The Naruto franchise has become so popular on a worldwide basis that we are now graced with a variety of video games on almost an annual basis. In recent times the ‘Ninja Storm’ series has become the staple home console game for Naruto fans.
The latest incarnation of this series appears to be no exception to this rule either as Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations lands in Europe on March 30th for both Xbox 360 & Playstation 3 consoles and promises to deliver even more than its predecessors.
This game has a big focus on being able to play as characters from the current story in the anime – meaning after the two year time skip – as well as past incarnations of characters. An example being able to play as Naruto in his now regular black & orange uniform and as a younger Naruto donning the orange & blue attire. There are over 70 playable characters along with a variety of support only characters – meaning you can’t play as them, but they can have an influence in battle depending on the character you’ve selected.
The depth of characters is complimented by how the mechanics of the game have been improved. From playing the demo and watching recent trailers it really comes across that the fluidity of gameplay is what’s being touted as a prime improvement from it’s predecessor – I’ll be touching on that in a moment. The promise of lots of anime content to compliment the story elements of the game is also very enticing given that there has been a distinct lack of this in past games.
NOTE – For the record Namco Bandai Games have acknowledged there is a huge subtitle mistake in this trailer. (See if you can spot it.)
Some of the new features of the game include a slicker battle system that allows for even faster gameplay – as if it wasn’t fast enough already for some – while making sure not to alienate potential new players and returning players from previous games. The ability to transform, or ‘awaken’ as it’s phrased in the game, into another form of a selected character has also been introduced resulting in the player gaining new abilities. For example certain characters can transform into more powerful version of themselves – this has been called Beast Mode or Awakening Mode – allowing them to gain new abilities & more. This was present in the previous Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 game with players gaining extra abilities during a fight. An example of awakening in Generations being a younger Sasuke transforming into the cursed beast – as he did in the big battle with Naruto during the Sasuke Retrieval arc – as he’s about to be defeated. This then gives the player an extra edge to make his mark on the battle after taking a significant amount of damage.
Speaking of the characters, they have been given a much larger focus than usual in this game as you’ll be able to explore the backstory of some running parallel to the main story involving Naruto. This is something that has not been available before – usually you are just playing through the story mode as Naruto – therefore adding an extra incentive for those very familiar with the story and surrounding developments.
Based on the playing the demo – available to download now for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 now – I’m happy to report the gameplay does indeed feel very smooth. The controls seem to have been devised in a way that it makes it easier to grasp what buttons represent what – though still similar to it’s predecessor – making it a lot more accessible for returning players of the Ninja Storm franchise as well as newer players.
The demo includes a single player fights playing as Naruto against Sasuke, Pain and Madara complete with fighting conditions. For example in the fight with Sasuke you must win the fight but then also have a certain amount more power – which can be determined via the coloured bars at the top of the screen – than Sasuke at the time of victory. I’m not sure how drastic these conditions are throughout the game, but one would assume they would emulate what took place in the actual story. Both the English and Japanese audio options are selectable and you can even get to see a snippet of the 65 minutes of anime footage included in the game in this demo.
Below is a 9 minute trailer boasting lots of the new features and characters you can play as. Advanced warning now – if you’re not caught up on the series there *Spoilers* in this trailer.
Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Genrations is released in Europe on March 30th.
A playable demo is available on both the Xbox Live Marketplace and Playstation Network now.