|System: PS3, Xbox 360|
|Pub: NAMCO Bandai|
|Release: March 13, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Cartoon Violence, Mild Language|
by Scott Nichols
There's a soft spot in my heart for developers that are locked into developing game franchises based on popular licenses. With a mountain of contacts and legal paperwork, the developers don't really have much flexibility and are forced to try and innovate under contractual constraints. That's why I'm so pleased with how Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is shaping up. It may tread familiar territory for fans of the series, but may also offer the most complete Naruto game experience to date.
As the name suggests, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is taking a lesson from Sonic's most recent playbook following both the original Naruto and Shippuden series to cover the entire anime's story up to the current arc. That's a lot of content to cram in, a fact highlighted by the largest roster in a Naruto game to date—over 70 characters. Sure, that lofty number includes duplicates such as both young and old version of Naruto and Sasuke, but each one will be differentiated by staying true to the abilities they had at that point in the series.
But what will make Generations special isn't just the culmination of the entire series, but also how it deviates from it. While the series has followed Naruto's story faithfully, Generations will delve into the stories of side characters that haven't been revealed in the anime. The game will even include 60 minutes of original anime content to flesh out those stories. It's rare that this kind of freedom is given to a licensed franchise, allowing Naruto fans a rare opportunity to learn more about some of the series' more mysterious characters.
More detailed side stories aren't the only thing new in Generations. Combat receives an update in the form of a new evasion meter to keep track of during fights. The evasion meter determines your usage of substitution jutsu, hopefully leading to more balanced matches. Also new to the series is an online tournament mode. It's fairly straightforward, allowing a host to set up a tournament bracket for other players to join, but it is certainly a much welcomed addition to the overall online experience.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is scheduled for sometime in Spring of 2012, and aims to be the most complete game based on the series yet. Between both the original and Shippuden storylines and new never before seen side stories, it might just reach that goal. Whether you're a longtime Naruto fan or new to the orange-clad ninja's adventures, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is one to watch out for in 2012.
CCC Contributing Writer