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Naruto

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Naruto Powerful Shippuden coming to the 3DS in March 2013


Based on the spin-off comedy show
Dec 21
// Dale North
Namco Bandai has announced that 3DS title Naruto Powerful Shippuden will be coming to North America in March 2013. This anime sidescroller comes from developers Inti Creates with a bit of help from Naruto game regulars Cyber...
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Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 trailer shows a lot of love


Sep 25
// Josh Tolentino
Now, when I say "love" here I don't mean romance scenes or anything like that (though all that incipient facial contact between Sasuke and Naruto could imply a lot), but Cyberconnect2's love for both Naruto and QTEs tha...
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New Naruto SD game by the makers of Mega Man Zero


Jul 09
// Tony Ponce
I've only been half paying attention to the licensed anime titles coming out of Japan lately. I mean, after hearing about the 1000th Dragon Ball Z iteration, it's quite easy to lose interest. But this new Naruto game for 3DS...

Review: Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations

May 03 // Ian Bonds
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: CyberConnect2Publisher: Namco Bandai GamesReleased: March 13, 2012MSRP: $59.99 What most folk will notice with this title is that, in story mode, it completely abandons the trope of exploring a hub world, RPG-style, looking for fights along the familiar locales of the series it's based on. Instead, players simply choose from three characters (two versions of Naruto -- older and younger -- plus Sasuke Uchiha, with more characters unlocked through gameplay) and fight through their storylines. The stories themselves are told through minimal cut scenes and single-panel art with voiceover. It's an interesting, albeit minimalist approach to convey a huge amount of story in a short amount of time, allowing players to get right into the action with as little exposition as possible. When it gets down to the gameplay, this is minimalist as well. There is only one attack button (aside from the long-range shiruken button), and attacks are varied with addition of direction, jump and Chakra, the energy used for special attacks. Because of this one-button attack approach, all the characters essentially play the same. Their move set may be different visually, but no complex combos to memorize means that every fighter will have the same or similar move inputs with which to pelt their opponents. Thankfully, there are support characters you can choose to call in during battle as well. Battles hinge on various dodge techniques, not the least of which is mastering the substitution, which allows you to teleport behind your opponent in the middle of their punishing combo. You are limited to only 4 of these a fight (to prevent you from repeatedly spamming the maneuver), but sadly, there is no in-game tutorial to aid you in the implementation of this move, and seeing as how crucial it is to winning fights, it's a mode definitely missed. As you battle, you can earn cards and other multipliers, which can help you customize your characters to your liking. Again, a tutorial mode here would have helped with customization and selection, but honestly, I didn't use the cards all that much anyway. It's mostly used in the online mode as it is, and skilled players will enjoy the advantages that multiple card types will offer. Speaking of multiplayer, it's your average fighting game fare, offering both player and ranked matches, as well as a tournament mode. There was no noticeable lag or latency issues, and with all the grandiose special attacks and animations, this was a good thing. Graphically, however, Generations is quite compelling. Environments are vast and expansive, character models are diverse, and everything crackles with energy and power, just as you would expect them to in the Naruto universe. The cut-scenes are a mix of 3D game animation to look like recreated footage from the series, as well as the aforementioned single-panel artwork, and while the presentation of this seems a bit odd when mixed together, it does a great job of telling the extensive story in a concise manner. In battle, the game looks fantastic, with huge effects on the specials, and fantastic 3D environments to roam and take the fights through. Beyond story mode, there are several free play options, such as single player tournaments or one-on-one offline modes. With over 70 fighters to play with and unlock, there's certainly a robust roster here, but despite some customization, it's clear the focus is on single player story, as that's where the majority of the content is found and unlocked. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is a odd beast. The single player content is very good, and has tons of unlockable content to play through. The online component is also competent, and if you're a fan of the series, undoubtedly your favorite character is here. However, despite all of that, because there's no tutorial to help you with some of the more advanced techniques, coupled with the simplicity of the standard moves, it ends up feeling very shallow. How a game can feel both shallow and robust at the same time is a mystery, but Generations manages to do just that. It's a good game, just a hollow one.
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The Naruto series of games is another in a long line of fighting titles based on a popular anime series. What seems to set this series apart from the others, however, is its focus on a pick-up-and-play attitude. While many ga...

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Here's the Ninja Storm Generations launch trailer


Mar 15
// Chris Carter
The Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations launch trailer is now available for your perusal, and I'm already out of breath just saying that name out loud. Like Dragon Ball Z's video game iterations, it's inc...

