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Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Generation Review

by Diogo Miguel March 29, 2012

A long time ago Dragon Ball came into our lives and in turn became one of the most popular animes (cartoon) ever. Nothing has changed since then but the tale of Naruto Uzumaki is just as popular these days.

The Naruto anime is such a success that the number of episodes is well into the three digits figure. It’s not a surprise that various video-game adaptations have been published over the years. The latest in the series is like a best of video-game containing all the key moments revealed so far.

What is surprising about Naruto is how the development team managed to get away with using the same story for so long. It’s probably the fact that Naruto fans are so devoted or that the large cast ensemble makes it possible to add new information, with every new entry. It’s fortunate since Generations relies heavily on story to keep players captivated.

There’s a total of ten individual stories focusing on key characters in the Naruto Universe. Some of them, like the tale of Naruto, don’t present any new information. But it also focuses on the past of characters that don’t tend to spend much time under the spotlight. It’s obvious that dedicated fans will surely know every aspect of Naruto, but those that only played one of the video-games, will surely find a few surprises.

Each of the stories has the same flow consisting of some story and a fight afterwards. It’s a standard for video-games based on anime to focus solely on the fighting sequences. The issue is that anyone who played Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 is set up for disappointment.

It’s difficult to not miss the rewarding feeling that came from exploring the different lands and even catching those elusive birds. Obviously those who are adjusted to the structured story system, won’t mind the lack of any proper interaction with the Naruto Universe. The fact that each story consists of a couple of fights also means that it’s not going to last for an awful long period of time.

It’s easy to complete a few of them in a matter of hours which pales in comparison to the hours put into Ultimate Ninja 2.

Combat mechanics are very similar to those found in Ninja Storm 2. Once again it’s possible to use Jutsu magic by recharging the chakra bar. Recharging will leave the character open to attacks, so there are ninja tools such as bombs, to keep the enemy busy.. Using jutsu magic is one of the key elements to victory but also leaves the character vulnerable, if it’s blocked. There is also a team system which enables the use of support characters.

This is a system that worked before and continues to do so here. The development team did try to make some subtle changes such as the evading system. There is a bar which limits the number of times that a player can evade attacks. It gets charged back but it ultimately creates a vicious cycle, where the player who runs out of times first, ends up being severely punished. It just doesn’t feel properly implemented and is more down to luck than anything else.

The lack of depth in story mode is most likely the outcome of a strong emphasis on fighting modes. There’s an impressive amount to play with and that is just what is available offline. Survival mode is about trying to survive a certain number of encounters. This obviously becomes far more difficult with each new rank.

But it provides a challenge which is most welcome in a video-game that is heavily focused on the fights. Another fantastic addition is the tournament mode where a player can take on a series of challenges or create a custom tournament. It’s also possible to fight with another player using one of the many characters.

Finishing each fight will reward the player with Ryo currency. The total amount will depend on player performance so it’s best to aim for that S piggy grade. One of the charms in Naruto is the use of unique characters, such as a pig with a pearl necklace. The Ryo earned is then used to buy extras such as new ninja tools and parts to customise a ninja info card.

It’s possible to add a skill to a card that is activated during combat. This idea is further expanded by making it possible to purchase cards in real life; which are then added to Generations by entering a code. It’s a fantastic idea for the multiplayer section since it make it possible to experiment with different fighting strategies.

The multiplayer has seen a lot of changes since Ninja Storm 2 that will excite Naruto fans. Online battles are one of the best aspects in Generations. Typically there is a ranked match option where the very best can fight for glory and battle points. Player match on the other hand has a few more options to pick from.

Anyone new to Naruto video-games can now choose to go up against similar players in the Beginner Battle mode. It’s an interesting idea that works since any players with a certain amount of battle points are blocked from using it. Another new addition is the Endless mode which is pretty much winner stays on.

It’s nothing new but it means being able to witness other players fighting. It’s impressive to see the experts fight and making the most of the tools available. An online tournament option also makes it possible to easily hold competitions. The online battle mode is probably one of the main reasons that fans will get excited about playing Generations.

Visually Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is impressive to say the least. The level of detail makes it nearly impossible to see any difference when compared to the anime. There’s a lot of fighting stages set in familiar locations from the Naruto Universe.

Anyone that played Ninja Storm 2 will miss those insane battle moments that made use of quick time events. Generations is a much more contained experience, without such sights as Naruto taking on giant slimy dark tentacles. It’s a shame as some of these battles are in story mode and aren’t as interesting without those moments.

It’s clear that this new entry in the Naruto video-games is aimed at the Naruto fans that are only interested in fighting. The story does a superb job of retelling the various tales in the Naruto Universe. But it feels lacking without all the side quests and so on that made Ninja Storm 2 appealing to a wider audience. Fortunately it makes up for it with all the fighting modes and the superb online battle section.

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is still a fantastic fighting video-game. but it is only recommended to dedicated Naruto fans.

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