NARUTO: Ultimate Ninja STORM – PS3 – Review

One of
these days, they will get it right.

This is
something I would say to myself often when the first Naruto games began
showing up on a number of platforms. As a loyal fan of both the manga and anime,
it was exciting to see games based on our favorite ramen-loving orange ninja. As
a hardcore gamer and reviewer, on the other hand, I couldn’t help but be
disappointed by a number of the Naruto games released … that is until the
Xbox 306’s Naruto: Rise of a Ninja came out. Then, something else
happened recently and that something is Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm for
the PlayStation 3. At last, the day they got it right is here.

“Man, just
my luck. Why couldn’t it have rained Victoria Secret models instead?”

Those who
know Naruto Uzumaki through the manga or anime know him very well. For those who
don’t, I’ll quickly introduce him to you. You see, Naruto is a young social
outcast who just so happens to be bound to the Nine-Tailed Fox spirit that
nearly destroyed the land and the Hidden Leaf Village where Naruto was born. A
prankster at first, Naruto soon comes to realize that he has great potential as
a ninja and even strives for the governing position of Hokage. Armed with
confidence in him and a fiery determination, this boy rises among the ninja of
the village and makes a name for himself. Suddenly, this misfit becomes a force
to be reckoned with as he battles enemies of the very village that saw him as
nothing more than a nuisance.

Ultimate Ninja Storm
main story mode, called Ultimate Mission Mode, takes place after an event in
Naruto’s life that not only earned him his headband but also admission into the
Ninja Academy. It is here that we meet his squad mates Sakura and Sasuke as well
as the mysterious Kakashi-sensei. This is familiar stuff for those who played
through most of the games that run through these key early moments in the Naruto
story. The great thing about Ultimate Ninja Storm is that it slowly
brings us up to speed from Naruto’s first trail to a bitter battle between
Naruto and his once-friend Sasuke a few years later.

Aside from
covering key moments in Naruto’s life as well as a number of other related
events I’ll get into later, Ultimate Mission Mode also features some original
missions not covered in the manga or anime series. You’ll be helping villagers
by running errands for them, completing a few side missions here and there as
well as participating in a few mini-games (one of which will have you running up
a tree while avoiding branches). Much like Rise of a Ninja, you’ll be
able to explore the Hidden Leaf Village freely and discover the many secrets
scattered throughout. It is here that you’ll be able to purchase a number of
items to use on the hundred or so missions you can take on at any point. You can
even use one of Naruto’s clones to toss him in areas that are impossible to
reach by jumping on your own.  

missions are set up much like they are in the series … they’re ranked from easy
to so hard that only high-ranking ninja are recommended instead. You can tackle
any of these missions, however, and most of these are connected to moments from
the series. As Naruto, you’ll participate in searching for Lady Tsunade (who
replaces the Third Hokage after his death) in one of the story’s most exciting
moments and later go after former teammate Sasuke who turned to the main
villain, Orochimaru, for more power. Believe me when I say that this part of the
story is one of the strongest moments. Losing Sasuke to Orochimaru was like
watching Anakin Skywalker fall to the Dark Side all over again.

“Next, on
Fox, ‘When Anime Conventions Go Bad.’”

With a
number of things to do in the game’s main story mode, it’s kind of a letdown not
running into familiar faces often throughout your exploration. Wouldn’t it have
been cooler if you picked out rare flowers to sell to Ino’s family florist shop?
How neat would it have been if you noticed that somebody was following you
around in secret, only to find out it was Hinata (who has a monster crush on
Naruto)? Still, you can create fantasy battles in the game’s Free Battle Mode.
It is in this mode that you can go up against a friend.

Battles in
the game are handled really well to the point that anyone can pick up a
controller and start pulling off special Chakra-powered moves. Each of the
characters, much like the show, has their own specialized attacks and moves and
the good news is that they fight the way you expect them to fight. Rock Lee, for
example, has speed on his side while Lady Tsunade packs a powerful punch. Each
character has their familiar Chakra specialty moves. Naruto makes good use of
his Shadow Clone jutsu (he makes dozens of clones of himself) while his rival,
Gaara, manipulates sand as a weapon.

separates Ultimate Ninja Storm from other Naruto titles is the
fact that you can summon support characters during battle. Depending on the
situation or who accompanies you during a mission, you’ll have up to two other
characters to use as a Support Attack. When things look a little bleak, you can
press the L1 or R1 button to call a support character to lend you a hand during
an attack. You can now move 360 degrees around the battle environment so you’re
not stuck to a 2-D plane. This makes unleashing everything from throwing
projectile weapons to Chakra moves so fluidly.

Graphically, Ultimate Ninja Storm is simply gorgeous and one of the
best-looking Naruto games so far. Aside from smooth animation that does
justice to the anime series, the in-game character and backgrounds are simply
slick and eye-catching. Sure, the other games do a good job of rendering the
characters, but on the PS3, they feel like you’re really watching an episode
from the show. Even the visual effects won’t fail to impress.

“Gee, are
you sure you brought enough weapons?”

Thankfully, the English dub cast is back and they voice their respective
characters and do it quite well. For those that always preferred the Japanese
voice cast, the option to change the voices is present. Either way, there’s
plenty of original dialogue to listen to but expect to find some phrases
repeated often during matches. There are some original musical arrangements that
fit the game but the best tunes have always been ripped straight from the show

Ultimate Ninja Storm

for the PlayStation 3 is a
straight up, Jutsu-filled fighting game that is not only a fun fighting game but
also one of the best Naruto games on any console. You don’t have to be a
fan of the orange ninja to get lost in the open-world environment or enjoy the
exciting battles found in this game. If you are a fan of the manga or anime,
then you’re in for a very pleasant surprise. Either way, Ultimate Ninja Storm
is a great addition to the growing lineup of Naruto games … believe

Scoring Details for Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm

Gameplay: 8.5
Whether you’re
running through the Hidden Leaf Village in search of coins and ranked-missions
to tackle or taking on a friend in a one-on-one match, Ultimate Ninja Storm
is true to the series that inspired it. Combat is more third dimensional
than in past games and fans of the series will definitely love reliving
memorable Naruto battles.

Graphics: 9.0
The visuals are
gorgeous to the point that this really is the most attractive Naruto game
available. With slick character animations and plenty of detail, this game looks
like the anime in almost every way. Even the cut scenes are easy on the eyes.

Sound: 8.5
The English dub cast
from the show is present and accounted for and so are the Japanese voices from
the anime. In addition, the music – even the original tunes – feels true to the
show as well. Still, it’s too bad that some of the music tends to loop and the
phrases during battle can be a tad repetitive.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard
Some D-ranked
missions can get a bit tough but not enough that you’ll be struggling with it in
this game. Some boss battles will certainly give your thumbs quite a workout
such as any fight with Orochimaru or the battle against Sasuke’s older brother,

Concept: 8.5
The mini-games can
be found within the main story mode and some of them will be familiar to gamers.
Support Attack is a good idea that is implemented well in both game modes so
you’ll have fun coming up with different character combinations. We wish there
was more character interaction during exploration bits.

Multiplayer: 7.0
There’s no online
multiplayer to be found in this game so the online features are mainly
downloads. Still, you can have fun going up a buddy using any of the available

Overall: 8.5
Quite possibly one
of the best Naruto games to come along on a next-generation console,
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm
is a solid fighting game for the PS3 that is
true to the series. It’s a blast running through the Hidden Leaf Village and
it’s quite satisfying to be wrapped up in major battles that fans and non-fans
will enjoy. Naruto fans, if you can only play one Naruto game this year
then make it this one.