I used to be a big fan of anime. Granted, I’m still a fan of certain shows, but I have fallen off the anime train. Even though I have never seen an episode of Naruto, I have still heard of it and known the general concept of the series. With the exception of about two hours with Ultimate Ninja Storm, I really never played a Naruto game before. Now that I have played Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations, I realize that I may have been missing out.
Generations is an arena fighting game that boasts over 70 characters to use both with their own assist partners and special abilities. The game takes place both in the older and younger Naruto timelines. The story mode has multiple characters to take through their own stories. Generations ventures away from the first Ultimate Ninja Storm game and tells the story in small recap cut scenes with both a narrator and voice acting from the show.
The game’s combat system is simplistic on the surface, but in the hands of the right kind of player, can be very complex. Most standard attacks can be preformed with simple button presses of a single button. In combination with a pushing the analog stick in a direction during a string of attacks, you can perform different combo finishers. You can power up and use enhanced attacks by tapping the power up button immediately before a standard strike. Everything is a variation of a standard ability. It’s very simple and easy to understand. You can also equip and use special assist weapons that are usually a single or double use. These weapons can possibly stun your opponent, lower their stats or power up your own. One of the really fun features is the partner assists. A gauge will fill up and, when full, you can call upon an ally to come in and throw out a single attack to help you start or finish a combo, stun your enemy or give you a little breathing room. The last aspect of the combat is the substitution ability. When you get caught in a multi-hit combo, you can hit a button right when an attack strikes you to dodge the attack and appear behind the opponent. This can set you up for some really fast and devastating attacks. Keep in mind, though, you have a gauge that has to recharge after using the ability a number of times.
The game features a number of different modes, both online and offline. The online features standard battles, tournaments and other modes that complement the simplistic, yet deep, combat system. There is also this little card game that allows you to have a small battle before the actual fight. Depending on what happens in the card battle, you may get a special boots depending on what you chose. It’s a nice little touch, but those that take their fighting games a bit more serious may find it a little cheap. The one big problem with having the combat so simple, is that you will run into a lot of button mashing players out there. Sometimes, getting hit with cheap shots until you die can get frustrating.
One thing I do have to mention is that, while the game does feature over 70 characters, but a lot of those characters are just variations on existing characters. The moves may be a little different, or the form and costumes may change a bit, but there really is no big difference in the game play. Still, even with some duplicates, the game boasts one of the largest casts of characters I have ever seen in a fighting game.
The game features a ton of collectables, unlockable items and hidden characters. It seems like every time I played the game, I unlocked five or six things. There’s an amazing amount of fan service in Generations. Fans of the series will love the depth of what this game has to offer. I only wish the game described some things in more detail. As a person that never followed the show, I would have liked to understand the story a bit more.
The presentation and visual design is amazing. The game really does look like you’re playing the anime. The spectacular attacks, set pieces and character animations really pop in a colorful way in Generations. The voice acting is very good. It’s something you would expect from a quality anime. The music is something that stands out to me. I was expecting some kind of hard rock variant. What I got was some well-orchestrated tracks that gave a more personal feel to both the game play and the story.
After playing this game, I really think I should go back and take a look at the anime. I think I had the wrong idea about it, but after playing multiple storylines in the story mode, the entire mythos and history of Naruto is shown in a more respectable light. I highly enjoyed my time with Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations. The combat system, amazing fan service and thought out presentation make this arena fighting game something both Naruto fans and fighting game entusiasts will highly enjoy.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.