Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Review

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Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is the fifth Naruto game on next-gen systems. Does Storm still have what it takes to be the ultimate fighting game? Over the years it’s series has developed a strong fanbase and even stronger sales with each new release. However this newest entry into the franchise, while significantly enhancing its storyline, doesn’t do much new in its department of gameplay. What it does do well is tell a pretty good story while the rest of the game tends to suffer a bit because of it.

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The story of Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 starts not long after the events in Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 (spoiler alert) with Naruto’s village recovering from its destruction with Pain, events are played out to lead straight into the Fourth Great Ninja War. The story here is a place where the game shines with characters feeling more developed in this sequel . Certain characters are given backstories or thrown events that change the way you look at them and if you’ve kept up with the series thus far you’ll see for yourselves how much these characters have grown. However, while this title’s story is one of its great strengths it is also one of its greatest weaknesses. . Because the story is so massive, certain new characters feel quite less developed than the main ones we’ve known for so long. This leads to certain battles feeling more like a chore than something to actually be enjoyed. Also, for almost half of the game, actual combat is seemingly rare compared to the action of previous titles in the series, with cut scenes in the beginning ranging from fifteen to twenty minutes, each followed by a five minute fight. Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 shows how all of the events lead up to its great confrontation so you’ll never be out of the loop. However, you’ll be wishing to stop watching and start fighting with one cutscene in particular being almost an hour long even though this scene is one of the stories main high points.

The gameplay of Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 has changed, but only slightly. The game still retains its combat used in Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations and 2 however what has been altered is how you choose to engage enemies. Players are given a choice in certain battles of choosing between engaging enemies in the path of a Legend or path of a Hero. The path of a legend usually entails a higher difficulty or a greater number of enemies to fight on your own; the path of a hero usually entails an easier difficulty than legend and fewer enemies to fight. The perk to both of these is upgrading your weapon pallet which, while it can be useful, I found myself not really using it as much until the later stages in the game. These options are interesting ones to include but doesn’t really do much to change the overall outcome of the story or the gameplay. It gives the illusion of actually choosing a path but the outcome is pretty much similar. It would be nice if there was more freedom when it came to this but since this is all based on source material it seems as if this is as good as it gets. Also online battle make its comeback with tournaments, ranked matches, and standard quick matches battle modes.

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The design of the game like all previous titles in the series look astounding. Characters look ripped out straight from the anime itself and many of the fight scenes incorporated with quick time events look so good and well-choreographed that you’ll be glued and won’t want to look away. Combat looks fast and fluid and animations shine clearly throughout the game. The games environments uses some previous stages but throws in some others that look very nice. In terms of voice acting, if you don’t care for the English voiceovers, there is an option to switch to Japanese with subtitles.  The world of Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is beautiful to say the least and it seems to only get better with each installment.

Ultimate Ninja Storm is by far not a perfect game. It’s story is long and some parts can be boring to watch with your fingers just waiting to get more ultimate ninja action, but it is a solid entry none the less. If you’re a Naruto fan, do yourself a favor and pick it up. If you’re not or have not the slightest idea what Naruto is, make sure you do before you pick up this game; as the story is very expansive and some of its references may not make all that much sense. In the end though, Ultimate Ninja Storm makes it debut in good fashion among its brethren of the series.

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Final Score: 8.2/10

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