Becoming a ninja in Naruto Shippuden: UNS Generations

Feb 27 // Wesley Ruscher
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [previewed])Developer: CyberConnect2Publisher: Namco BandaiRelease: March 13, 2012 Bridging the old with the new So what would a Naruto game be without at least four different versions of the Hokage hopeful to duke it out with? With all the different styles, there’s a version of Naruto for everyone, but really it’s only the icing on the cake for fans of the franchise. On top of Narutos' pouring out of every orifice of Generations, there are another 70 fighters (and 15 support characters) from the original series and Shippuden to chose from. Many favorites that have appeared in both games make the return in this, the third in the Ultimate series, but given that the first game was a PlayStation 3 exclusive a good number of the returnees will feel new to folks that only owned an Xbox 360 or played the second game. Having the fighters from both games in one sleek, shiny new package is nice (unless you already own the two prequels) but CyberConnect2 has myriad content packed in to hopefully appease everyone. For starters, the story mode has seen some refinements and instead focuses on the game’s core mechanic -- the combat. Whether it was picking flowers in a field or engaging in boss fights that limited a player’s available move-set, the past Ultimate games often broke up the action with quaint RPG additons  -- something Namco told me during my preview fans found less than desirable to play. To offset the removal of the RPG aspects from the single-player, Generations includes over an hour of all-new animation for the 11 different stories that take players through Naruto’s past and present. While most of the stories overlap, two highly requested characters, Zabuza and Haku, are finally playable, which is sure to make many happy. The final touch for fans in Generations is the inclusion of both Japanese and English voiceovers by the same actors as the anime. Fine tuned for the fighting fan. While there is plenty of Naruto fan service in Generations, why should a fighting game enthusiast care about the latest in this series? For most devoted fighters, the game is kind of a hard sell. Each character’s inputs are identical to one another (similar to the Super Smash Bros. series) and because of that the game lacks the potential to be as technically deep as the top-tier genre titles. It’s understandable, considering that developing and balancing individual move sets for such a large roster is a monumental task, and it would limit the enjoyment of trying to learn and remember every character’s combos. But, even so, CyberConnect2 has found room to make the game more than just a button masher.  The biggest addition to Generations' combat is the ability to dash-cancel from any combo. Previous games locked players into a move once it was initiated and therefore kept the combat very one-dimensional. Performing the new move is easy (though I wasn’t pulling 50-hit combo strings together like the ringer Namco brought to battle me) and it helped me get out of few intense situations during matches. If you’ve played past games, or seen the trailers for Generations, it’s easy to see just how crazy and hectic fights can be with all the screen-filling nonsense that takes place. Having an extra defensive tactic like the dash-cancel goes a long way to keeping each fight fresh and rewarding. Beyond all the crazy Jutsu attacks, ninja support items, and backup characters that have made the series what it is today, Generations also offers the same depth in the online department a fighting game player would come to expect in a game like Soul Calibur V. Tournament mode, online lobbies, downloading replays, and the ability to watch matches while you wait are all included. The game’s combat may not be as deep on the surface as other fighters, but that doesn’t mean the online components have to be as shallow. If you're wearing Naruto pajamas right now... this is for you Perhaps the most unique aspect to Generations is its connection to a new Naruto card game that is coming out. Coinciding with the release of the video game, each card in the collectible card game (similar to Pokemon TCG or Yu-Gi-Oh!) contains a unique code that can be directly input into the game. How this works with the game is in its online battle system. Every player has a Ninja card that they can customize with a title and some specific power-up that relates to one of the cards -- 600 in all -- from the card game. These power-ups (which can contain some sort of stat boost to speed or health for example) aren't directly given to the player at the start of the battle, but instead rewarded if their card's element defeats their opponent's card’s element before the match. While players who buy packs of the card game will have access to specific stat boosts for their characters more quickly, those who choose not to buy the cards will still be able to unlock them over the course of the game. At first, this seems to give those with more disposable income an advantage, but what I found especially cool about the feature is that even though someone may have a card that gives a stronger bonus, they are not necessarily guaranteed it based on its strength alone. It's all very rock-paper-scissors in its implementation, but something that fits Generation's dynamics quite well... and at the very least offers gamers another way to enjoy the Naruto universe. Ninja conclusion... Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is a game that, on the surface, has a very limited appeal outside of its fan base. It's a crazy and over-the-top brawler with a huge cast of characters that, frankly, is a little overwhelming to non-fans. But tucked behind all its anime ancestry, is a sequel to a series that is looking to bridge much more than two Naruto generations together. With all its bells and whistles, it's looking to open up a world of fighting games to a generation that maybe missed the genre's boom in the 90s. It's worth keeping an eye on when it lands on March 13th.
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If there's one thing I know squat about, it’s the Naruto universe. It’s not because I don’t like anime -- I love it, but the boy in the orange track suit and all his ninja buddies never really appealed to...

