Sometime Last week, I found a small crack in the center of my Final Fantasy XIII disc. With no evidence at all that he was responsible, I RAGED
at my 11 year old younger brother, assuming that he was the one who did it since the guy doesn't know how to handle my games properly! Following this incident, I forbade him from playing the PS3 for about a week. Not to teach him a lesson but just because I was angry and didn't know what else to do or say. So today, he asks me in the most puppy dog voiced tone, if he can play Naruto. I wasn't angry anymore and my copy of FFXIII miraculously still works, so I let him play while I douched around on Destructoid, refreshing the podcast page every 20 minutes, hoping for the new Podtoid to be released. (Where is it guys!?)
Anyway, Im watching my bro play Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, and I just looked at it thinking, "This game is actually very damn darn beautiful!" I was unsure whether it was because I'm studying animation at university that made me respect the game in a new light, or because my eyes was a mere 40 centimeters away from the screen allowing me to see the small details. Possibly a portmanteau of both. I would go as far as to say that the game is one of the best looking games in this gen. Sound the horns if you must, but its definatley up there with GOW3, UC2 and the other graphical behemoths being released today, which is a good time to say that Ninja Storm was released in 2008.
What gives me reason to rank it so high, is not so much the visuals themselves, (which are amazing by their own merit) but the animations. My keen untrained eye was trying to figure out the frame rate of the game. I might sound like a complete dumbass here so Im hoping someone can comment and educate me if im wrong as I couldnt google the correct answer, but it seems to play out at 24 frames per second? I say this because the combat animations strikingly resemble the fights in the anime series, which are (for more detailed fights like naruto vs sasuke at the end of the chase sasuke arc) also at 24 FPS? I also remember hearing somewhere that most games now run at 30 FPS or 60 FPS for some scenes that ask for more detail, so maybe the game runs at 30? Im not sure which it is, or whether its some kind of special jutsu the developers used, but seriously, It looks amazing. Even small details, like the way Narutos clothes russle about when he runs or when your rushing someone with the shallow mashing of circle, circle, circle x10, everything is spot on with how the characters actually fight in the series and its just stunning. It's not even the fact that I do like reading and watching Naruto. Shippuuden is definatley not as good as the old Naruto in my eyes, but the pre-time skip stuff was awesome, from episode 1-135, it was all great and im ready to say that it was one of the better on-going shonen mangas out there. But that is besides the point, in the words of HipHopGamer, the game is fire, if you dont got it, imma slap you five times.
This game actually closes the line between pixel and pencil.
The experience made me remember and feel sad about the way that photorealism is what is taking over the industry. Veins, chin hairs and face muscle twitches is the way to go it seems. Mad respect to all the devs out there, doing there work to keep 2D or celshaded graphics alive. I want there to still be a place for it by the time I'm ready to start applying for jobs!
LOOK WHO CAME: