For Anime lovers, adapted fighting games are all about character depth and the thrill of fighting through a mythos rich in epic battles. In the case of Dragon Ball Z, Goku may be the star, but the rush comes from fighting as Vegita or the world destroyers, Super Cell and Majin Buu. Naruto Shippuden is no different. Most people who pick up Naruto titles have seen the TV series already. These players are seldom looking to relive lengthy cinematics, but rather play as one of Naruto or Naruto Shippuden’s many characters. Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Storm Generations adds little nuance in the way of story from last year’s predecessor. However, new chakra mechanics and 72 playable characters make this an excellent title for both new and seasoned fans.
Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Storm Generations removes the needless fetch quests that filled the gaps between battles. Instead of going for a large-scale story mode, the designers focused on the one thing that mattered, fighting. Gamers will see artwork from the anime series between fights matched to character voices from the anime. However, players won’t have to waste time traveling through the Leaf Village to meet the Hokage or to prove themselves to the legendary copy ninja. The between-fight cuts are flattened out like those found in Soulcalibur. If you want the full story, you’ll just have to watch the anime or read the manga.
The battle system remains largely intact. However, there are a few key differences. Naruto Shippuden utilizes simple button mashing gameplay so that fighting is accessible to gamers of all ages. Players can get through most battles by combining melee attacks with chakra power boosts and timed jumps. If your timing is flawless, you’ll unleash one of the character’s special abilities, which seamlessly flow into the action like an animated cut scene. It’s great to catch someone with Naruto’s Rasengan when the attacker is in mid jump. Then, follow up the attack by calling in your teammate to deliver a quick special attack.
Once again players have a few additional items at their disposal, like paper bombs. These can be accessed via the D-Pad. For seasoned gamers, strategy comes in to play by using your substitution jutsu to teleport around the board, delivering surprise attacks. Your opponent may think he is attacking you, when he or she is really attacking a log. In the prior Naruto games, substitutions exhausted chakra from your power meter. The chakra meter is similar to the power meter you would encounter in Street Figter IV or Marvel Vs Capcom 3.
In Generations, the substitution meter has been separate dfrom the chakra meter. Not only does this give you more flexibility to use substitutions, but it also expands the level of strategy in the game. For seasoned players, this allows fights to move at a slower pace, with more tactical attacks.
The AI has gone through a slight upgrade in the campaign. Enemies make better use of substitutions for awesome counters and sneak attacks. Also added is a new chakra dash cancel. This also contributes to a new layer of depth in fighting. The chakra dash cancel gives close-range fighters a better chance to beat long-range attackers. It’s also great to fake attacks and deliver devastating counters.
The rich roster of 72 players (without the burden of DLC) and two modifications to fighting help make Generations stand out from its predecessors. Online battle keeps the fight going for “hours on end” without lag. The Naruto community has already hopped on this title and it’s relatively easy to find a battle.