Reviewed: Novmeber 12, 2011
Released: October 18, 2011
The time has come again to dive into some more anime goodness with the release of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact for the PSP. I really enjoyed the last outing with Kizuna Drive and after just a few missions into Ultimate Ninja Impact I saw some important improvements to the portable series that made it far more enjoyable.|
While I missed watching a lot of the previous Naruto show, Iíve been hooked on that of the newer and somewhat more mature Naruto Shippuden anime. This newest outing, Ultimate Ninja Impact, takes combat to the next level as it chronicles the highlights from the seriesí beginning with the Kazekage Rescue Arc all the way up to the Five Kage Summit Arc. For those of you out there already familiar with the show then youíll have no trouble picking up the key events and characters.
The biggest improvements in Ultimate Ninja Impact are the 360-degree rotating camera and the even larger scale battles ala Dynasty Warrior style. The combat remains the same much like the previous version though one addition, the lock-on feature, makes combat a lot easier. Unfortunately it wonít prevent combos from failing all the time but itís a lot easier to focus on the main threat in any given fight for sure.
Players get to control many of their favorite characters including Rock Lee and Gaara throughout the story though youíve spend a good amount of time as Naruto and Sakura. Each character has their own signature attacks right from the show that you can use to dispatch wave after wave of enemies. While each character is unique with their attacks you can actually dispatch most of the normal enemies using only the basic techniques, though I always mix it up to keep the attack combos fresh in my mind for when I really need to use them.
Using the stronger combos, assuming you have the chakra available, is an easy way to dispatch a lot of enemies at once or drastically put a dent in a bossís health. To really do some damage to your foes you can use your characters Awakening mode. When your chakra and Awakening gauge are both at max you can activate your characterís changed fighting styles as well as appearance such as Narutoís tailed forms. You also gain team bonuses when ever you are in the proximity of computer controlled or real teammates in combat to give you an extra edge.
There are a few game modes available to you in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact though the Ultimate Road story mode takes up most of the experience. After you complete a portion of the story the Extra mode is unlocked and features challenging missions for you take on. As you progress through the main game you will also unlock additional missions in both the Extra Mode and the Tag Mode. Unlike the Extra Mode, Tag Mode can be played offline with the computer or online over Ad-Hoc with another player.
Players will navigate their favorite characters through colorful open levels that are designed and detailed to bring the atmosphere of the show to your handheld. Ultimate Ninja Impact features all the updated characters reproduced from the show in their detailed and customary attire. If youíve followed the anime or mange then you will notice that they carefully added all the character alternate looks seen particularly with Naruto. You get to see him wearing the same outfit from the show when he goes up against Pain in the Invasion of Pain arc.
Every place you visit screams that its part of the Naruto universe and I like the more open feel of each level. You can move freely around the various locals unless prohibited by a story element. I didnít get the same linear clear area and move to next area and repeat feeling that I got in Kizuna Drive. The levels were actually more on cue to those of the Warriors franchise, which is good with the 1 vs. 100 style of gameplay seen within Ultimate Ninja Impact.
One of my favorite things about Ultimate Ninja Impact is pulling of finishing moves and special combos. I love seeing each characterís highly recognized signature moves especially Narutoís Giant Rasengan as it decimates anything it comes in contact with. The finishing moves are equally awesome when you and a one of many teammates finish off a powerful opponent in QTE events that are just jaw dropping and devastating.
Whether youíre an anime purist or prefer a language that you can understand then Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact has you covered. You can listen to the spoken dialogue in the traditional Japanese with subtitles during key conversations or English if you so choose. The voice actors for this adventure are pulled right from the show and sound amazing. There is little in the way of background music and the basic enemies are silent as can be. There is music during the menus, which is good and fits the style of the show to a tee.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact was a complete blast to play and offers plenty of challenges along the way both locally and over Ad-Hoc. The main story is quite lengthy and covers pretty much the entire Shippuden storyline for at least 20 hours of gameplay. The combat does get a bit repetitive which is common in these types of games but I found myself hooked with the combat and awesome attack visuals. I felt like I was a part of the world when playing. If you love Naruto and larger scale combat then I absolutely recommend picking up Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact.