Hands-on With NARUTO×BORUTO VRby Richard Eisenbeis,
Ever wanted to run around the Hidden Leaf Village to team up with Naruto and friends to fight ninjas? Then have I got the game for you. From March 21 to May 28, NARUTO×BORUTO VR will be playable on the fourth floor of DiverCity in Odaiba, Tokyo. ANN was able to try it out during a preview event this past weekend.
The experience starts before even putting the headset on. The storefront is designed to look like the gate to the Hidden Leaf Village and has life-size statues of Sasuke, Naruto, Kakashi, and Sakura on one side of it. After a group of players has gathered, one of the ninja-dressed workers knocks on the gate to the village. From the other side comes a voice that says the password hint “Uzumaki,” to which the group must respond with the associated word—i.e., “Naruto.”
With that, the gate opens and everyone is ushered into a room and lined up on one side with a giant projection screen on the other. Everyone is instructed to make a ninja sign, shout “Kagebunshin no Jutsu” (Shadow Clone Jutsu), and jump forward. Doing so creates a Naruto shadow clone on the screen that mimics each player's individual movements thanks to a mounted motion camera.
After that comes an instructional video on how the VR game's controls work, followed by some actual practice with the staff. Basically, to move forward, you bounce on the balls of your feet. The faster you bounce, the faster you go. Turning left or right does the same in the VR world, and jumping launches you several stories into the air. The controller in your right hand lets you use a chakra sword, while your left allows you to shoot an exploding Rasengan. With practice complete, everyone is moved into a room full of wireless Pico VR headsets, puts them on, and enters the game.
NARUTO×BORUTO VR is broken into five different stages. Each one is built to introduce the various mechanics and combine them with the previous ones. The first allows you to wander through the Hidden Leaf Village for a limited time to get you used to moving and turning. The second has you run down a specific path full of twists, turns, and elevation changes while gathering items—i.e., it teaches you to combine running, turning, and jumping. The third level teaches you to move and shoot ninjas with your Rasengan, while the fourth is all about fending off attacking ninjas with your sword.
The final mission pits you and two computer-controlled companions (chosen from among Kakashi, Naruto, Boruto, Sakura, Sasuke, and Itachi) against an endless stream of ninjas and a giant boss monster. While you can die, your real opponent is the time limit (and the precious seconds you lose each respawn).
Once the battle is done, you remove your headset and everyone is ushered into a photo booth to take a commemorative photo with Naruto and Sasuke. From there you are free to exit or hit up the gift shop filled with exclusive Naruto merch.
All in all, I had a lot of fun with NARUTO×BORUTO VR—especially the final boss fight. Jumping into the air while shooting Rasengans at the boss to stun it and following that up with countless slashes to the monster's face on the way down simply feels really cool. However, while the bouncing forward movement and jumping worked well, I found turning while moving much harder to perform—even after all the practice beforehand.
If you're in Tokyo between March 21 and May 28 and want to give it a try, NARUTO×BORUTO VR will cost 2,500 yen (approx. $18) on weekdays and 3,000 yen (approx. $22) on weekends and holidays. However, if you can't make the trip, all hope isn't lost. The developers of the attraction were present while I was playing and told me they are looking into taking it outside of Japan in the future. So maybe it will end up coming to a city near you sometime soon.
discuss this in the forum (1 post) |