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Naruto: Ultimate Ninja PS2 Review
Writen by Kaitou Ace
Posted on January 22, 2007 at 04:54:24 pm
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Review

Game cover

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja [official site] [buy from amazon] is a Playstation2 fighting game for 1 to 2 people. There are a total of 14 characters, two more then in the original Japanese version of this game. Cursed seal Sasuke, and Nine tailed fox version of Naruto are separate playable characters now. Sadly they are a bit overpowered, and therefore unlikely to see play in most 1 on 1 matches.

The character select screen

About to fight

The game play is fairly straightforward; the circle button is used for all attacks. Past that you can jump with the cross button, use items with square, charge up your chakra with triangle, and use the trigger buttons to block and cycle through the items. The art of this game feels very much like manga art. It is very faithful to the art and feel of the manga. The game play takes place on semi-3d stages, with two levels per stage, that you can teleport between. So while the stage is actually rendered in 3d, you canít sidestep, or move around your opponent, and all action takes place on a straight line. All combo attacks are a combination of direction keys, and the circle button, making them easy to remember, and quite a few combinations are universal to all characters. The game has a few additions that make it interesting. When you use triangle to charge up your chakra to one of three levels (your character glows a different color for each of the chakra levels) you can initiate a cinematic special attack by landing a hit with the circle button.

Mid-special part 2

Mid-special part 1 (are you really reading these captions?)

If your hit lands, you are treated to cinematic attacks that last from one to three levels, their duration is determined by your ability to hit buttons in the proper sequence as they appear on your side of the screen. Your opponent can also mitigate the damage done to them, by hitting the buttons in the right order on their side of the screen. These specials are very well done, and tend to be true to the show, although a few of the attacks are ones that the characters shouldnít have yet (i.e. Shikamaru has the shadow neck bind technique, that doesnít appear until much later in the show). Further adding to the strategy part of the game, you can collect various items on the stage, by either getting them from a support character, or by breaking most of the on-screen items. These items can give you back health or chakra, make you invulnerable to thrown weapons, give you a partner assisted attack, or give you certain one-time use weapons, such as a huge shuriken, or a barrage of smaller ones. With all these elements the balance of power in a round can turn very quickly. Another very amusing element of the game is the substitution technique, where you can appear behind your opponent in an attack, and they can do the same. These chains can go on for quite a while, my longest one having been just over 10 substitutions.

The two-level stages. Sasuke and Shikamaru are going at it on stage one, while Kiba and some jounin watch on stage two.

Everybody was ninja fighting...

The single player mode of the game is done in one of three ways, Story, Mission, and Free Battle. Free battle, is where you just pick two characters, and fight. In the story mode, where you pick a character, and play through their story, with each fight introduced by the characters, explaining their reasons for fighting. All characters are voiced by their dub VAís, and they all do a good job of it. If youíve watched the dub, you know what to expect from the voices. There are six battles per character, and completing the story mode lets you unlock extra characters. In the end you are treated to a cutscene, and the credits. The difficulty seems to increase from fight to fight, and if you end up losing to any of the characters, you can re-do the fight. The story behind the battles tends to loosely follow the show, up through the chuunin exam. Mission mode involves fights with certain victory conditions, and at varying difficulty levels. You may have to, for example defeat Neji with Naruto, using three substitutions, and ending the fight with a level 3 special.

Overall this is a fun game, and the game play isnít too hard to pick up on, but does require some playing to get a good winning strategy. There is a decent amount of characters to pick from, and while single player mode can get boring after a bit, if you have a few people you can play with, you will definitely get your moneys worth out of your $40.
Since I am not the biggest fan of random number scores, I will just say that I recommend this game to any fan of the show, and even if you aren't, you should enjoy playing it with a friend.

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