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Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy (Switch) Review

by Daan Koopman - June 3, 2018, 7:36 pm EDT
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Are the Switch and Naruto a solid pair? Find out in the next exciting... wait, wrong show.

Naruto is unquestionably one of the most popular anime franchises ever made. Spawning plenty of source material to pull from, video games feel like the next logical step. Over the years, one series of Bandai Namco games would rule over all of them. Now, the Ultimate Ninja trilogy brings all three original entries together for one fair price. Do they hold up after all these years, or are Naruto and his friends better left forgotten?

The instant problem with the Naruto trilogy is the following: you need some knowledge of Naruto to even appreciate what the games are trying. There are story threads from the anime covered here, but the games don't do a good job explaining anything beyond that. These are games made for the fans, and just for the fans. The entries offer different things to appreciate, but in the grand scheme of things, you are here because you know the source material. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s something to sincerely keep in mind.

When it comes to the games themselves, a tutorial isn't to be found here. You’re immediately thrown in, and left to your own devices. They’re essentially fighting games with different mechanics thrown into the mix. The good thing, in that sense, is that you get the hang of the controls quite quickly. On the flipside, you might miss the finer details of complex attacks and systems that come into play. A tutorial would have been incredibly useful, even if it was just a large wall of text.

Once you get past these hurdles, the games are quite fun to play through. The first one unfortunately, suffers from a lot of bloat. Back in the day, I had a good time, but upon return I realize how out of place some elements feel. The fact that you travel through a boring overworld, and have to endure pretty terrible minigames is horrid. Next to this, you are fed a constant slew of side missions, which are forced upon you. These missions are the main reason why the first iteration just isn’t that much fun. Funny enough, this game does try its darndest to teach you more about Naruto, so it gets some points there.

The later versions prefer gameplay above all else. The second game has explorable areas where you hop between, which keeps the game flowing nicely. There is a huge focus on combat with only select moments with downtime. The last title in here goes completely off the hook, and adds more fun mechanics to really spice things up. Additional combat sections were added. You will slice and dice opponents to the end of kingdom come with some slashing sections. Next to this, the systems got a major overhaul and a slew of characters got added to the mixture.

The resolution might be a sticking point for some. With just 540p in handheld mode, there will be a subset of folks really unhappy. I can't blame them, but from my point of view, it really didn't bother me. The sacrifice ensures that the game runs smooth at 30 frames per second, a feat that is rather impressive. On the television, the cell-shaded look even finds a bigger home with sharp colors and a performance close to that of the other console versions. It’s pretty good stuff all things considered.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy is fine for the most part. A sharp presentation and fun gameplay mechanics ensure that you keep playing for hours. That being said, the first game really shows its age way too much. The overworld structure and boring minigames really don't hold up anymore. Another problem is that the games don't do a good job of explaining you anything. If you are a Naruto fan, and can overlook these issues, you might find yourself happy enough.


  • Fun action through and through
  • Runs quite well
  • Solid gameplay mechanics
  • First game kind of bad
  • Nothing gets explained

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Game Profile

Genre Fighting
Developer CyberConnect2
Players1 - 2
Online1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy
Release Apr 26, 2018
PublisherBandai Namco Studios
eu: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy
Release Apr 26, 2018
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