Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 review
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Posted 3/7/13 , edited 3/7/13
Ah here we are, once again delving into the wide world of Naruto and friends. It seems like less than a year ago we were...wait, it was less than a year ago. Well regardless, The Ultimate Ninja Storm franchise is back with a whole heap of new and returning features, but is it worth your time?

Ultimate Adventure(Story Mode)

Story mode does indeed sum up this part of the game quite efficiently. The number and length of these cutscenes completely overshadows the previous Storm games and probably every other fighting/action game out there. During two separate cutscenes, my Xbox controller actually shut off from non use. Previous entries had a very abridged view of the stories, whether this was to save time and money or they recognized most players already know the story I don't know, but that is not the case here. All the major events starting from the aftermath of Naruto's fight with Pain right up until the end of the game are all fleshed out with great detail. I still cried during the scene with Naruto and Kushina, so take that however you want.

Once again, they have added Konoha and other areas for Naruto to walk around in and talk to people, complete with breakable objects, but fetch quests are no where near as prevalent as in Storm 2. Unfortunately, I'm still hoping they'll take the hint and give us an overworld similar to that of Naruto: The Broken Bond. If you haven't played it, I suggest looking it up on youtube to see what I mean.

I really wanted to be able to play as Kushina in this game and I feel like I got a little trolled because you do get to, but it's just walking through Konoha talking to people while she's pregnant. If they can make Karin into a playable character, they can do it for Kushina too.

One of the biggest things the developer was pushing is the return of boss fights. They are back and arguably better than ever. These range from normal Ninja opponents with 3 health bars and infinite substitutions, to giant opponents like the Kyubi and Geddo Statue. These were sorely missed in Generations by me and a lot of other fans because they help add something to the story mode where as in Generations case, it was little more than free battle with some narration.

There is a new mechanic called Ultimate Decision which allows you to fight certain battles as a Legend or a Hero, the former being the more difficult version. For example, when you fight the Kyuubi as Naruto to gain control of it's power, choosing Hero causes Bee to help you during the battle while choosing Legend makes you do it alone. There are also 2 ninja item sets you can choose from that level up as you go along. Legend allows for more powerful offensive items, while Hero gives you access to health and chakra restoring items, as well as normal ninja tools like bomb tags. Note that you can use the Hero tool set while choosing the Legend option of a fight, in fact this is recommended because alot of bonus objectives require you to keep your health above a certain level.

Be warned The difficulty spike of the last battle is stupidly high. I breezed through the rest of the game with little trouble, but the legend path for the final series of battles is brutal.

One of the new features added are mob battles. These are fights between the character you control plus a group of other enemies. The controls are the same as free battle, with a few additions. A lock on feature is introduced which is definitely a big help and you can switch targets with a simple flick of the right analogue stick. When you defeat one enemy you have the option to hit the "A" button to instantly jump behind another enemy, allowing for quick flowing combat. Unfortunately, with the nature of the source material containing mostly one on one fights, this mechanic is very underutilized. Only occurring twice against normal enemies, Sasuke vs. Samurai at the summit and during the war and 3 main battles, fighting the Seven Swordsman and 2 others I don't want to spoil.

As for the end of the game, the last few battles are pretty epic, but they throw together a "made up" ending rather than cut off in the middle of things. It isn't a made up ending for the series, but a kind of excuse for why things are "on hold". Tobi's identity IS NOT revealed in the game.

For anyone who wants to know exactly what I mean. Caution! spoilers for anyone not caught up with the manga



Be Warned the checkpoint system in this game is kind of bad. If you care about S ranks and completing the bonus objectives during fights, if you even have a passing thought that you aren't going to get it, hit start and retry, don't second guess it, trust me. If you mess up and have to quit out and back into the game, you will more often than not have to do several fights over. The worst case of this was the first fight of the final chapter. I missed the S rank for an achievement so I quit out and it put me back in the middle of the previous chapter.

Overall, the story mode is very well done and thank god for the return of boss battles, but it is a bit long winded, especially for anyone who already knows the story. Luckily all the cutscenes are skippable, so if you really don't want to watch it all, you don't have to.

Sound and Graphics

Once again both English and Japanese voices are available. I won't make a judgement on whether Japanese or English is better(it's Japanese) but the sound quality is good. The music is very basic, with nothing memorable, but it get's the job done and certainly doesn't detract from the game. The same cell shading has returned and looks just as good as always. For those who want to play with English voices, please note, the lip synching is absolutely atrocious. We're talking 80's dubbed kung fu movie bad so keep that in mind while playing. Note that you can change the language after starting the story, but the cutscenes won't change until you have finished the current chapter.

Roster

This is indeed, the biggest roster of characters that Naruto games have ever seen. It comes close to rivaling that of DBZ Tenkaichi 3, which is saying something. There are indeed 80 characters as advertised, but a few are duplicates. 3 Narutos and 3 Sasukes again, plus their pre time skip selves. Doubles of a few others as well. There are however only 11 brand new characters never seen in previous Naruto games. Unfortunately, the advertisements of the 7 swordsman as well as Kinkaku and Ginkaku were sort of a bait and switch. They are in the game, but they aren't playable characters.
A few pre-time skip characters do return, but I mean a few. Them being Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, Neji, Lee, Hinata, Gaara and Kimimaru. Alternate costumes abound with pretty much every Ninja having a ninja war outfit with the "Ninja" headband and the Edo Tensei versions of some characters. DLC costumes will probably steadily come out as well, with the Goku costume and Neon Alley pre-order ones already out.

Gameplay

This is of course the real meat of the game and it has come with some delicious new side dishes.

