If your into Anime and reading Manga’s then Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is right up your alley. The game is inspired by the popular Naruto Shippuden Anime/Manga of the same name and follows the story of Naruto Uzamaki of the Leaf. During the game you will experience much of what has happened in Naruto’s story. Can the game reign supreme amongst other titles in the fighting genre or will it run out of chakra?
Story | 7
Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 starts off with a little back story on what exactly happened the night of Naruto’s birth. After you successfully fend off the attack on the village you meet some key characters that play a major role during the campaign. From here the story picks up years later after Naruto defeats the Akatsuki leader Nagato and his Six Path’s of Pain. In doing so Naruto has become the hero of the hidden village of the leaf and continues his quest to become a Hokage.
The 4th Hokage springs into Action.
Each main story arc is divided up into 10 different chapters. The events highlight the attempt by Sauske to abduct the 8 tails, the Kage summit in the Land of Iron. But more importantly it shows how Naruto unlocks the power of the nine tails as well as the 4th great Ninja War. During the war segment you see the battle fought on 4 different fronts until the story reaches its ultimate climax.
While the campaign is great at explaining what is going on for newcomers of the series. The game seems to drown us with cut scene after cut scene. In doing so, the cut scenes take away from the great gameplay found in the game. Each time you finish a battle you are taken to another cut scene that is around 15 mins to help move the story forward. If this wasn’t as common as it is the game’s story would have been rated higher. Naruto does have a great story as I myself am a fan of both the manga/anime series, however I would’ve liked to have played through these scenes rather than experience the narrative all over again. Thankfully you are able to skip through these cut scenes, just expect to do it 3 to 4 times between fights.
Gameplay | 8
The campaign in the game is riddled with cut scenes as stated earlier. However it is also riddled with some of the best gameplay the game has to offer. With exclusive quick time events and boss battles, some of the villans you fight on the battlefield during these scenes are truly epic. It is just a shame that you have to shift through all the junk in order to get to these events. An example of this is the open world environment allowing players to explore the world. Yet there isn’t really anything to explore, it just serves as a gimmick to keep players from thinking that the game is too short because they are met with load screens every 5 seconds while traveling on foot. During the main campaign these segments feel unnecessary and feels as if the game is dragging its feet. Only after when you complete the game will the open world environments offer a side quest but even then it is a hassle navigating the world and should’ve been deleted from the source code.
The fighting mechanics of the game feels balanced and fresh. Who’s your favorite character in the Naruto franchise? Well seeing that there are over 80+ characters in the game more than likely you will be able to play as them. Each character has their own special set of moves and advantages during a fight. Yet if you know one ultimate jutsu for a character, you pretty much know them all as they all share the similar button press.
An epic battle for Chakra
The way the characters differ are from their punches, combos and substitution techniques. While most characters use the same wooden substitution technique, others like Gaara, and Itachi use different techniques. Each user has a bar that slowly depletes their substitution technique meaning strategy is key while using it. Combos play a major role as well as each character has a move set just for their style of fighting. Meaning Naruto fans will bask in the glory of seeing their favorite character pummel the rest of the roster.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja STORM 3 also allows for tournaments and online battles to take place. Most of the time the connection stability while fighting another player around the world is solid. With tons of Naruto games to be released already new comers may find it hard to jump into the online scene with some pretty harsh competition. If your able to stick it out this title can rival even the best Street Fighter games.
Graphics | 8
Cyber Connect 2 has really out done themselves with the graphics engine. The game looks and feels like an interactive cartoons. During timed events the engine really shines as you sometimes can gasp in amazement rather than push the corresponding button. Each ultimate jutsu is animated smoothly and looks damn good while performing it. While experiencing the open world environments the background scenery is gorgeous and details much like the fighting levels found in the game.
Sasuke’s Chidori vs Naruto’s Rasengan
The sound in the game sadly is a mixed bag. All of the voice actors are back from both the japanese and english versions of the anime. The actors do an extraordinary job reprising their roles almost rivaling the anime. Sound effects are taken straight from the anime and help create the Naruto experience. Yet one major thing reams its ugly head, the soundtrack is well misplaced. If your thinking the audio tracks will be like that of the anime sadly your mistaken. Music in the game feels generic, if we could just have the original music of the series the game would really shine. Instead we are left with loops of bland tunes rather than something that adds to the emotionally driven experience.
Final Verdict | 7.5
While Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja STORM 3 really eases our pallets for a Naruto video game. It is really only intended for those who love Naruto. That isn’t to say newcomers are welcomed, they just might not understand that they are playing a heavy driven based game, as this is how you unlock all the different characters in the game. As a fighting game it really shines bringing a unique form of Ninjutsu to each character is simply stunning. If you pick this up complete the dragged out story, unlock your favorite characters and never go back to the 4th Great Ninja War!