Xbox 360 Review: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2

Naruto is back in game form, but is it any good?

The criminal Akatsuki organisation is up to its usual trouble-stirring ways and it’s up to you to stop them. Choose your team of ninja carefully to ensure you have the right mix of abilities and attacks, and then unleash them upon your foes with devastating special moves.

I can’t claim to understand the ins and outs of Naruto; I’m the same with pretty much any anime series. But Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 is perhaps the closest thing to looking and playing like the series than anything I’ve seen before it. But looks alone aren’t enough to make a game, so how does it handle?

Surprisingly well, actually. The campaign follows the story of Naruto closely and has you fighting enemies in true anime fashion, as well as playing as other characters. You get quests and side-quests that are perhaps a bit repetitive and linear, plus there is a lot of pointless walking about…but the combat itself is the heart of the game and it really stands out with some killer combinations, beautiful sequences that blew me away and solid control to boot.

Any fan of Naruto will simply fall in love with the game. It plays to the strengths of anime shows by showing that it can replicate it in terms of gameplay, something I didn’t expect to work as well as it does. It’s barmy and makes absolutely no sense to me, but I can appreciate the art style and the amazing effects that happen during fights. They are truly epic in scale and completely insane as you would expect.

Besides the campaign there are competitive multiplayer modes where you can fight opponents online choosing from a roster of characters from the series. You can also play AI opponents if you wish to practise using a certain character. You get ranked for each fight and the completionists will have to aim high as you’ll need S ranks for near enough everything to get the best from the game, plus achievements.

There is quite a bit of content to be found in the game and it will take a considerable amount of time to get everything, so you definitely get more than your moneys worth. The load times are a bit long though, which is a shame. Visually, it’s in a league of its own and looks stunning in true anime style, like it’s taken from the series itself. Fans will enjoy the voice-acting and music, although like I said earlier…I have no idea what they are talking about for the most part.

The Verdict

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 is a surprisingly good game that brings the series to life with great combat. The campaign may be weak in terms of wandering about completing mundane quests, but the actual fighting is the star of the game. Fans will truly enjoy this game from start to finish.

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