others. F1, Dragonball Z, PES, and Naruto are amongst the tougher nuts to crack. While I have played several Naruto games over the years, I found their immense lore and history a real struggle to break into. That remained the case back in March when I played Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3. While a competent fighter and chock full of fan service, which is always great to see whether I happen to be a fan or not, I ultimately didn't find myself drawn-in and compelled to play much longer than necessary.
Fast forward about six months and I find myself playing -- and actually enjoying more so than before -- UNS3 Full Burst. That said, it's not really so much the new content in Full Burst that has given me a renewed, yet still tempered, enjoyment with UNS3; I think it's just a deeper appreciation for the growth of the series and its commitment to fans. Let's take a bullet-point list approach to what exactly is new with Full Burst:
-New Playable Chapter - Itachi seeks to control the Reanimation jutsu after being free of Kabuto's control. It's up to an unlikely alliance between Uchicha and Sasuke to bring balance.
-New Playable Character - For versus battle, including online, Kabuto is now available.
-Director's Cut cutscenes - "Completely revamped" cutscenes.
-Challenge Missions - 100 New Challenge Missions.
-Thirty-Eight Additional Costumes - Some previously released as DLC.
The new chapter is not available from the main menu, but it is at some point playable in Ultimate Adventure, which is the campaign mode. I haven't played the Ultimate Adventure to completion, though. As with the UNS3, the Ultimate Adventure begins with the assault on the Hidden Leaf Village by the enormous Nine Tails and continues the 4th great ninja war. The epic boss fights and the Ultimate Decisions within this story mode remain intriguing. These Decisions are routes that you can take at key points in the story. The routes are known as either Legend or Hero. You can mix them as you go, but both of these go towards what Ninja Tool palettes you have for other modes in the story. Certain items are only available for Legends and others for Heroes. Some modes, including the new Challenge Missions, allow you to go into your inventory and to the Shop to buy and sell Items to equip on your Legend and Hero palettes. These palettes, which are controlled with the four button of the d-pad, give you in-fight items to use, whether they be offensive or defensive one-off aids or consumables like ointments to instantly revive some health or Chakra. Bentos are other items that can be bought and use for a single-battle use. These change parameters such as increasing your attack power or giving your resistance to poison which may be a type of attack that your enemy can use.
While the Ultimate Adventure mode will appeal to entrenched Naruto fans (and less to those like me who aren't comfortably familiar with the franchise), I actually found the Free Battle modes to be more compelling and suited for my interest level in the game. The new Challenge Missions mode has ten sets of ten challenges, which increase in difficulty as you go. Shop access and the ability to customize your Ninja Tools is absolutely key. Each Challenge has specific parameters associated with it too, some optional and some that aren't. For an engaging, not-so-committal and quick way to play, the Challenges are great.
Various four and eight character tournaments are included too. Another local player can jump in or you can pit yourself against the CPU. Depending on the type of tournament, you can either select the CPU characters or they are pre-defined. The Perpetual Challenge Tourney has two randomized conditions that are set before each battle, such as throws doing big damage or no substitution jutsus allowed. Players select their character (for me, Kakashi was my favorite) and their battle arena. There is an insane number of characters to unlock, with around forty already available at the outset. Plus, most characters have a variation that gives them a different look and jutsu(s). As for arenas, there are thirty-six of these, although a few are day/night or otherwise basic variations, and the arena of choice remains a constant for all of your battles in the tourney. I think the option to change the venue in between fights would have been a plus. Also, unlike the Challenge Missions, in the tournaments your Ninja Tools are basically pre-determined, you have no say on what you go into battle with. That randomness sort of streamlines the experience, but it is a little bit surprising for a game that has so many miscellaneous Items, Titles, pop-up tutorials, and customizations. Winning unlocks new purchaseable items and Ryo to spend on goods. Finally, an online mode is also included and in limited testing, it functioned well and you're not likely to have too much trouble finding someone to connect with in what is ultimately still a niche audience.
With that, let's get to the summary...