|System: PS3, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: CyberConnect2||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 19, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
To most Naruto fans, 2008's Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm is the game by which all other Naruto games must be judged. Ultimate Ninja Storm featured great combat, amazing visuals, and a new mission-based format that was quite a break from the established format that had been seen in other Naruto-licensed titles. When I first started up Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, I was expecting a smart update to my favorite Naruto game. Although Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 satisfies on many levels, the sequel is a step backward for the series.
Let's start with the game's main adventure mode. As you might expect from the title, the game follows Naruto's Shippuden journey, through his big battle with Pain. Although we've been presented with the beginning of the Shippuden story before, the story is told in the most detail here and is the ultimate way to experience it in video game format (so far). The plot-based cutscenes are taken straight from the anime, and the game also includes several "bonus" scenes that give you extra insight into each character's feelings after boss battles.
Though the cinematic feel of the game's story mode is great, the new format of Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 is a drawback for the story mode. One of the things I enjoyed most about the first game was the ability to free-roam around Konoha, picking up missions and talking to locals. However, that ability has been almost completely removed in Ultimate Ninja 2, and the world of Konoha has been reduced to a couple of hallways in which you can go left or right. Or up and down. Which brings me to another complaint: the camera.
Normally I wouldn't complain about the camera in the story mode of a fighting game, but because Ultimate Ninja Storm's story mode features a lot of running around in between battles, it is a major problem. When you are running around through the hallways of Konoha, the camera changes to a different fixed position every few feet. I get that the idea here was probably to make the village look less linear, but when the camera keeps changing from overhead to behind, to left-view, and then full circle to right-view, walking towards your goal (which shifts along with the camera angle) can get pretty confusing. In a game where exploring essentially means walking in a straight line, getting lost due to weird camera angles is particularly frustrating.
Fans of the Ultimate Ninja series will be glad to know that the same Ultimate Ninja battle system is in full swing here, although there have been some minor adjustments. The use of Chakra moves is more dynamic in Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, and you'll have a choice of eight Chakra attacks (each face button gets both a standard and a super chakra attack), which gives you some flexibility even when your chakra is low. The combo system has also been revised, so just hammering on the attack button the same way you did in the past won't exactly cut it anymore.