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The last Naruto Generations trailer you'll ever need


Feb 08
// Josh Tolentino
Naturally, it won't be the last last trailer, seeing as we're a few weeks from the actual launch of *deep breath* Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm: Generations. Namco Bandai will surely release a last burst of promo po...
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A LOT of ninjas are in Naruto Ultimate Storm Generations


Dec 22
// Josh Tolentino
A whopping seventy-two of them, in fact, and that's just counting the playable characters. The number swells considerably when you look at support-only characters and move-set variations on the same character (there are s...
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SoulCalibur 5, more announced at Namco Bandai Level Up


May 11
// Conrad Zimmerman
We're getting a ton of news, fast and furious-like, from Namco Bandai's annual Level Up press conference. First off, the biggest news is that SoulCalibur 5 has been announced, which ought to get a lot of juices flowing amongs...

Preview: Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive for PSP

Feb 04 // Max Scoville
Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive (PSP)Developer: Premium Agency Inc Publisher: Namco BandaiTo be released: February 22 I’ll be honest. I never got into Naruto, so I’m a bit out of touch. I stopped watching Toonami after the Buu Saga ended, so bear with me. From what I’ve gathered, Naruto is about ninja school, and learning to be a better ninja, and fighting ninjas, and so forth. I’m totally cool with this concept, but I probably couldn’t pick any of the characters out of a lineup.The story of Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive -- or NS: KD from now on, because typing that out is getting old -- is all original. It’s not based on anything in the manga or anime, so there’s something new to look forward to. Another bonus is that it includes both Japanese and English voice options, which I think is fantastic. Dubbed voices are nails on a chalkboard if you’re used to the Japanese audio. As I mentioned, the gameplay is a lot of punching and kicking. Special moves and so forth, what you’d expect from an anime game about ninjas. The emphasis co-op is what makes it interesting, as you’re always fighting alongside three other ninjas. When I played with one of Namco Bandai’s PR guys, we each picked our characters, and then picked the computer’s characters. Ideally, you’d play this game co-op with three friends over local Wi-Fi, but if not, the AI’s got your back. In the mission we played, there were giant wild dogs terrorizing a village, and being respectable ninjas, we took it upon ourselves to beat the crap out of those dogs. There are six grades of difficulty: C, B, A, S, S+, and S++. In spite of the fact that we were playing a B-grade mission, one of the easier grades, I still died twice, and my teammates had to resurrect me. The whole teamwork dynamic pays off when players go into Kizuna Drive. This is when everyone combines their attacks on a common enemy to do increased damage. In the game, this requires stunning an enemy, then hitting triangle and circle at the same time. Your teammates will gather around, the enemy is airborne, and it’s all a matter of timing your attacks for when the he is passed to you. It’s like volleyball, except with ninjas. If the enemy is flying towards you, and you time your attack wrong, you’ll get hurt. Just like in regular volleyball.I think Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive shows a lot of promise, and I wish I’d had more time to play with it. It’s obvious the missions are short enough to keep the gameplay fun-sized, which is how handheld games should be, but it looks like some real work went towards making it an overall immersive experience.
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Naruto fans rejoice, because Namco Bandai has another game headed your way. Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive is a PSP exclusive that’s coming out February 22. I got a chance to play it on Wednesday, and I thought I&rsq...

