everyone else who is a big fan of a young ninja who one day dreams of being the
most respected shinobi in his home village, we have put up with a number of
awful Naruto titles and cheered the few games that managed to shine as
brightly as the metal piece on a Hidden Leaf Village headband. Unfortunately,
Naruto Shippuden Legends: Akatsuki Rising for the PSP isn’t the amazing
Naruto Shippuden game we have been waiting for but it’s still a game
fans will definitely want to play.
Grandpa: “Ow! Why didn’t anyone tell me these iPod doodads hate water?”
As the title
suggests, this Naruto game follows the Shippuden chapter in the Naruto
saga that no longer follows Naruto the boy but now Naruto the teenager. Having
disappeared from the Leaf Village with his mentor, Lord Jiraiya, for nearly two
years, Naruto finally returns home. As the other title suggests, the story also
involves the new threat called the Akatsuki.
game’s story mode, called Scenario Mode, we follows the anime and manga’s
Kazekage Retrieval story arc where the mysterious Akatsuki enters the Sand
Village and manages to defeat and capture the powerful Kazekage who just happens
to be Naruto’s foe-turned-friend named Gaara. Determined to save Gaara, Naruto
sets out with other familiar Leaf Village ninjas that also includes Rock Lee,
Neji and Tenten. As the enemy reveals itself, it becomes clear to Naruto that
these guys make even the evil Orochimaru look like a kitten.
If you’re a
loyal reader of the manga or love the anime, the story is loyally captured with
the familiar battles that also come with the story. We find memorable moments
such as the test Kakashi-sensei sets up for Sakura and Naruto down to the battle
that has Naruto facing off against the Akatsuki member known as Deidara. Told in
chapters, the story mode also offers some brief exploration bits that have you
moving on a restricted environment and battle weak enemies that include bandits
or enemy ninjas.
The more you
play Scenario Mode the more other modes and characters become available. There’s
Mission that allows you to freely pick ranked missions complete with various
objectives. The Mission list includes taking on assignments such as helping out
the owner of Naruto’s favorite eating spot, Ichiraku Ramen Shop, or chase off
strange birds that are eating Lady Tsunade’s medicinal herbs. It’s actually an
entertaining game mode with plenty to do and missions that get more challenging
depending on the mission rankings.
drive to Vegas they said! Let’s take the ‘scenic route’ they said! We’re out of
gas, they said!”
allows you to take any characters you might have unlocked in the course of
playing Scenario mode and pit them against each another. There are dozens of
characters to use for this game mode too and this also includes villains. Then
there’s Survival Mode that allows you to play as Leaf Village ninja or Sand
Village ninja (like Gaara and Tamari) as you battle numerous enemies in various
missions you unlock the more you play this mode.
One of the
most interesting game modes, however, is the Akatsuki Mode that is unlocked
after finishing Scenario Mode. This mode has you assuming the role of an
Akatsuki member such as Sasuke’s older brother, Itachi Uchiha, or the shark-like
Kisame. This mode actually gives you a small peek into what the enemy is really
like and learn what they’re really after when they attacked the Sand Village.
the game modes sound like this would have been the perfect Naruto Shippuden
game, the awful camera and the numerous faceless enemies you fight
in-between will remind you this title is not perfect. It’s a blast recreating
favorite battles but why must we waste our time with weak bandits and strange
opponents such as angry baboons? Sure, the controls are decent enough and there
are Jutsu moves aplenty but this isn’t really enough to make the game truly
soar. Still, the action isn’t entirely bad.
Akatsuki Rising is quite a disappointment. Sure, all the characters look
like the characters they were meant to look like but the expressionless eyes
look creepy. The cut scenes also look rather flat with the environments looking
muddy and lifeless even when you’re looking at green pastures or a village. Just
about the only thing that stands out beautifully are the visual effects
especially where the Jutsu moves are concerned. It’s still a thrill seeing the
likes of Naruto pull off multiple Shadow Clones or the new Sakura pounding her
fist on the ground with tremendous force.
yeah, I think we finally found the Playboy Mansion.”
At least the
music is handled well and this is because the game uses music straight from the
anime. It plays throughout the game, oftentimes repeating itself but you won’t
mind seeing as how good the score is in the series. The voices aren’t bad either
but, in my opinion, it’s the original Japanese voices that are far more
effective. Thankfully, the sound effects are also good in this game.
Shippuden Legends: Akatsuki Rising
for the PSP should have been
a better game considering all the great game modes and gameplay features the
game brings to virtual Leaf Village. Even with all its Jutsu-filled action and
Chakra-based game modes, the game feels very average but it is still fun enough
to show fans and non-fans alike a good time. Here’s hoping the next game will be
doesn’t flow as smoothly as in past Naruto games but there are plenty of
moves and characters to give the gameplay some variety. The story mode follows
the manga’s Gaara rescue mission story arch well enough and the scenarios are
good fun. The most interesting twist comes in the fact that there’s a mode that
allows you to play as the Akatsuki villains.
The cut scenes
are simply horrible with the characters possessing expressionless dead eyes.
Sure, they look the way they should but the character models could have been
handled a lot better and the same can be said about the environments.
The music is
lifted straight out of the Naruto Shippuden anime and that’s definitely Ok in my
book. The voices aren’t bad at all and even more so if you decide to play the
game with the original Japanese voices.
In the main story
mode, you will find some tough opponents among the Akatsuki ranks such as
Deidara, Sasori and Itachi. You’ll even find some challenging enemies in this
game so you’ll be glad there are health items you can purchase.
At last, the
Naruto games have finally reached the Shippuden series with the older
versions of the characters. The scenarios add something extra for when you’re
finished with the main mode and the ability to play as Akatsuki members is a
major plus for us Naruto fans. There’s multiplayer action as well.
While there’s no
online multiplayer action, you can play against or with a friend via the PSP’s
Ad Hoc connection. The good news is that the multiplayer runs smoothly and there
are a number of characters to select.
Rising for the
PSP isn’t the best game in the Naruto Shippuden series but it isn’t an
entirely bad game for Naruto fans news and old. While the battles with faceless
bandits can get boring rather quickly, there are decent game modes and decent
multiplayer fun to be had in this game if you give it a chance.