I decided to change the way I do this blog.
About this Blog:
Well, it's a New Year and a fresh start, and seeing as gaming is a long-time hobby of mine, I thought I'd keep track of the games I play this year, so I can look back at the end of the year and think...well..."damn, I played a lot of games".
I'll be publishing posts after I beat a game, with a review and rating (out of 5). So, without further ado, here it is! Enjoy, and thanks for reading!
Game: Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm
Review: I have been a huge fan of Naruto ever since the manga was brought over to the US. Since then, the series has become hugely popular, and many Naruto games have been released. However, I honestly have not really enjoyed or been interested in any of them. But then I saw the trailer for Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, and thought "Holy crap, this actually looks really good!". So I hopped onto Newegg.com, and pre-ordered myself a copy.
I'm glad I did, because I was certainly not disappointed. Immediately upon starting the game up, I was impressed. I was greeted with an opening video similar to the trailers I had seen, highlighting the very reasons I wanted to buy this game: amazing visuals (the best cel-shading anime-style graphics I've ever seen), fast-paced ninja battles, getting to play fights from the anime, and fights against giant monsters (yes, you fight Shukaku (w/ Gaara) and Manda (w/ Orochimaru).
The first pro I'd like to point out, which was the first thing I did and really set the game up for success from then on, was that, Hallelujah, you can switch the voiceovers to Japanese! Believe it (pun intended)! This made playing the game much more familiar for me as I have watched all of the Japanese episodes and am used to the Japanese voices. So yeah, HUGE plus in my book.
Now onto gameplay. You start out in Konoha, Naruto's home villiage, and are able to run about Konoha, talk to people for missions, buy/sell things at stores, collect items to exchange for missions or additional fighting moves, and very fun: jumping from rooftop-to-rooftop. The main point of the game is to complete missions. You have story missions, which follow the main story (duh), and you also have free missions, which are ordered by difficulty, that you acquire from talking to people in Konoha. You must complete free missions to gain XP, and need certain amounts of XP to continue with your story missions. There are a few different types of missions: battles (where you fight opponents in combat, obviously), race (where you do branch-to-branch jumping like from the show to reach a goal in a certain amount of time), climb (where you run up a tree via chakra control like in the show to reach a goal, similar to race, but sometimes you race other characters, and you have to get power-ups to slow them down, and also avoid their attempts to slow you down), and Konoha objective (where you have to complete an objective using your running-about-the-villiage controls/abilities). At first I was worried that the missions would get repetitive, but N:UNS prevents this by not making you do too many of the same type of mission, so repetition was not a problem.
The best part about this game is the combat. N:UNS does a great job of recreating the intense, fast-paced ninja battles from the show into a great interactive experience for the player. You can equip your character with items to attack with, regain chakra with, buff yourself, or nerf your opponent. Also, aside from standard attacks, dodges, throws, etc, you can perform ninjutsu moves (which you can acquire more of as you go along, but you can only choose one to use in battle), and each character has a massive-damage ultimate jutsu. The combat starts out easy, but as you progress through the story the battles begin to get very intense and can actually last longer than normal if you and your opponent are closely matched.
As for replay value, this game certainly has a lot. Even after you complete all of the story missions, you still have all of the free missions you can complete, and even after you've completed all of those as well, you can play every mission again with "bonus conditions" that make the missions more challenging. Also, there is a lot of stuff to buy/collect/unlock.
Overall, I would say this game certainly took me by surprise. It emerged from a crowd of okay/mediocre/average Naruto games to shine as the best Naruto game, and just a great game in general. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Naruto, likes ninjas, or anyone who enjoys fighting games in general.
Pros: Japanese voiceovers, follows story up to a point, good gameplay, great combat, lots of missions, lots of unlockables, free DLC, good replay value, ninjas
Cons: Some mission types may get repetitive (only if you're really impatient), some story battles are missing (fights against the Sound ninjas during the Chunin Exams, fights against the other Sound ninjas while chasing after Sasuke)
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