Review: Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 2

Nov 10 // Josh Tolentino
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 (PlayStation 3 [Reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: Cyberconnect2Publisher: Namco BandaiReleased: October 19, 2010MSRP: $59.99 For those unfamiliar, Naruto is a popular Japanese anime series about the adventures and exploits of a bunch of superpowered ninjas with a penchant for beating the snot out of each other. That Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 happens to be a fighting game could only be appropriate. And it's a pretty simple one, to boot. There's a button for ranged attacks, one for melee attacks, one for jumping around the open arenas, two buttons for summoning support attacks from selected teammates, one for blocking (a well-timed press of which will teleport players right behind their opponents), and one for "chakra". That chakra button is the most important one, because it serves as a modifier for any given action in the game. Tap it and tiny throwing knives become really big throwing knives, standard melee attacks become powerful special moves, and slow jumps become instant dashes. Tap it twice, and the next attack unleashes a huge, flashy "Ultimate Jutsu". Then hold it down to charge all that spent energy back up. Players of the original Ultimate Ninja Storm game will find the system identical to the first, except with two major additions. First is the "Team Gauge", which fills up as support attacks are summoned during the match. With a full Team Gauge, support characters start to jump in automatically, shielding players while they charge, interrupting opponents' combo strings, or even throwing in sucker punches to set up a juggle. At its highest level, cooperative "Team Ultimate" jutsu can be triggered to up the damage output considerably. Besides the Team Gauge is the "Awakening", a temporary power-up mode that becomes available as players suffer major damage. Awakened characters move faster, hit harder, are immune to Ultimate Jutsu. In some cases, Awakening can change a character's appearance and move set entirely, such as Naruto turning into his Four-Tailed Fox form. The result is an accessible freewheeling, fighter that moves at a furious, hyperactive pace. The world is shaken and the skies rent with every jutsu spammed. Chaos is at any player's fingertips, and one need not master the quarter-circle to let it loose. With forty-four characters drawn from Naruto's myriad cast (plus a guest star from Tekken), all with their own jutsus, alternate costumes, and multiple variations of support attack (offensive, defensive, and balanced), it would be more than enough to make for a full dose of fan-service fun. But no. Developer Cyberconnect2 went whole-hog on the thing, stuffing the game to bursting with deep, substantial content, most of it jammed into the game's single-player "Ultimate Adventure" mode. The Ultimate Adventure is more than any dedicated fighting game's story or arcade modes. Following the plot of the first 175-odd episodes of the Naruto Shippuden TV series (yes, that's one hundred seventy-five episodes), players take control of Naruto and his friends as they barrel from adventure to adventure, complete with map exploration, side quests, fully voiced cutscenes, and shops from which to buy consumable "ninja tools" to use in battle. And then there are the boss fights (or "guided actions"). Ultimate Ninja Storm 2's real party piece, these story-critical duels are heavily scripted and lovingly choreographed. Each is a grand event, going far beyond the typical beat-a-guy-who's-clearly-cheating fare offered by other fighters. Of all things, boss fights even include Quick Time Events, where button prompts power spectacular action set-pieces that amp up the on-screen action to further extremes than even what's actually present in the source material. Some key fights go so far as to dabble in other genres' mechanics. One aerial chase scene evokes shades of Panzer Dragoon, and another fight has players holding off a writhing sea of snakes as if playing a rail-shooter's turret-gun sequence. A few even take dramatic cues from the likes of Metal Gear Solid and God of War.  With all of this narrative-driven content, Ultimate Adventure mode is essentially a light JRPG that uses a fighting game as its battle system. Players can grind "Storm Points" to unlock new characters, collect materials to craft new ninja tools, and save up cash to buy cutscenes, music, and pictures to ogle at any time. They can even give presents to other cast members in a rudimentary, Persona-esque "Friendship" system to view special events and quest lines. Backing all that craziness up are some of the most spectacular visuals available on current-generation platforms. Perfectly implemented cell-shading, fluid animation and flashy special effects make it feel like one is actually playing the show. The splendor only fades during the more static cutscenes, wherein the lower-detail 3D models reveal some unfortunately jagged edges. While the Ultimate Adventure is where Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 shines brightest, it also contains some of the game's weakest moments, the otherwise hitch-free experience dampened by some unfortunate, anachronistic design decisions. Though the tedious minigaming of the first installment was thankfully stripped out, the world exploration and JRPG-style storytelling that replaced them shoehorns in a lot of somewhat less tedious (but still tedious) walking around. If the boss battles are the best part of the game, why should players have to backtrack all the way to where they happened in order to unlock the ability to replay them? And if the fun of regular battle is seeing a lot of characters belt out their unique take on ninja chaos, why should players have to grind out so many Storm Points to unlock everything? Given the obscene amount of content already available on tap (between 15-20 hours if you pursue every quest line, more if you grind for money and points), the last thing Ultimate Ninja Storm 2's campaign needed was an arbitrary time sink, especially when the core fighting mechanics are so simple to learn and master. While Trophies/Achievements, local versus mode play, and the ability to go online in ranked and custom matches relieve some of the pressure to grind, the game still veers dangerously close to boring players before they have a chance to experience the wealth of content it can offer. This is particularly true for players ambivalent in their affection for Naruto itself. Being based on a tween-targeted cartoon widely regarded as a successor to the Dragon Ball franchise, the plot isn't exactly gripping or complex. All things considered, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 remains a rock-solid, highly accessible game that's as much fun to watch as to play. Though held back by some ill-conceived design gaffes, it's still chock-full of meaningful content sure to delight any fan of Naruto or anime games in general. True fans should rejoice at being able to actually play their beloved show, prospective fans can consider this an effective primer for the series at length, and non-fans should at least try it, especially if they can pair off with a player willing to do the grinding for them.
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Most games based on a licensed property are terrible. It's a sad truth of the gaming world, and many players have accepted this as a foregone conclusion. Licensed games are bad until proven good. Merely tolerable licensed ...

