|System: Xbox 360, PS3*|
|Pub: NAMCO Bandai|
|Release: March 5, 2013|
|Players: 1-2 (Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Violence|
There’s also a rather odd “moral choice” system integrated into the game. At times, you will be able to choose between two paths, the “legend” path or the “hero” path. The hero path is almost always easier than the legend path, and while choosing one or the other may alter the story a tiny bit, the outcome is almost always the same. The choice honestly comes off as kind of stupid. It’s literally asking you whether or not you want to be a good guy or also a good guy. It would make a magnificent satire of moral choice systems if it weren’t actually trying to be taken seriously.
The combat of Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is essentially the same combat we have seen in Naruto games in the past. Combos are more often than not relegated to timed presses of a single primary attack button, while specials and signature attacks use up your Chakra, which needs to be charged. You can still use a Substitution Jutsu to disappear out of an opponent’s string and reappear behind them to lay on the hurt. Unfortunately, many battles still do come down to chicken races of “who substitutes last.” It’s still very mashable, and while it’s amazingly fun in single-player, accurately recreating the feel of an epic Naruto battle, it’s still very unbalanced and far too linear for multiplayer play.
The graphics of Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 are absolutely astounding. I would almost say they make up for whatever shortcomings the gameplay suffers from. The cel-shaded animations are far more fluid than the anime ever was. It doesn’t look like a moving anime; it actually looks better. These are some of the best graphics we have seen on this generation of consoles. Characters move fluidly, strikes hit with a force that you can almost feel, and quick time events, while still shallow, are filled to the brim with anime-style spectacle. If anything can be said about the game, it’s that it’s pretty.
In terms of audio, the game is also a cut above the rest. Gamers can choose from both English and Japanese voices, so purists can hear all the “Dattebayos” they want. While you may have your own opinions about the English Naruto cast, they do a solid job here and provide a fine alternative for the softcore Otkau crowd.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 seems to finally understand who it is appealing to. Its Ultimate Adventure mode is an absolute joy if you are a fan of the anime. It has great action, amazing cutscenes, superb voice acting, and, although it has a few weird diversions that could have been dropped, it’s a fun experience nonetheless. Unfortunately, that’s all the game is: a wonderful single-player experience for die-hard Naruto fans. It falls short in multiplayer depth, but this isn’t anything new for the franchise. You have to play through the single-player mode to unlock all of the game’s expansive roster in multiplayer, but once you do you will essentially have experienced all the game has to offer.
Angelo M. D’Argenio
Date: March 6, 2013