|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: CyberConnect2||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
April 29, 2008 - Naruto: Ultimate Ninja has long stood as the best brawling franchise in the Naruto universe. Its mixture of simplistic core gameplay and complex combo systems made it stand out in the crowded catalogue of Naruto games. However, the Ultimate Ninja Series has thus far been relegated to the PlayStation 2 and PSP handheld systems. But now the Ultimate Ninja series is headed for the PS3, and it is arriving in style!
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm is, for the most part, going to follow the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja formula. It will have a fairly simplistic combat scheme that will rely on simplistic commands that build to form complex chain combos. However, the battle system will be getting a face-lift in the form of the all-new summon system. The summon system allows you to summon two additional Naruto characters to step in and perform a special move on your foe. This looks pretty cool, and hopefully you'll be able to choose who your summoning allies are.
The battle system in Ultimate Ninja Storm will also be different from previous console entries because it will feature team-based battle modes. Those who played Ultimate Ninja Heroes on the PSP might remember the team-based element, but Ultimate Ninja Storm marks the first console game to utilize this system. The three-man team in Ultimate Ninja Heroes allowed you to pick your three best characters and utilize them the way you think best in a string of battles.
But the battle system, as cool and interesting as it may be, will probably not be the first thing that strikes you about Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm. What will probably strike you first is the look of the game, which is totally amazing. The animations are such high quality that the game literally looks like the anime. The cel-shading is basically gone, and every single frame of the game features an astonishing amount of detail. The 2D rendering is incredibly seamless, and the action is very fluid. This title, along with anime brother-in-arm DBZ Burst Limit, looks like it will usher in a new era of anime cinematics.
As far as the storyline for this title goes, Naruto fans who are looking for something past the Sasuke Retrieval Arc (which has been the focus of the past two Ultimate Ninja games and the most recent Clash of Ninja title), you'll still be left waiting. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm will attempt to spice up the material with a new mission format, as well as the incorporation of more team elements, but at the end of the day you'll still be playing through the same material you have been playing through for the past two years. Sorry, Shippuden fans!
But the game is not completely disappointing in terms of new content. There will be a lot more attack options this time around, as well as more intricate jutsu. Ultimate Ninja Storm will probably still feature the series trademark button smash, but there will also be more in the way of cinematic-style secret techniques. Instead of just one or two attacks per chakra level, it seems that this time around there may be more choice, although it is unknown if this will be done via random selection or an elongated button smash.
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm is looking to be the definitive game for Naruto fans. Although it might still be lacking in terms of storyline, the revamped gameplay and the absolutely stunning graphics will probably be enough to satiate even the most die-hard fans. And even though the release date has not officially been set, I am betting that this will be coming to your PS3 sometime in Fall/Winter 08. So ninja fans, make sure to set your intelligence gathering skills on maximum and keep an eye out for Ultimate Ninja Storm!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer