Shikamaru Nara is arguably one of Naruto's more interesting characters. A genius with a lazy streak, he's been a part of Masashi Kisimoto's work since the early days of the original manga – and now he's the star of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's first slice of downloadable content.
DLC Pack 1 adds a whole new scenario to the game's already reasonably robust adventure mode. However, instead of running around the ninja world as Naruto, you'll be taking on missions and jogging from place to place as Shikamaru.
It's important to note, though, that these scenarios intertwine to an extent. Shikamaru will be able to partake in the Ninja World Tournament that you can unlock as Naruto, for example, and you'll also still be able to find memory shards scattered about. In that sense, playing as Shikamaru is basically like switching characters, except the switch comes with a slew of exclusive main missions for that protagonist.
The missions themselves follow the same structure as Naruto's, with various ninjas handing Shikamaru tasks to complete. As is the case with the vanilla adventure mode, these missions aren't particularly exciting – after all, the mode takes place after the ending of Naruto Shippuden, in a time of peace. That said, they still manage to offer up some enjoyable moments, as Shikamaru remembers past battles and helps out his allies with their training.
It goes without saying that fans of Naruto will get the most out of this three-hour adventure. These original character interactions will carry much more weight if you're familiar with the cast, and there are some clever little nods to prior events that only true ninja enthusiasts will pick up on, too.
Overall, Shikamaru's story is more of the same. If you've finished up Naruto's missions and are itching for some more narrative-driven fights, then this add-on will likely prove to be a safe purchase.
Of course, the additional scenario isn't all that DLC Pack 1 brings to the table. Alongside some relatively minor goodies such as ninja info cards, matching voices, and a handful of costumes, it's the new combination secret techniques that are worth talking about. Experienced players will already know that these special attacks stand as some of the game's best moments, and having four fresh ones to see and unleash is undoubtedly a nice bonus. It goes without saying that the ones included here are just as impressive – if not more so – than those found in the base release, and let's face it: that full-team Akatsuki combination is downright brilliant.
Did you nab Storm 4's season pass? Have you given this first DLC pack a try? Catch a shadow in the comments section below.