The Ultimate Ninja Storm series has been praised by fans and critics alike, as it's arguably the best video game series based on a anime. The combat system is competent, graphics are impressive and its respect for the source material is tremendous. The traditional model for this type of game is well established: developers choose a saga or story arc from the anime and creates a campaign around it, supplementing it with some extras and versus modes.
This is the format followed by the traditional line of Ultimate Ninja Storm, but in a similar fashion to what happened with Generations, Revolution deviates from that rule. Here you won't find a campaign based on episodes from the animated series - that's reserved for Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 - instead you will find a greater number of "extra" modes.
There are two novelties in terms of game modes, starting with the Ninja World Tournament. This mode portrays a tournament with all the ninjas of Naruto world - good or bad, alive or dead - and it tries to prove once and for all who is the best fighter in the world of Naruto. You can choose any character from the cast and try to get the win, going through a series of battles a bit different from usual.
In tournament mode you will find battles that put four fighters in the arena in a free-for-all with a few peculiar systems. There is no health bar, instead, each fighter starts the battle with 1000 orbs they lose whenever they receive damage. Those orbs become scattered around the arena and may be collected by other fighters. The winner is then defined by fighters with the highest number of orbs at the end of the battle.
Apart from the structure of four fighters in clashes without teams, battles of the tournament have another peculiarity. The arenas include rails that you can use to create special attacks, which aim to achieve multiple enemies simultaneously. With four fighters in the arena, battles can be a bit chaotic, but are usually entertaining.
Another novelty of this tournament mode is the island on which the competition takes place, which can be freely explored by the player. The island is not very big, but you can talk to other characters (though without context based on the fighter you chose - the dialogues are the same for all characters), searching for items, buy accessories and participate in special events. On top of all this you can find a very special mini-campaign based on Mecha-Naruto, an exclusive character for the game.
This tournament is fun and it would have been even more interesting if they had in mind the context of the chosen fighter (doesn't make much sense that they are all friendly with Orochimaru, for example). That said, it is not enough to be the main mode of the game. As an extra, it would have been a fantastic addition after completing the campaign, but it's not strong enough to be the headline act.
Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution has another attraction in the form of Ninja Escapades, a mode that has three small stories, intending to fill some gaps left by the anime or manga. This includes the origin of the Akatsuki group and all are filled with animated sequences, produced by the team that makes the television series. It's an interesting addition, which serves as exclusive episode of the series, with the difference that the fights take place with the game engine, and with the participation of the player. Similar to what the case is with the tournament mode, Ninja Escapades has great merit, but more as a side dish instead of the main course.
In addition to these two game modes, Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution also includes more traditional versus modes between players, both locally and online. We did not had the opportunity to experience this mode, but it should follow the lines of the previous games, which were already very competent.
In general, there are not many new features, but the most devoted fans will detect some changes in the combat system. The most notable is the introduction of a counter-attack which, if executed properly, leaves the opponent stunned for a few seconds. It is a powerful action that can have great impact in the battles, but it is balanced by the fact that it's difficult to time it correctly. Another new feature is the introduction of three combat specialisations. Before each confrontation you can choose from one based on the support of other characters, bigger focus on the Awakening or a more powerful Ultimate Jutsu style.
The combat system is competent, although some characters are clearly not as exciting to play as than others. Graphically, Revolution follows the line of the previous ones, and it'ss amazing. The engine that CyberConnect2 created for Ultimate Ninja Storm is impressive, able to convey a visual spectacle that is in nothing behind the actual Anime. As for the roster, you can expect more than 100 fighters, although there are several versions of the same character.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is a competent game, but it lacks something. If it was a menu in a restaurant, Revolution would have a number of delicious side orders, but no main course. In conclusion, it is not a mandatory entry for the collection, but if you are eager for Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, Revolution can help satisfy your hunger for a while.