My experience with Shinobi Striker is probably one of the most conflicting gaming experiences I have ever had. I was very caught up with the game’s shortcomings and refused to support the full release because of them. However, I recalled the game’s fun factor and was entertained by the videos of AfroSenju and ShikasClouds. Thus, I took the plunge. I am glad I did; however, some issues I had previously are still there while some are not as drastic as they once were. Here are the pros and cons of the first few hours I’ve invested in Shinobi Striker.
- Character Creation
Shinobi Striker has the perfect character creation in my opinion. Just enough diversity, not too intricate, and the ability to redo your entire character anytime with in-game currency. No stressing over making the perfect ninja here; just do what feels right and start having fun.
Customization remains as awesome as it was in the betas and promotional material. There are many items to unlock, ranging from face paints to weapons. You unlock these items through scrolls earned from simply playing the game. Then, there is jutsu. You unlock jutsu to equip on your created character by leveling up your sensei. You can switch sensei at any time, optimally once you’ve unlocked everything that you feel is valuable. This is the major way the game entices you to not put the controller down.
There is hardly any or no other game that offers what Shinobi Striker offers. It is a third-person multiplayer ninja action game. If you are at all into ninja or Naruto, this is a game for you.
The game is a thrill to play. Being strategic, firing off jutsu and zoning out others are just a few things Shinobi Striker demands of you to be successful.
- Missions are alright
Missions can be taken on by yourself or with others. You talk to different Naruto/Boruto characters in the HUB which unlocks missions for you to embark on. Each mission has dialogue and a short cutscene. All of the missions seem to amount to collecting items and defeating enemies. The character interactions will be very appreciated by Naruto fans, but those who are not may feel like the missions are uninspired and repetitive.
- Online Balance
(This isn’t a knock against the game, but a warning of sorts. Playing online as someone who had practice in two previous betas was infuriating at times. I imagine those who are completely new to the game will have a harder time. One frustration will come from getting bursted in a 2v1 or 3v1. Having better positioning will alleviate a lot of these instances, but if your teammates are not playing the objective and do not have your back, it can feel like it’s you against the world. But, such is the territory with any co-op game.)
Those with a higher level than you will likely have jutsu far superior to what you have unlocked. Therefore, jumping into competitive multiplayer right away can be a losing battle. For example, others will have “sand shield” that is amazing for base battle. However, if you have not unlocked Gaara and no one else is a defense type, your team will be at a disadvantage. The best thing to do is level up your sensei to get more jutsu and stick to loadouts that are solid from the get-go if you want to play multiplayer straight-away.
Also, there are some jutsu/weapons in the game that come off as unfair. Nothing is a bigger perpetrator currently than “planetary devastation,” an ultimate move that if you and your teammates are caught in it results in instant death. If Soleil is consistent in patching the game, then this issue will become less glaring down the road.
- Flailing & Invincibility Frames
Shinobi Striker is a hectic game, and with this comes some jank in attempting to land hits on the opposition. You will commonly flail in the air desperately trying to hit someone dashing, slinging, and jumping every which way. Also, the invincibility frames in the game take some getting used to. You will be hitting the opposition point blank and no damage will be dealt because they’ve already been knocked down and need time to recover. By the time they recover, a good team will have backed up his or her teammate and attacked you, messing up your opportunity for a KO. The same can happen to the enemy, saving you instead, but it’s still a bit frustrating to deal with until you’ve mastered the timing.
The game looks good when you are in the heat of battle, but outside of that, the game looks outdated and at times graphically awkward. I was running to Tenten to decode some scrolls and I noticed her facial features would turn into blocky pixels like she was something out of an .exe game.
- Quality of Life Missteps
Navigating menus in the game is not snappy; there is a delay between menus that is just enough to get on your nerves when you just want to change out a jutsu or weapon in your loadout. Also, cutscenes in missions are not skippable, the summary screen at the end of matches is a tad too long and the time given to change your loadout before a match is a tad too short.
If you are remotely competitive and like third-person action, then this game is worth checking out sometime, but likely not at full price. If you are a Naruto fan and love those kinds of games, then a full price purchase would be justified. You will be having so much fun unlocking jutsu and outfits that the nuts and bolts of the game will not matter much.
Are you interested in Shinobi Striker? Did you purchase it? How are you liking it? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
IMAGE CAPTURED WITH PS4
PUBLISHED BY BANDAI NAMCO, DEVELOPED BY SOLEIL LTD.