Naruto x Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections Review | You can sneak past this one

Naruto and Boruto fans may need to wait a little bit more for their ideal game.

The Naruto Ninja Storm series garnered immense popularity for several reasons, delighting fans with its engaging gameplay and unique adaptation of the beloved Naruto universe. It had epic battles, fun open-world exploration, and an audio-visual treat all set in the beloved anime. NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS feels like it should’ve been a culmination of everything great about past titles leading up to its release. However, what was supposed to be a definitive Naruto Ninja Storm title has ended up being a disappointing package that offers far less value than what the name implies.

Naruto x Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections offers a plethora of content, but unfortunately, the abundance doesn’t always translate to quality. The Ninja Storm games have always been reigning champions in terms of arena fighters for me. A large part of that is because despite me not being a die-hard fan of the Naruto IP, the first 3 Ninja Storm games presented a world, story, and fantastic gameplay that drew me in. With Connections, I came into it thinking what else does the series have to offer? Unfortunately, the answer I found was an uninspired release that could’ve been so much more.

Not-so-great storytelling

Naruto x Boruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections campaign

The History Mode, which covers the entire Naruto timeline from the beginning to the Shipuden in just eight episodes, falls short in execution. On paper, this is a great idea. Introduce new fans to the Naruto storyline, giving them a reason as to why the IP is as popular and timeless as it is. However, there’s not much substance or effort into this, making me question what was even the point of its implementation.

With each episode lasting less than an hour, the narrative breezes over crucial story details, missing a significant opportunity for clear and effective storytelling. You can imagine just how hard it is to cover such a large chunk of the narrative within more or less just 8 hours. Moreover, the absence of cutscenes, replaced by anime screenshots, and bland English voice acting contribute to a lack of engagement. The entire pacing of the mode suffers due to these quality inconsistencies.

Despite History Mode recreating some of the more iconic moments in the anime, it falters in its impact due to the lack of a proper skeleton that connects it all. It’s borderline impossible to communicate how significant a fight is when I just watched a PowerPoint presentation attempting to provide dozens to hundreds of hours worth of source material content into just a few images. It feels like an afterthought and a waste of the developers’ resources and the players’ time.

In an attempt to uplift the overall experience, Special Story steps up its presentation, taking players on a roughly five-hour journey. While this mode represents an improvement, the narrative itself fails to leave a lasting impression. There’s really not much to say about it. There are cutscenes this time which makes the spectacle a bit more entertaining to see but it still suffers from the same problematic English VO. My early recommendation is to just stick to the Japanese audio and use whatever subtitles you need.

The game also does an odd thing wherein every now and then, it asks you to choose between which scenario you would have gone with if you were placed in the shoes of the characters in the story. Whatever you pick, it has no bearing or effect on the rest of the game. You also get asked after every mission to give a grade based on what you felt when playing through it. These odd design choices make it seem like the whole campaign is just one big market research for the next title just to see what the player demographic prefers.

The same old ninja fantasy

The good news is that everything you know and love about the Ninja Storm games is practically here, gameplay-wise. The controls feel nearly identical, offering both Standard and Simple variations depending on your preference. Seeing all the iconic characters with their own unique animations and movesets is always going to be an enjoyable thing about these types of games.

Unlike modern competitive fighting games, Connections doesn’t really put a large focus on technical mastery of the controls to pull off insane combos but more on combining powerful abilities through careful use of chakras and jutsus. In the story mode, you can easily spam these and have virtually no problem. When it comes to online matches, a little bit more brain activity is needed which can be equal parts exhilarating and confusing depending on the opponent.

There are over 130 characters to choose from to play with in Connections. This massive roster is amazing to see but problematic in practice. The game is riddled with tutorials and pop-ups when you first start to boot the game. It can get overwhelming and yet it still doesn’t do a good enough job at familiarizing you with each playable character. You get the basics done but it’s pretty much up to you to figure out how to fully maximize everyone. This can either be a really enticing offer for those who love diving deep into these types of games or a really intimidating one if you’re just a casual fan.

The battles, despite allowing character swaps mid-combos for strategic team compositions, lack impactful audio feedback, a staple feature that I have always adored in previous titles. Perhaps this could be fixed in a future patch but as of now, it’s less bombastic than what it was. Although the inclusion of stylish link finisher animations adds flair to the combat, the final finishers feel rushed, diminishing their overall spectacle. Both visual and audio elements experience noticeable downgrades compared to previous titles in the series.

Naruto x Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections review Final Verdict – 6.5/10

Connections is a fairly okay game. I do get small inklings of greatness from it, mostly due to how it reminds me of just how good the early Ninja Storm games were. These games served as my introduction to Naruto and anime in general. It still contains the excellent arena fighter gameplay that I have lived since I first booted up the series in my childhood but the unfortunate reality is that it doesn’t do much right now to justify its existence in the modern market. Aside from real die-hard fans of Naruto and Boruto, I don’t see much reason why you should go out of your way to pick this one up.

It doesn’t act as a great starting point for newcomers as most of the single-player content leaves so much on the table for improvement while the technical aspects of the game lack the magic and weight other Ninja Storm games have. The gameplay refinements are there and they do add a lot of value to the package, but the content that surrounds it all feels lackluster.

This review was made using a game code for the PS5 provided by the publisher. 


Naruto x Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections is missing the magic that was oozing in previous Ninja Storm titles. While it does contain an impressive roster of playable characters and contains various refinements for the fantastic arena fighter gameplay the series has helped revolutionize, a lot of the content feels rushed and provides little to no reason to be paid much attention to.