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Pre-order bonuses for Naruto Shippuden are Narutastic


Aug 25
// Conrad Zimmerman
It's funny. If you look at the above screenshot and read aloud the words that you see in order from top to bottom, you'll be echoing what usually goes on in my mind whenever I see anything related to Naruto. Maybe I'm getting...
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E3 10: Naruto: Ninja Storm 2 looks like the real thing!


Jun 16
// Bob Muir
[As originally posted on Japanator] Or even better, in some ways! I'll admit I stopped following Naruto a while ago, but watching the new trailer for Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 makes me wish I had kept up with ...
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Due to Destructoid's downtime since Sunday morning, we're extending some of our 25 days of giving contests! For our Aion contest, simple tell us an animal, product, whatever that would benefit from having angel-like wings. Do...

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Winners of the Naruto contest get!


Nov 23
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
We had a bunch of awesome Naruto prizes courtesy of Tomy Corporation to giveaway to some Naruto fans last week. We wanted to give them to real Naruto fans so we asked you all to show us how much of a Naruto fan you really are...
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Well, are you? We want you to take a picture of yourself in front of whatever Naruto product you own. Whether it be clothing, DVDs, videogames -- even taking a picture of yourself in front of a computer screen with something ...

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Believe it! Ubisoft confirms new Naruto game in development


Jul 25
// Justin Villasenor
It looks like the rumor we had previously reported was right on the money: Ubisoft has formally announced that Naruto: The Broken Bond is in development for the Xbox 360. Serving as the sequel to Naruto: Rise of a Ninja, The ...
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Captain Obvious: Naruto: Rise of a Ninja sequel in development


Jul 06
// Justin Villasenor
When Naruto: Rise of a Ninja was released last year for the Xbox 360 I was initially pretty skeptical. After seeing the way the Naruto franchise was being whored out with sequel after sequel -- very quickly becoming the new D...
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GDC 08: Naruto: Ninja Destiny preview


Feb 19
// Dale North
We had a chance to play Naruto: Ninja Destiny for the Nintendo DS this morning, and fans of the series will be glad to hear that the portable pummeling action is a blast -- and not a drag.This game is an upgrade to the 2006 r...

