|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montreal||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 30, 2007||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 Jwan Jordan
I have said this time and time again; anime games just are not right, though being an anime fan I am constantly obligated to buy them in hopes of playing as my favorite anime heroes and villains. From Inuyasha to Yu Yu Hakusho, from Ultraman to Gundam, I own every game that bears the likeness of my favorite animes.
Do I like the games? No. I think it is safe to say that many other anime gamers may agree. When it comes to making an anime game it is obvious that, from a developer's point of view, it is nothing more than a quick cash cow on a popular product. So after decades of being a victim of poorly developed renditions of my favorite anime characters, one lone developer has stepped out from the mediocrity induced masses to create a truly adapted anime game. This hero of developers is the company known as Ubisoft and the game is Naruto: Rise of a Ninja.
Naruto: Rise of a Ninja puts you in control of Naruto Uzamaki, a young kid with hopes of becoming head Hokage of his village someday. Naruto takes place in a feudal Japan-like world where some villages train heavily in Jutsu Arts as a way of life. As Naruto, it is up to you to rise above your status of a mere brat that everyone hates to that of a true and honorable ninja! Of course, this journey will not be easy as Naruto is not only feared and disliked by his village, but his skills in ninjutsu are lacking and he has a giant monstrous nine tailed fox demon living within him. So get ready for a long journey and a cast of many interesting characters in Naruto: Rise of a Ninja.
The game will take you through eighty episodes of the Naruto television series, and you literally get to watch and play as Naruto through all the physical, emotional, and awkward moments of his life. Naruto comes in two very entertaining forms of gameplay. One puts you in the heart of Naruto's village, the "Hidden Leaf," where you can walk around the entire village in a GTA-esque manner. The village is massive and beautiful causing you to stop and just admire the scenic surroundings so striking that even Okami would have to tip its hat. Vibrant colors bring the village to life matched with very well done shadowing, while not overdoing the lighting effects in order to make a gaudy attempt at showing the 360's power. What is also eye catching, and simply cannot be denied, is the phenomenal cel-shading work that was done on the entire Naruto world! Needless to say, this is not a game you will desire to rush through at all.
After the initial intro, which is a combination of beautifully rendered cel-shading and clips imported directly from the television series, you will begin the game amongst the beautiful, lively city of the Hidden Leaf village. What is really nice about Naruto's world is how interactive the village actually is. Characters go about their daily lives, shopping, cleaning, reading, playing, and conversing with each other. You initially start off with everyone in the village hating you, but it is up to you to sway their opinion by doing good deeds and lending a helping hand to the village overall. At any time you can check the status of the villager's opinion of you, and with some time, dedication, and training you can have the city shouting your name in joy as you go by. As you train and learn new Jutsu techniques, they can be used throughout the village for a large variety of situations. For example, the Sexy Jutsu technique can be used to heal the wounds of heart broken villagers.
Interacting with people in the village will give you an assortment of challenges which increase your chakra level or health meter, and as you can imagine both are very crucial in order to become head Hokage some day. You will also need currency in the game to purchase a variety of goods that you will need when leaving the village for missions. Things like throwing knives, ramen noodles, and memory chips will definitely be needed in order to survive. Over 6,000 frames of animation are used in Naruto, and it shows as you can literally watch Naruto pull ramen out of his bag and eat it for a health increase, which is a very subtle and nice touch on Ubisoft's part. Yet, if you are playing Naruto there is one thing that you particularly want to see, and that is the awesome power of the unique jutsu attacks that each character in Naruto's world can pull off. Once given an assignment by one of the many cool masters residing in the Leaf village, you can exit the village and head out into the dangerous, bandit filled woods. Once you leave the village is where the fun really begins, since this is mostly where fights are started.