Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations|
Naruto needs no introduction. Itís a long-running anime with a long history of game tie-ins. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is the latest game to bear the Naruto name, and while licensed games and quality donít usually meet, this is a solid title. This 3D arena fighter features over 70 characters to choose from, loads of anime cutscenes, and online multiplayer.
Fighting games arenít generally known for being accessible, but Storm Generations is simple enough for anyone to pick up. Most moves are performed just by hitting a direction and an attack button. You wonít find yourself really having to perform many moves that involve quarter-circles, half-circles, diagonals, or 720 degree spins. Itís a very easy game to get into, and the challenge comes not from figuring out how to perform the moves in the first place, but knowing the proper time and place to perform them. There are tons of playable characters, but there is admittedly little practical difference between many of them. If you become good with one character, odds are good youíre probably good with all of them.
The fights themselves are fast and exciting, a natural byproduct of the franchise being about ninjas. The characters have something called substitution techniques, which in mechanical terms let you teleport behind your opponent. However, this technique consumes energy from a gauge, so you canít just teleport your way out of every mess. The game also has a number of support characters that, while not playable, can help you out if used correctly. On top of all this, the multiplayer is excellent. Just plain playing the game against other human beings, but technical issues associated with multiplayer, such as lag, were practically non-existent.
Ultimate Storms also looks gorgeous in play. Making a 3D game out of a 2D license and keeping the right visuals has always been a little tricky, but Storm Generations carries it out perfectly. Whether making a cool pose or clashing in a frenzied melee, the characters and special effects always look fantastic. The animations are likewise fluid and smooth, and the game is beautiful in action. The sound is likewise fantastic. The music is enjoyable, and the inclusion of the original Japanese voices is a fantastic option sure to please any fan, especially the purists. Dubbed voices in general are almost criminal to many anime fans, and a game that neglects to include the original Japanese voice acting can be a deal breaker for many fans.
As far as longevity goes, thereís a lot to be had here. A number of the gameís 72 characters are unlockable, along with the 15 support characters. The main story mode retells a large part of the series and snips out a lot of useless filler, helping get players up to speed on who these people are and why they should care about them. There are also side stories that help to flesh out the gameís minor characters and bring the world to life. Accompanying all of this is a bit over an hour of new animation from Studio Pierrot, the actual animation studio that worked on the show.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is a fun game with a lot of exciting moments and loads of fan appeal to tie it all together. If youíre a Naruto fan, this is a must-have title. If you arenít, you might want to wait for a price drop to $40 or so. Itís very easy to get into, so you can enjoy it yourself or play with friends without having to worry about people taking a long time to learn all the moves. I only expected a simple fighter, and this game ended up being a really fun surprise.