The 3DS is getting some anime love thanks to the newly released Naruto: Powerful Shippuden. Following the popular Naruto Shippuden anime/manga of the same name it is no wonder that this title will be on the radar for many otaku. The game offers a side scrolling fighting style unlike no other and even supports 3D. So how well does this title hold up on Nintendo’s 3D handheld?
Story | 7
The story begins with you either choosing Naruto or Rock Lee. Both of which has their own distinct story as well as their own cast of supporting characters. However, each story intersects at some points and follow the events of the anime/manga with its own little spin. This is thanks to the humor found in the game which is definitely because of its japanese roots. Why else would we see characters do some of the goofiest things imaginable?
Guy Sensei cosplays as Bjork
Guys in bikinis and even getting into drag, it should be known that this game might not be for everyone. If you have an open mind and are able to get through the enormous amount of text between mission to mission, you are in for a fun and zany story. Seeing that this game is based on the anime and picks up from square one, it is fun for enthusiasts of the franchise to relive the events in the anime. But with no animated videos or full voice overs in the game you can’t help but to be let down some what.
Gameplay | 7
During the campaign players will progress with a spider network of levels. As main story arc levels are completed more will pop up showing 3 to 4 new missions. While the missions compile to make a large amount of content. You can’t help but feel like you have done the same thing before. This is thanks to the small amount of combos you start off with and if playing as Naruto you will hear one word over and over again.. RASENGAN!
Even then missions will require some pre-requisites before you are able to play it. This brings up another problem, there are no tutorials to help show you where to level up. Meaning unless you realize you are playing an action RPG you will be puzzled as to why you are getting beat over and over again. Once you level up you XP you will find you are on even playing ground and will progress rather easily. Some missions however have you fetching scrolls and defeating a certain kind of enemy. It is during these levels that the lack of level design begin to show as well as a bland gameplay element. With a timer included during these events it will leave you pulling your hair looking for that one scroll/enemy that you have missed.
Occasionally the game will offer special boss events which allow gamers to face off against popular anime villains of the franchise. This will include Deidara, Orochimaru and more enemies of the leaf. During one of the earlier boss fights the scene from the anime is recreated in a chase for Deidara. While faithfully represented the boss offers little to no challenge as you basically rely on the support characters your are able to call in.
Graphics | 8
In the graphics department Naruto: Powerful Shippuden is fun and engaging. With bright colors and fluid animation the game at times rivals its anime counterpart. Each character is recreated faithfully and enemies are original and genuine to the franchise. However, not all the enemies are something you would expect in this title, with snakes and birds showing their ugly faces. The bird even will poo on your character creating a status effect allowing you not to move, real original. The 3D effect in the game is another let down as you never really feel that the idea was fully intended for the game.
Rock Lee calls in Kiba and Akamaru to help kick ass
All small gripes aside you have to keep an open mind while playing the game. The sound effects in the game is great and spot on. Yet the soundtrack is lacking, with already existing content to grab from the anime you would think it would be a no-brainer to utilize the soundtrack from the anime. The soundtrack ends up sounding generic and more like a filler in the anime rather than a good representation of it.
Final Verdict | 7.5
All in all the game delivers a playable experience for Naruto lovers. Naruto: Powerful Shippuden reminds us more of a reincarnation of an 8-bit title in which, you collect items to progress to the next level. While the idea was intended to increase the amount of gameplay with a scavenger hunt type ideal. You can quickly see why other ideas for gameplay would have been ideal for the title to take. While the graphics and gameplay can be fun at times, there are too many holes found in the game to be a true success.