Review: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations (X360)

Here we are again with yet another game in the popular ninja Anime/Manga series, Naruto. It breaks its record with its elongated title length, but it remains the same spirited fighting game we know and love.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations packs the events of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, thereby including the content of the two preceding Storm games and a couple of arcs thereafter. But before you go hooting at what a great bargain this game is, there are some changes made to this addition in the series.

The entire free-roaming RPG-style mission-based gameplay has been removed, so there’re no more trips to the ramen stand. This is replaced by animated and static cutscenes that tell the story that almost always leads to the next fight. The game’s Story Mode tells the story of the series through the eyes of the several characters, divided across the young and older incarnations of Naruto and Sasuke as well as other popular favourites.

With no role-playing elements, the bulk of the game will have you button-mashing on your controller pulling out the fights that go with the storyline. The controls remain the same (even if you’ve played it on the PlayStation 3 before, like I did), so you can just jump right into the action. Fights have been retuned and are now slightly easier to pull off, but don’t let your guard down just yet because your opponents are still as strong as they are varied, not to mention you can’t poof off into a wooden substitution log as often as you’d like now.

As usual, your performance is graded when the battle is done and you unlock money and other stuff like videos, collectables and playable characters. The consecutive battle gameplay reduces the time spent in story mode, playing well for gamers looking for nothing but action. The boss fights and quick-timed events in the earlier games are there no longer.  I did feel the journey from point A to point B throughout the earlier games slowed down the action, but removing them entirely makes the game feel pretty rushed into.

There is a hefty roster of 70 characters from the series, with those from Storm 1 making a return. You can tune-up your character is through the Shop menu, where character upgrades are dealt through the use of cards unlocked in-game as well as physical collectable cards that seem to be exclusive to the European region (nothing a quick Internet search can’t fix). Equipping and building upon these cards slaps on a bonus on your abilities and charge gauges. These upgrades can be used on characters in and online for a more varied performance, especially with other humans online.

True to the series, Generations retains the painted, cel-shaded models you see fighting in the gorgeous 3D graphical environments that thins the line between game and anime. Some of the arenas are visibly reused from the other games, but they still look pristine. Without the need to load towns to roam around it, the game also loads faster than its predecessors.

I have to consider this point thinking as a person with no knowledge of the Naruto franchise. The story from where it picks up to where it ends covers over 10 years of content, forcing the developers to summarise the story and skipping chapters. This isn’t all good for newcomers unfamiliar with the series. You could, however, say that this game is a good crash course into the world of Naruto.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations straps plenty of condensed content into one game, keeping just the gist of it, but if you liked the series for the RPG elements, you may feel something lacking from an otherwise likeable game by fans and arcade fighter enthusiasts.

SCORESHEET (out of 10) OVERALL
7.5
Good
Graphics 8.0
The graphics haven’t changed much from Storm 2, but they still look lovely coupled with cel-shaded character models.
Sound 7.0
For Naruto purists, they’ve kept the Japanese voices present in the other games, but it lacks an expansive overworld soundtrack, simply because there isn’t an overworld.
Gameplay 7.0
The fight sequences are still as entertaining and action-packed as before, but losing the open-world portion of the game takes some getting used to.
Lasting Appeal 7.0
There are plenty of collectables to unlock and ninja cards to collect and customise and take to the fight online when you’re done with the story.
How the RGB Scoresheet works

 

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is a fighting game developed by CyberConnect2 for Bandai Namco Games on the Xbox 360 as well as on the PlayStation 3.

 

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