PS3 Review: Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm

Storm in a teacup?

The No.1 Action Fighting game franchise based on Naruto arrives on PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system for the first time to reign supreme in the next-generation of videogaming. Armed with gorgeous cinematic quality HD graphics, a revolutionary next-gen battle system, multidimensional battlegrounds and seamlessly explorable world of Naruto, Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm will capture the heart of any gamer like never before! Fight and explore in the world of the Ninja!

Experience Jaw-Dropping Cinematic Quality HD Graphics. Witness the cinema-quality animation come to life in high-definition. The line between Naruto animation and gaming will truly disappear!

Roam Freely on Dynamic Multi-Dimensional Battlegrounds. Prepare to battle on robust, multi-dimensional battle grounds. Take advantage of the unique characteristics of each battlefield! Battle is no longer limited to flat ground surfaces.

Unleash Your Ninja Dream Team. Form your own three-man dream squad to battle your opponents! Unleash your allies to defend you in battle, or order them to perform cooperative attacks against your opponents!

Discover A Brand New Mission Based Adventure Mode. Challenge a total of 100 compelling missions in Ultimate Mission Mode and experience the original animated TV series storyline up through the Sasuke Retrieval Arc!

Unleash Massive Secret Techniques on An Unprecedented Scale. Using the power of the PlayStation 3, you can now destroy your enemies with bigger, meaner, stronger and more cinematic secret techniques than ever before!

Master 25 Fully Transformable Warriors. Behold your characters transforming into powerful superior warriors in battle! All characters will possess amazing power that will expand the very scale of a battle to the next level!

Engage in Giant Creature Battles. Face off against the giant, legendary creatures of the Naruto universe at a colossal scale!

Japanese cartoons like Naruto and Dragon Ball Z have been quite popular overseas. I have no idea why, as I personally just can’t get into them. Games based on the cartoons have also been quite successful over the years and Ultimate Ninja Storm appears to be no different. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as a fan of the show might, I could see why they would…despite its flaws.

I know I’m encouraging the fans wrath by saying that the game is flawed, but it is. Essentially you take on missions, collect scrolls, fight massive opponents and that’s it. Exploring can be a bit tedious although I’m sure fans will definitely enjoy seeing many areas that they should recognise from the show. Combat seems free-roaming but is just as limited as it has been in the past, load times are also incredibly long and the install time takes ages.

During fights, you can unleash some pretty devastating attacks on your opponent rather easily. You can adjust the difficulty of course, but I never found it to be a challenge. Now this may be the first Naruto game I have played, but the combat reminds me of Dragon Ball Z Burst Limit. Besides the easier combos and attacks, I couldn’t tell it apart. Of course, this game has the exploration/mission elements to it while DBZ BL doesn’t. So, Ultimate Storm has a lot of replay value for fans, but not for anyone else.

If there’s one thing that did impress me about the game, it’s how it looks. It is animated incredibly well, animation is fluid, levels are detailed, fighters look great…fans will simply love how the game looks. Of course they will love everything else regardless, even if I were to give it an incredibly low score…which I won’t do for a few reasons….One being that the game is actually quite fun in parts, another being that it has a lot of replay value and finally that it looks stunning.

Sure it’s not my cup of tea and it doesn’t change the formula of these games that much, it does create something that the fans have been asking for. A re-telling of the show’s story upto a certain point, plus the option to have English or Japanese voices for those purists. It’s a shame that there’s no online play, instead the game is limited to 2 player local multiplayer…which I find unacceptable for a PS3 game. The game could have benefited so much more from online, perhaps even adding an expansion for more characters or story elements…it seems like a missed opportunity.

The Verdict

Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm won’t blow you away with originality, but it can be fun in small doses. Fans will lap it up and take everything they can from it, but for the rest of us…it seems like a good game that doesn’t break the mould of the fighting genre.