'Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3'
Microsoft Xbox 360 (PS3)
ESRB rating: Teen
Review rating: 3.5 stars
It's not surprising that the "Naruto: Shippuden" anime series has lost some popularity, possibly because of oversaturation. I definitely don't miss the days when multiple games were pumped out each year by no less than three different publishers. "Naruto" fighting games are boring, but adventure games such as "Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3" can be very worth their weight in shurikens!
Players who aren't familiar with the unusual ninja, Naruto Uzumaki, and his struggle to contain the nine-tails demon that dwells within will likely be confused by the story. However, fans of the series will surely appreciate the depth and faithful storytelling that lets them feel as if they're actually playing recent scenes from the anime itself.
Throughout the story, players come up against lethal enemies, friendly rivals, and even the occasional towering demon. Most of the game is spent either watching lengthy cut-scenes or engaging in tense 3D battles, but there are also light exploration elements. One of my favorite new features is "Ultimate Decisions," which branches the story based on each player's choices. Sadly, this feature isn't used very often.
Combat may seem too easy at first, especially when tapping the main attack button is all it takes to perform fancy moves. However, the chakra meter enhances combat in several ways, including: adding power to basic moves, linking attacks and performing powerful ninjutsu maneuvers. One of the more impressive uses is to activate Awakening mode when characters are low on health, which can turn some characters into huge monsters.
This game's online multiplayer consists entirely of one-on-one combat and team battles. Fans will love the ability to choose from more than 80 characters that fight with different moves and ninjutsu. Playing online is a nice distraction, but I prefer the single-player adventure mode.
"Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3" isn't perfect, but it's still one of the best Naruto games available.