The open beta for Shinobi Striker happened last weekend and is set to continue this weekend. The beta gives players a sizable taste of how the full game will play and the features on offer. Using my knowledge from this beta and the one back in February, I detail my thoughts about the beta and provide an overall score.
I cannot sing a higher praise for Shinobi Striker’s customization features. The game offers clothing styles from all the major villages as well as facial features from the show’s most popular characters. Although players could not modify their outfits in this beta, the previous beta allowed changing the top and pants to find a combination that was right for you. Also, that cheetah print outfit from the Cloud Village….
The variety of jutsu at your disposal is insane. One minute, you can be flinging fireballs and clapping people with kirin. In another, you are using Lee’s taijutsu and firing rasengans. In this beta, there were only Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke, Kakashi, and Yamato to choose from in addition to four presets for your created character. In the full game, you will be able to choose a class and then choose jutsu under that class to suit your playstyle. For example, suppose you want to be the attack class, but rather have kamui and raikiri than eight gates and the rasenshuriken. You will be able to switch them out, which is exciting.
The team dynamic in the game is cool, especially when you have squad mates that understand how the dynamic should work. Attack, ranged, defense, and heal are the four different classes. Having one of each is an adequate one-size-fits-all configuration. However, for base battle, a more optimal setup in my opinion would be two defense, one ranged/attack, and one healer. Mastery over the game’s controls and systems also contribute to how well you’ll do rather than just team composition, but I imagine as players reach higher rank, team comp will be very critical.
BOUTS OF SUBPAR ANIMATION
This is grossly apparent when fights involve many people. You are hitting the attack button, but since everyone has quick movement, your character will follow them to land a hit. This leads your character to suspend themselves in the air for an awkward amount of time unleashing a flurry of attacks that will either hit or miss at random. Also, it is extremely difficult to deduce your recovery window after getting attacked. This is infuriating when you are falling down a pitfall and feel like you should be able to recover only to remain in the falling animation and die. Lastly, there is a weird stutter at times when you land on the ground from any height. I expect to be able to keep my momentum, especially as a ninja. In Shinobi Striker, there is a stop and go feeling to the gameplay, which you can get used to, but it should not be there in the first place.
The hit detection in the game is hit or miss. Sometimes it is difficult to judge the reach of certain jutsu, other jutsu have insane tracking and will hit you unless you are spot on in jumping out of the way. Others will hit people at ridiculous angles or not hit at simpler trajectories. The game overall offers no impact when hits land aside from a handful of jutsu, which makes winning encounters feel less rewarding than it should.
This Naruto game is online-based, meaning gameplay will only consist of co-op missions and online matches. I anticipate there being small interactions with the characters that show up in the game, be it carrying out a mission or learning a jutsu from them. Besides that, the story is non-existent, which puts more pressure on the game to have a stellar online experience.
There are other issues like a bad camera, lag, and imbalance that also must be ironed out.
If Shinobi Striker can make online smooth, brush up the animation in some critical areas, and add weight to attacks, then we would have a good game on our hands. However, with its serviceable graphics, inconsistent animation, and lack of story, the allure of experiencing all the jutsu and creating your own ninja will wear off sooner rather than later. Considering all this, I’m giving the beta for Shinobi Striker a 5/10 (average).
What did you think of the beta? What do you think of Shinobi Striker in general? Do my pros and cons line up with yours? Let’s discuss it in the comments.
Image by Soleil Ltd.