Saturday, January 3, 2015

3 days of...Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3!

The Real Anime Feel

I have been a fan of anime for quite some time. Sitting down and exposing yourself to a world of unrestrained possibilities represented through a drawn medium has a certain allure that is irresistible to me. However over the years I have become jaded to games that take on the Anime theme and try to incorporate the style of entertainment into a game. It always just ends up being too gamey, and not flashy enough. I watch anime for the ridiculous fights, and the huge explosions. Both of which are hard to make believable in a fighting game.

Quicktime events are littered throughout boss fights and act to
enhance combat with impressive sequences and a reactive mini-game.
Not that you can't animate them and put a visualization of them in a game. There is just something about the combination of lighting, sound, and color that is very difficult to translate from anime to video game. There are many a Budokai games that in my opinion have failed at this over the years, and left me with a sour taste for games based on anime.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm by developer CyberConnect 2 tackled this problem and succeeded quite impressively. Every moment you are fighting feels like a moment from the anime, every move you perform feels like it's just the right speed and power. In the beginning combat was so fast that I was mashing the 8 buttons semi-randomly to attempt to keep up. After a while though fighting became fluid and a very satisfying dance between opponents. The fluid motion broken up by staccato flashy "ninjutsu" and ultimate moves that are just as satisfying to pull off as the combat is.

The combat itself is very simple. It breaks down to what amounts to a 6 way rock-paper-scissors where the clash of each move is weighed against your opponents and there is a definite advantage given to the winner. The movements are so fast that you have to anticipate what the enemy is about to do in order to gain the upper hand. This leads to a good amount of luck involved in getting the win. There are ways to mitigate the advantages or disadvantages you find yourself in with items and instant teleports which negate the last you took. Combined all these mean that there is a quick learning curve and a low ceiling. The combat is fun and semi-skill based but the real show stopper is the cinematic element that the game presents during each fight.

Recreating your favorite fights feels like you are
really stepping into the shoes of your favorite hero/villain.
I can't stress enough how much of a treat fighting with your favorite characters is. And there are plenty of characters to choose from. All of them introduced in one way or another in the story mode. This mode is well flushed out and has a lot of the same quirky characteristics of the anime, but doesn't quite go overboard and make things unbelievable. The story mode sticks to the more real and easily presentable scenes and keeps the pace moving quickly from fight to fight. In the end it is just a showcase for many of the characters and fighting modes that are really where the game shines.

Really that is what Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm does best. It blends all the great elements of a good game and focuses them into just the one thing, great looking fights between giants. Sound, lighting, blur, animation all serve to enhance this one great aspect of the game. All other things that fall by the way side no longer matter because all you want to do is feel the rush of the next stunning battle. I can forgive a clumsy story/world mode and confusing menu system because it's just so much fun to hop into fight after fight with different teams of ninja to duke it out online and with your friends.

Even though story mode isn't that great it still is very pretty.
So if you end up picking this series up don't look forward to a great story. Don't look for a wonderfully constructed world to wander around in. Hop into some fights and throw some ultimate moves and get that adrenaline pumping from the insane semi-casual combat. It's easy to get into and fun as hell.

You'll like this game if: You enjoy anime and you want to relive some larger than life battles with explosions and a multitude of characters all sporting different abilities. Be warned, a clumsy and short 12 hour story mode will unlock all the characters and get you well versed in the combat. It is well worth it to get into the game.

(If you had a different opinion or a new video game to suggest, leave a comment below! If you want to recieve regular updates, follow me on Twitter @SimonGolden. )

No comments:

Post a Comment