Awakenings have seen by far the most change. First things first, let's start with what hasn't changed. Any character with an awakening that drastically changes their size, like Bee or Susano'o users, still have to wait until they have taken enough damage before they awaken. For other characters though, you can awaken whenever you like with a simple flick of the right stick. The drawback is that while you're awakened, your chakra bar itself shrinks over time until you end the awakening or it hits the end. The chakra bar does gradually restore over time however. There are some with varying awakening abilities for some characters. For example, Lee's and Guy's awakening, The Eight Gates, drains their health instead of their chakra. Neji's attacks while awakened, causes the opponent's chakra bar to shrink, as if they were awakened(yeah it's kind of OP) while Hinata's drains the opponents chakra, but the bar itself is untouched.

Thankfully, the substitution bar is back because there was nothing that ruined a match more in Storm 2 than sub spammers.

Overall the controls and gameplay have changed very little, but the refinement of the awakening system makes this by far the most fun to play. I still wish I could just pick Kyuubi Naruto or Butterfly Wings Choji to play, but I suppose this is a pretty good compromise.

Online

Unfortunately, this is still a Naruto game. There are OP and cheap characters(thank god the most cheap character, the 2nd Mizukage, is not playable. You will get what I mean when you fight him in story mode) and spammers are everywhere. I played between 30-40 matches online and about 15 of them were Temari ranged spammers and 10 were Sasuke/Madara/Itachi fireball spammers. Connectivity does seem pretty good in this game. I never DC'd and only had 1 or 2 matches with lag, so that's a plus. It's mostly the players that drag online down and not the game itself, so we won't hold it against the game.

Free Battle

This is the same mode it's always been. You have VS Battle, Tournament and Practice. Team battles or Single, vs. the computer, another player or watch computer vs. computer. They have added the ability to select 5 presets so you can set up your 5 favorite teams ahead of time and easily select them, which is a handy feature for those who enjoy very particular team set ups in vs.

Final Thoughts

This most recent installment of the Storm franchise is by far the best of the series to date. The awakening changes are very welcome and the return of boss fights certainly adds style to the story mode. Cutscenes are far too long for a game of this type, but they are skippable for those who don't want to watch. The franchise has never been balanced for serious tournament play, while fun, it allows people online to exploit certain characters to turn things to their advantage in a cheap way if they so choose. The over world is still the worst part of the game by far and really takes you out of the mood of the game.

Positives:
Awakening upgrades
Return of Boss Battles
Largest Roster
Skippable Cutscenes

Negatives:
Insanely long cutscenes
Some cheap characters
Overworld is tedious and boring


This is a must buy for ANY fan of Naruto and I highly recommend it for anyone with a passing interest in the anime or fun fighting games. The developers seem to be heading in the right direction, with a few stumbles *cough*Generation's Story *Cough* and this gives me great hope for the future games in the series.

Please, leave your thoughts about the game or about my review below.
16203 cr points
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25 / M / Norway
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Posted 3/7/13
Very good and informative review.
The game will appear in my mailbox tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to it.

Thanks!
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24 / M / NJ
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Posted 3/7/13

Mathiazdotorg wrote:

Very good and informative review.
The game will appear in my mailbox tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to it.

Thanks!


glad you liked the review. You're gonna have a lot of fun with it.
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22 / M / Orrville, Ohio
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Posted 3/7/13
I got the game yesterday and I like it a lot so far,
11478 cr points
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24 / M / Washington State USA
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Posted 3/7/13
wish I had a console lol... pc never gets any fighting games lol
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24 / M / NJ
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Posted 3/7/13

Wrathfulram wrote:

wish I had a console lol... pc never gets any fighting games lol


Well you got Street Fighter 4, but yeah, not many
zesire 
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Posted 3/7/13
This Game is amazing...I Enjoy the Cut SCENES THE most Ironcally why? Cause it helped me understand the story more than the anime, or manga did. Which is sad I know but The shit I learned via game story like was very clear. I enjoyed it...No faults for me I even love the mini fights against the minionsss
Posted 3/7/13
I already have naruto shippuden ultimate ninja storm 2 BUT I WANT THIS SO FACKING BADLYY SO MANY MORE CHARS ESJGKSJGLKESG
19398 cr points
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24 / M / NJ
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Posted 3/7/13

zesire wrote:

This Game is amazing...I Enjoy the Cut SCENES THE most Ironcally why? Cause it helped me understand the story more than the anime, or manga did. Which is sad I know but The shit I learned via game story like was very clear. I enjoyed it...No faults for me I even love the mini fights against the minionsss


The minion fights I liked, I felt there just wasn't enough of them. It's not really the developers fault though since, like I said, most Naruto fights are one on one.

The cutscenes seemed long to me because I've seen all of this stuff at least twice in the manga and the anime. Ironically, the last chapter which the anime hasn't caught up to yet, probably has the most action of the whole thing. The cutscenes are very well done of course, but I feel a video game of most genres shouldn't ever have a cutscene so long your controller actually shuts off.

I don't regret playing through the story mode at all though and if I decide to play it again, I can just skip the cutscenes
zesire 
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Posted 3/7/13
I for some reason Enjoyed the cut scenes to the fullest. Not only Did I understand the overall better, I actually found my respect for naruto...cause even to the latetest chapter I still didnt respect him for some reason. I know what you mean about the minions thing, I enjoyed that. They have an awsomone oppurtunity to turn it into a minion/boss type of game and I wouldnt mind in the slightest. My bad...Yea If you read and watched the Anime...(I only read and watched up to 20 eps :P) So I guess thats why hahaah. Then I probably would have to agree with u
One Punch Mod
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Posted 10/11/13
Forum cleaning. Thread inactive for more than 6 months.

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