Destructoid review: Naruto: Rise of a Ninja

Dec 01 // Dale North
Naruto: Rise of a Ninja (Xbox 360)Developed by UbisoftPublished by UbisoftReleased on October 30, 2007 As with any licensed game, anime or not, gamers want to know how accessible a title is to the uninitiated. The very nature of Naruto: Rise of a Ninja makes it totally accessible to anyone interested; it puts the player in the shoes of Naruto, letting them experience the anime's story from the very beginning. As you play, you'll work your way through the first 80 episodes of the anime, covering the time from Naruto's birth all the way up to the Chunin Exams. Naruto:ROAN is interspersed with video clips pulled directly from the anime, and while most of the time is spent actually playing Nartuo's story, the more intricate plot details are left to these video clips. By the end of the Story Mode of this game, players will be well versed in beginnings of Naruto.The majority of the gameplay is centered around Konoha, Naruto's home town. Newcomers to the series may have to take an anime fan's word for it, but Ubisoft pulled out all the stops in the recreation of the hidden leaf village. Konoha is a sight to behold and a blast to explore. It seems that even the most minute details from the anime have been accounted for in this town's realization, and every landmark has been reworked in a style true to Kishimoto's art. The developers have spared no expense to make it feel like you're running and jumping through a real hidden town of ninjas in the woods. Konoha's charms aren't limited to its scenery; some of the best experiences that Naruto: Rise of a Ninja holds are in this vast town's exploration. It's a lot of fun to just get lost and do what you please, sandbox game style. At the height of your ninja powers, you'll be able to scale walls and enjoy the impressive view from the tops of tall buildings. The feeling is somewhat reminiscent of Assassin's Creed, although the difference here is that Naruto isn't out to kill anyone in his home town. From wide open city thoroughfares to dark narrow alleys, the town is packed with varied inhabitants, while they may not all like you, their inclusion really helps to make Konoha seem like a living, breathing village. You'd think that playing through the back story of multiple seasons of anime may be a lengthy undertaking, but Naruto:ROAN manages to condense it down to less than 10 hours of gameplay. There are only a handful of key story elements that players are forced to experience, and the rest of the time is given to optional missions to build skills or gain favor of the townspeople. These missions range from fun Crazy Taxi-style ramen delivery missions to terribly boring "I lost my purse in the forest" item quests. Much like anime's famed filler episodes, these missions are necessary evils, and not everyone is going to appreciate them. Some of the missions are enjoyable, but it seems that the developers may have run out of steam by the time they created them, and there's probably one too many item fetching quests. Granted, these are mostly optional, but just like grinding in an RPG, you'll want to do some of these to become more powerful.  On these missions, you'll control the orange-clad ninja who has special magical powers called jutsus. Your successes and training equal more powerful jutsus, and these will come in handy during some of the mandatory quests. These powers are taken directly from the animation, and you'll find that Naruto can clone himself, walk on water, climb walls, and even transform into a naked girl. These moves are executed by holding down the left trigger button and quickly inputting a sequence with both analog sticks during the alloted time. Aside from these powers, gameplay in the story mode is of the 3D platforming variety. You can expect your standard timed hopping and double jumping, though you'll eventually acquire a super high speed running skill that is an absolute blast...until you run into a wall. Outside the village you'll find yourself hoping over spiky bamboo poles and swinging logs [damned logs!] to get to the next village. One highlight is the high-speed ninja-style tree jumping seen often in the series. Timed button presses let you hop from branch to branch, building more speed with each successful launch.  Travel is broken up with random encounters with "bad" ninjas. These are usually bandits or thieves that need a quick ass kicking. Upon encountering an enemy, the game switches from third-person platformer to a standard fighting engine. If you survive the brawl, you're free to continue your mission. You'll sometimes feel like you're fighting the same half dozen bandits over and over, but you'll make quick work of them when you get stronger. The fighting is simplistic, yet totally approachable and quite fun. There's only a couple of attack buttons, and success relies on chaining simple combos and blocking at the right times. The previously mentioned jutsus do add a bit of spice. If you can manage to pull off something like the shadow clone jutsu during a fight, you'll have the chance to input timed button presses to do some major damage to your enemy. These are not unlike RPG summon spells, but the difference here is that these are interactive, rewarding, and visually impressive. Naruto:ROAN is mostly polished, but its faults mostly stem from the high number monotonous item fetch quests. I remember one particular quest where I was forced to scale walls, dodge spikes, balance on ropes, and traverse long distances for a bag of potatoes. What sense does that make? And, while the running at "ninja speed" aspect of the game is novel at first, there's probably one too many "do you want to race me?" challenges in the game. One mandatory timed race took this honest reviewer 17 attempts to successfully complete, though frustration set in after about 5 tries. Other problems lie in how the story is told. The voice acting varies from character to character. While most of it is qualifies as passable (and one or two characters, like Sasuke, are actually great), some are just plain terrible and make me wonder how the dialog made it through quality assurance. I found blatant mispronunciations of names, Japanese words (like "ramen"), and locales, and there are even a few instances of characters that are so mumbly and unclear that you'll need the screen text to get by. Luckily, a downloadable content pack that includes the original Japanese voice acting is said to be on the way soon. The sounds effects and music are pulled straight out of the anime, and during gameplay you'll be treated to high-quality, polished surround audio. It's a real shame that the anime cutscenes switch to lower quality, compressed-sounding audio that's several years old. Combine with with the obvious visual difference (the cell shading looks better than the anime!), and it seems like the anime cutscenes are almost like a slap in the face. It's not that the cutscenes are bad, but you'll definitely see a jarring difference. Don't let a few crappy voice overs and a few tedious coin quests get in the way of trying out Naruto: Rise of a Ninja. In the end, this game exceeded my expectations, and Ubisoft should be commended for doing something different and ambitious with this anime license. The story mode is worth the price of entry alone, and the fun fighting and excellent online matches are both wonderful bonuses. Of course, this is an absolute must for Naruto fans, but those looking for a solid adventure title for the Xbox 360 should take notice as well. Score: 8.0  
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It's understandable that the expectations for a game based on an anime license wouldn't normally be set very high, especially for gamers that aren't anime fans. In the past, there hasn't been much in the way of licensed t...

