Why Did NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS Release to Negative Reviews?
The release of the highly anticipated NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS is finally here — the "complete" collection of Ultimate Ninja STORM titles that features a History mode, taking you back to the very beginning of Naruto at his pre-genin stage. Say goodbye to all of the previous titles and experience everything in one neat little package, giving you access to everything you could ever want and more!
...Is what we would be saying if the game hadn't released to mostly negative reviews, with only 36% positive ones out of 725 (at the time of writing). Instead, its player base is on a downward spiral just a day after its release (and likely more as we inch further away from its release day). What went wrong with STORM CONNECTIONS that has warranted such hate in such a short period of time?
What Do Critics Think?
With six reviews on PC at the time of writing, it's the lowest-rated entry into the Ultimate Ninja STORM franchise to date with a 60 Metascore. Its PlayStation 5 critics have been a bit more positive, bolstering a 70 total Metascore — 10 points above the aforementioned platform. Meanwhile, Top Critic Average in OpenCritic stands at 69, making it the lowest-rated title there as well.
In my review, I criticised STORM CONNECTIONS for many of its implementations, though my biggest complaint was its History mode and lack of content. While I tried not to judge it too harshly for its less-than-lacklustre experience of the Naruto saga Part I and Shippuden, other areas felt less favourable or copied from previous Ultimate Ninja STORM entries.
Reviews across the PlayStation 5 are more forgiving than PC ones, though not by much. The general consensus is that fans of the long-running Ultimate Ninja STORM franchise will like this next entry due to the new (albeit short) Special Story taking place in Boruto. And even newcomers will find some enjoyment in it due to the promise of experiencing the entire Naruto history.
What Do Players Think?
This time, it's players who have put the game and team behind it in a guillotine, and everyone's anxious to cut the rope. Its Mostly Negative stance is a never-before-seen criticism of the franchise, as the usual Ultimate Ninja STORM releases have many backers that'll net it at least a Mostly Positive score on Steam. The reviewers have felt betrayed by CyberConnect2 and Bandai Namco, as the promised History mode (as mentioned before) was a downgrade from the previous entries in the series.
A quick scroll through STORM CONNECTIONS' Steam store page paints a grim picture of the release, with players criticising nearly every new aspect of the game. What started with an outrage on the Day 1 Patch Notes news on Steam, mentioning that online custom matchmaking would be implemented at a later date, has now become a swirl of negative reviews pouring in.
Of course, many players feel that not including online custom matchmaking on day one is an insult to what should be a fully released AAA title, calling it an Early Access release instead. Others have complained about the amount of new content coming from the game (with only 10 new ninjas being included, an all-time low for the franchise), and some have disliked the implementation of a second jutsu overall.
The general consensus? STORM CONNECTIONS is a bad release, especially for the Ultimate Ninja STORM franchise. One review by Steam user Enzevil gives an in-depth summary of the things that everyone has complained about, netting them the top of the "MOST HELPFUL REVIEWS" section on Steam. With 311 users saying this was a helpful review and several dozen awards being given, they encompass what most have been parroting since the release: CyberConnect2 and Bandai Namco could have — and should have — done better.
What's interesting is that STORM CONNECTIONS is not a terrible entry, and a lot of people acknowledge that, but it's at its worst when compared to the previous title (Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja STORM 4) and when taking into account the game's price. It released with a whopping four editions for everyone to choose from, and the prices range from the standard £49.99 (or $59.99) to a gargantuan £94.99 (or $114.98).
What Do I Think?
Here’s the thing: I’ve been a huge fan of all things Ultimate Ninja STORM since I got my hands on the first title. Since then, I’ve played nearly every game released to the franchise (I say nearly because I’m still yet to finish Naruto despite trying to for years, and I didn’t want to experience it on the third instalment of the game). And though I have to say I enjoyed some aspects of it, for the most part, I felt STORM CONNECTIONS failed to impress.
If you want to learn more about my thoughts on the game, I suggest checking out my review! Throughout it, I talked more about the various aspects of the game and touched on them individually. Writing it here would be parroting what I’ve already said and writing the same review twice.
So far, NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS has had an underwhelming release. The main problem is that I don’t know who the game is aimed at, and at certain points, I’m not sure CyberConnect2 knows, either. You are more than welcome to leave your thoughts — positive or negative — in the comments below! I’d love to hear more opinions on this release.