Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja 4 is the first game in the series that moves into the Shippuden storyline. The newly added "Master Mode" tells an original story that takes place during Naruto's journey with Jiraiya and is centered around a demon named Black Shadow who demands human sacrifices from a nearby village. After this is resolved the mode continues with Shippuden's regular Kazekage story arc.
The "Master Mode" features a small but open game world for the player to explore. Naruto can collect items, fight enemies and talk to people in order to progress. However, the actual fighting remains to be the core of the Ultimate Ninja experience and was more refined and expanded in Ultimate Ninja 4. When two opponents clash, they will begin a series of high-speed attacks, appearing as a pair of blurs flashing across the stage. The winner is determined by a game similar to that of Rock, Paper, Scissors. There is also the addition of "Awakening Jutsu", a technique that is more powerful than the standard Ultimate Jutsu and, as the name implies, "awakens" a character's hidden powers and can only be used when certain conditions are met.