Publisher: NAMCO BANDAI Games America
# of Players: 1-2
N Amer - 06/12/2007
NARUTO: Ultimate Ninja 2 Review
Ninjas don’t have it easy like they did in the 14th century. It used to be uncomplicated fighting samurais, simple peasants, and feudal rulers. But now, in today’s society, ninjas are fighting demons, dragons, and mythical creatures. I can only imagine the thoughts going through a ninja’s mind when they first encounter a giant tyrannosaurus rex or a colossal cyborg.
The storyline for Naruto isn’t a brain assault of legendary beasts and fairy-tale monsters. It instead resorts to a more dramatic representation of ninjas and their struggle to accept Naruto, the main character, as a living vessel of a captive demon. To my knowledge, Naruto concentrates more on the life of being a ninja rather than whisking fans away into a fantasy world such as the creators of Inuyasha and Dragon Ball Z did.
When the first Naruto: Ultimate Ninja arrived to American shores last summer, fanatics of the series were delighted with a quality fighter. The second go-around for the series maintains what the original established; even the unbearable English voice-actors. There have been a few changes along the way: the difficulty of the combo system and new game modes.
To be successful in Ultimate Ninja 2, players will want to take full advantage of the Secret Techniques that use Chakra. This is no easy feat since it asks for the players to tap the exact order of buttons that come up on the screen or to compete against their opponent to tap a particular button the fastest. If the player on the offensive loses, the attack does little damage. Don’t assume this is a pick up and play game. If players invest time into learning the powerful attacks, the game will become significantly easier to play.
Another aspect of the game that creates a moderate level of difficulty is the computer A.I. They have the tendency to take to the route of blocking rather than actually putting on an offensive barrage of attacks. This ends up being a problem when the players are timed and the opponent is continually sticking to the method of blocking. I often found myself frustrated within the storyline mode and I couldn’t land one attack because of the blocking.
For the returning players, the controls remain the same whereas the game modes haven’t. The story mode now pits players in an assigned character from the developer’s choosing to fight with. As players advance through the story mode, new characters will be assigned to the player to use. If this deters anyone away from playing the story mode, let it be known that the story mode is the only method of unlocking all 32 playable characters.
The story mode, titled Ultimate Road, is an interesting take on how to handle the default story mode found in almost all fighters. Instead of the simple “tournament” style found in Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter, there’s an actual storyline to play. Protecting Naruto’s village is the most important goal of the story mode. Also, take into account that many of the matches ask for the players to just finish the match alive or with a particular amount of health left, Ultimate Road isn’t the typical story mode.
If Ultimate Road, or any story mode for that matter, isn’t what players are looking for, Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2 contains a few other gameplay options. There is a versus mode, titled ‘Vs. Duel’, that allows players to fight without any set requirements to win the bout. Naruto comes packaged with a training mode for the players that feel they are inexperienced and want to learn more. There isn’t a heap of gameplay options, but what is provided here is enough to grasp the player’s attention for 6-8 hours.
When it comes down to the end, Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2 is a run-of-the-mill fighter. Though, with the lack of fighters being released, it’s worthy of a rental. I personally like anime series being translated into video games since they usually have interesting characters to follow. In Naruto’s case, the characters were humorous and appealing to draw my attention.
|Review Scoring Details for Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2|
The learning curve is high but don’t let that discourage you from picking up Ultimate Ninja 2. My favorite portion of the game is the Ultimate Road story mode; it provided a real purpose to finish the game.
While this isn’t the prettiest game I have played in recent memory, the graphics at least hold up on the PlayStation 2. The environments are bright and colorful; the animations are fluid; overall it’s enough to please Naruto fans.
The usual complaint of bad English voice-acting is found here. Outside of the voice-acting, the sound effects and music do respectable job of conveying the mood of the fighting genre.
Pulling off the death-defying maneuvers will require players to string together a long combination of buttons. This will not be easy for beginners; advanced players will pick it up quickly. Though, if two beginners face off against each other, it will without doubt turn into a button smasher.
With the lack of games in the fighting genre nowadays, I fully support every developer that ventures into creating a fighter.
This will delight all Naruto fans, especially those who have a friend to share the enjoyment with. The multiplayer is basic but it gets the job done with servicing the fans with solid controls.
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2 is definitely catered towards fans of the anime series. If you are reading this review, you probably already are a Naruto fan. If that’s not the case, and you are totally oblivious of the Naruto universe, you may want to rent Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2 to see what the fuss is all about.