Players take control of their favourite characters in a story line that has one epic conclusion as Naruto faces off against the evil ninja to walk this world, Tobi.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is ultimately an enjoyable game with lots of characters from the series. However, there isn’t much here for none anime/Naruto fans really and in fact, even fans of the series might be left a little bit disappointed.
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
For fans of: Naruto, Anime.
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also available on: Playstation 3
If we had to give it a numerical score: 6/10
What I loved
- Some Great boss battles
- Fight Ninjitsu animations
- Loads of characters
Not so much
- Storyline drags a bit
- Not enough beat em up sections
Ninja Storm 3 isn’t the most visually pleasing game. In fact, not much seems to have changed from Ninja Storm 2 graphic wise. This is surprising since the two games are almost two years apart from each other. Jagged edges are pretty common throughout the game. Character lines also seem to disappear at places. It is almost as if the lines aren’t thick enough to really amplify the characters properly.
However it isn’t all bad. A game based on a popular anime is not without colour. Each character is easily recognisable with their own ninjutsus that at times could look wonderful. Plus there a few key points in the story which have some spectacular visuals and will leave you with goosebumps.
THIS IS A STORY OF A HERO
Ah yes Naruto. The story of an orphaned kid who wants to be a great ninja one day. If you are new to the character of Naruto you will need to do some reading on the backstory for this game, as it picks up right where Ninja Storm 2 left off.
Danzo is the new Hokage and the Five Kage’s have called for a summit to discuss plans for the Akatsuki. You mainly take control of Naruto through this mostly linear story which follows the anime pretty closely. At points though you might take control of other characters like Sasuke and other ninja’s as the storyline progress.
The story telling method however can get a bit much. What you will experience is a lot of talking (or subtitle reading), then you will take control of the character and run through the forest for a bit, after which there will be more talking (or reading) and finally some fights thrown in. I didn’t time myself too closely but out of the 13 hours it took me to finish this game I probably used the game controller for half of that. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was less.
Ninja Storm 3 falls into the fighting game genre but it isn’t like other games in the genre. Firstly the playing field is a lot bigger than usual and your characters have a variety of ranged and close combat attacks to throw at each other. Speaking of characters, the games sports over 80 characters from the Naruto series, so no matter who your favourite is, they are probably in this game. Not all of them are open from the beginning though, so you will need to play through the story to get to them all.
You have one button that controls all your close combat attacks. By bashing it repeatedly you can easily pelt 15 hit combos at your opponent in a rather entertaining display. Another button lets your character throw Kunai at your opponent. These sound a bit simple and repetitive but if you use them in conjunction with the “Chakra” button a whole new playing feel opens.
Chakra for those that don’t know is a ninja’s energy flow that is stored in their body. They can use this to create physical attacks that will bring great pain to their enemies. Each character has two ninjustu attacks – the normal ninjutsu attack and the ultimate ninjutsu attack. These attacks use up your Chakra bar but with a press of a button and a break in the action you can charge up your Chakra bar with not much effort.
The game also sports an interesting “Dodge” feature that brings some strategy into your gameplay. Remember when I said that it is easy to land 15 hit combos? However your opponent can (and will) – with a well timed press of the shoulder button – disappear right in front of your eyes and appear behind you where he can instantly launch his own combo attack. You only have a limited amount of uses of this feature, so planning will be needed to use it at the time when you most need it.
In the end though, the fighting is a bit limited and can get a bit stale at points. However, if you match up against someone that can use the fighting system to its limit you will see how a basic system like this can still bring hours of entertainment.
In the story mode however, there are sections where the game moves from a fighting game and enters beat em up territory. You run around as the character beating down on soldiers, clones or ninjas as you make your way through the map. The fighting system here is no different from normal, however there are a few additions. For example when you defeat one enemy you get a brief quick time action in which to press a button which will transport you to behind the next enemy. This way you can easily dispose of your opponents while the action never stops for silly things like, moving around. These beat em up sections were few and far between though, and more of these could have made this game a lot more entertaining than it was.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW
One thing that was completely horrible in this game – and something which anime seems to suffer from more often than not – is the voice dubbing. It was done horribly and there are literally sections where the character’s mouth stops moving and the English voice just keeps on talking. It was a bit shocking to see and I actually wonder why they added the English voice dubbing at all.
After switching over to Japanese with English subtitles though, I was a happy camper. The voices just seemed to fit again and all was right in the world. Also, Japanese ninja sounds, sound a lot more authentic than English ninja sounds mid fight.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ONLINE?
Ninja Storm 3 sports a Story mode that I have mentioned. But once that is done you might want to take your fighting to the next level in the online mode. However, after much trying and crying I was unable to match-make one single game. No idea if this was due to a) Seacom only being at 90% capacity, b) no one is actually playing this game, c) bad net code, or d) the planets haven’t aligned properly.
However the game also has a free battle mode where you and a friend can go ninja star to ninja star and prove your metal to each other. You can even play the computer, or if you are a sinister person, put the computer against itself. Finally see who would win between Sasuke and Naruto…
With an overly long storyline which you may or may not already be familiar with, Ninja Storm 3 isn’t the strongest entry in the series. Fans however will love the array of characters available and could easily spend hours mastering the basic fighting system. A better online system, updated graphics and more beat em up sections could have made this game a fan favourite!
Read about our ratings here.