Destructoid review: Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles 2

Sep 29 // 8BitBrian
 The combat system is that of a beat-'em-up, which is great for this type of show: you, the main character, wailing on countless ninja and puppets because they're just not as cool as you. You can even team up with a friend to play as one of the other ninja in your three-man squad. That's where the game falters first, though. Once you're friend joins in, the camera goes all out of whack. It will center on the first player, and then it will pan according to the movements of the second player. While in the middle of combat, this makes it impossible to tell what's going on when either player actually moves.The combat itself is a level above Dynasty Warriors -- instead of mashing one button, you have two to mash. The characters have two representative ninjustu techniques, and are the main reason why you'd want to play as a particular character. I'm not quite sure if this is a bonus, but the game stays true to each character: Sakura is completely useless, Naruto is annoying and only good if you spam his special moves, and you're better off playing as Kakashi or Shikamaru.One of my biggest problems, though, has been how the levels are designed. Many objects have barriers around them, because you can’t interact with the object, or it’s designed to be a wall. The problem is when things like grass and small bushes have this same barrier, it becomes dumbfounding why I can’t run through them. I thought this issue was resolved by the first year of the PlayStation 2’s existence. When you kill an enemy, their spoils will sometimes be flung over the border of the level, and just sit there, while knee-high grass prevents you from collecting it. It's a problem that shouldn't exist in the game unless you're under a time constraint for putting the game out.My favorite story to highlight is during one part of the game, you enter an enemy fort, and have to go through a clockwork jumping puzzle (which the controls are not suited for). Once I cleared the first room, the second room looked oddly familiar. I went through it, and into one of the other doors. Then, I realized why. Every single clockwork room was exactly the same. Every gear and block was laid out in the same space. This went on for seven or eight rooms. It was as though the developers thought that the little kids this game was aimed towards wouldn't be able to handle any sort of variety.The controls, though, don't handle well for a jumping puzzle. The controls are slightly heavy, and there's actually a lag between pressing jump, and your character jumping. Very bad when you're trying to do a running jump. Otherwise, within the battles, the lock-on targets seemingly randomly. I've had it lock on to the furthest enemy from my character before.The graphics for the game are rather dated. Things look blocky and aren't too original. There's obviously some detail put into the character models, but the enemies are generic ones from the anime and there aren't a ton of different ones. Also, the voice-work in the game is that of the Naruto dub. If you don't know how bad that is, check out an episode on Cartoon Network sometime. You'll understand the pain that some of us anime fans go through.The game's also got a versus, mission, and survival mode through which you can keep yourself from the story for a few minutes. The survival mode is just like in God Hand -- defeat a certain number of enemies within the time limit to earn yourself some spending money. The mission mode has similar tasks, like "defeat the bandits!" or "kill the puppet boss!", and has you running around the map. The only problem is, unlike with survival mode, if you die during a mission, the game will revert to your last save, destroying your progress. To a young kid who doesn't really understand how important saving often is (or if you just don't care), it can kill off a hell of a lot of progress.Overall, the game doesn’t throw much difficulty at a veteran gamer. To an 8 or 12-year-old child, though, this game would be more difficult, and the flaws of the game wouldn’t be as apparent. From a hardcore perspective, there’s no reason why you would want to play this game – unless you subscribe to Naruto completely, and will follow the series to the ends of the earth. The only redeeming factors are that the game forces me to think beyond mindlessly pressing the square button, but only barely. This game is better off being one that time forgot.Final Score: 2/10Forget it!/Rent it!/Buy it!
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Naruto is one of those anime series that is filled with highs and lows. When the show first started, it was absolutely wonderful. Filled with ninjustu, awesome fights, and a slightly annoying, “dattebayo!” every e...

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