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Title:  Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations

Platforms:  Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft XBox 360

Developed by:  Cyber Connect 2

UK Distributor:  Bandai Namco Games

Pegi rating: 12

Original Retail Price:  39.99

Release Date:  30 March 2012

Reviewer:  Tom (Webmaster)

During the mid-noughties the anime Naruto took the mantle as the series which introduced young audiences to the Japanese medium.  It was no surprise that, like the similarly action-packed Dragon Ball before it, it would spawn a long series of games which are still going strong to this day. 

The latest addition to the gaming series is Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations and combines characters from the previous games, allowing players to play as different incarnations of the characters.  For example the player can select both the original 12-year old Naruto and the 15-year old Shippuden Naruto, as well as various incarnations of other characters. 
 

The first thing I noticed when playing UNSG was that it runs smoother and looks much crisper than earlier Naruto games I have played.  Also, when playing through the story mode as young Naruto, the game did make me remember the great fights from the earlier episodes.  The game looks even better than the anime in places in fact.  The mission mode also features classic moments from the anime, most notably the training missions which Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura go through. 


In addition to the story modes there are also a total of 72 characters to play as (once unlocked) which provides longevity for the single player modes.  The multi-player and online modes work well, as you can dazzle your friends with the ultimate chakra moves and relive the fights of the series together. 

Fighting veterans may feel let down by the controls though, which they may find too restrictive to play with.  Combos can be performed very simply, as are the ultimate chakra moves which launch into an animated sequence of the character's signature move.  It may look awesome the first few times, but after a while the sequences become repetitive and slow down the flow of battle.  The easy moves also means you and your opponent will reach the same skill level quickly and battles will become practically stalemates, with you both ploughing away with special moves until one makes an error.  It becomes more endurance than enjoyment, keeping distance and using limited items until the overlong fight is over.  Because of this the game lends itself better to the single player mode, which can be challenging as certain opponents

will have multiple power bars.  The multiplayer mode is best played with other Naruto fans in the same room rather than online, as you can both marvel at the signature moves and the graphics which recreate the action of the anime well.  That said, younger players will no doubt find much more enjoyment than older fans like me and the target audience is primarily young teenagers.

UNSG looks and runs great and fans of Naruto will no doubt get hours of enjoyment out of it.

Beat 'em up veterans will prefer the likes of Blazblue and Street Fighter X Tekken though, as UNSG doesn't offer much in the way of a learning curve.  The moves won't take long to learn and there isn't a wealth of player-specific combos to uncover.  Despite having an array of modes the game is best suited to social gaming with your fellow anime fans or nerding out over the extras you can unlock by playing the single player modes. 

Extras

UNSG has a wealth of extras when compared to the aforementioned fighter Street Fighter X Tekken.  Rather than waiting months and paying for content already on the disc, with UNSG you start unlocking extra characters straight away through the story mode.  If you have saves on your console of the previous Naruto Ultimate Ninja games, than you instantly have access to more characters you would otherwise have to unlock. 

You can also unlock extras by using in-game currency such as extra online titles and images, as well as information cards.  In short, there is plenty to keep you playing the single player mode and the characters you unlocked will be great to show off in your multiplayer battles. 

Ratings

Game:   Extras:

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