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4.3 out of 5 stars46
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VINE VOICEon 21 December 2008
I'll be honest, I was already in love with this game long before it came out based on the extremely limited but fun demo released several months before the game got released, and the full game was everything I could have hoped it would be... almost.

I'll start with what's good, because boy is it good. A fighting game first and foremost, Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm's first stand out feature is obviously it's deeply striking visuals, which are easily the best anime based graphics ever seen in a game, with vibrant, detailed, colourful representations of each character from the Naruto series(With a handful of exceptions, but I'll get to that) set against an admittedly limited number of combat arenas that look equally stunning and contain a surprising degree of depth and variety in how to play the game. The game looks incredible, and this is before you see it in action... and that is where it truly shines brightest. The animation is fluid in a way no game with this visual style has ever come close to, with flips and attacks and combos all being carried out with such unprecedented grace it's almost a thing of beauty to see the game in action.

The gameplay, too, is equally fantastic, with an initially simplistic one attack button system giving way to a surprisingly deep combat system that, when you try it against a skilled opponent after mastering things for yourself, can be incredibly intense to play. The variety of dodges, jumps, counters, items, and combos on offer forces you to not only rely on just charging in and attacking constantly, but actually how and where you attack your opponent from in the completely free roaming 3D combat arenas, where battles can go completely airborne or vertical up walls and cliffs in an instant. It's quite a ride. The controls also have enough of an edge of familiarity about them from the PS2's Ultimate Ninaj series that veterans will feel right at home, but also have enough new material to sink their teeth into.

Another excellent touch was how completely individual each character in the game feels. In pretty much every other Naruto game, almost each character carries out the same generic series of punches and kicks in their combos, with only their Jutsus to distinguish them... not so here. Each character has an utterly unique style about them, from Shikamaru's combos that rely almost entirely on ninja tools and traps rather than straight hits, to Kabuto's 'Chakra knife' that sees him twist and dive around an opponent to strike individual body parts to disable them a piece at a time to Kiba's slashing attacks where Akamaru(His dog) is an independently moving character who partcipates in your attacks as he freely runs around your feet awaiting orders. It all feels so utterly authentic it hurts. And this is before you get to the absolutely spectacular cinematic Jutsus and transformations that alter your character's fighting style completely. It's a real joy to play.

Getting away from the combat, there is also of course the free roaming Konoha hub world that you are free to explore at will in between 'missions'(Be they fights or one of many decent mini games that you can challenge). While it is impressively open and detailed, there isn't a huge amount to do around Konoha beyond collecting scrolls and hidden items(That you can use to buy various new upgrades and extras for the game among other things) that randomise and respawn at different points as the story progresses. It looks fantastic, sure, but for the most part you'll simply be running back and forth looking for characters to initiate the next mission. It is a lot of fun using Naruto's shadow clones to propel across Konoha's skyline like a cannonball though.

Which brings me to the story mode itself, which is where things get a tad iffy. While it does a fine job of recreating almost every battle from the anime's main story, there are a few glaring omissions, mainly the rarity of actual cutscenes in the story. For the most part, battles are preceded by first person 'journal entries' but Naruto telling you what is going on, with the only cutscenes being centred around the first and last battles of each story arc. Saying that though, those cutscenes in there are amazing to behold, with most completely overshadowing the events they portray as they appeared in the anime series itself(Tsunade's battle with Orochimaru being a prime example of this). It's just a shame there are so few of them. Other glaring ommissions are on the character front, with Zabuza and Haku excised from the story completely, and a lot of characters reduced to 'supporting character only' status(Where you call them into battle to assist you at any time without actually being able to play as them). It's harsh, but even with that, the story mode still took me around 12 hours or so to work through. And the game has a whole ton of side missions and quests with their own self contained side stories(Mostly played for comedic value) to work through, so it will last a while.

The bad doesn't stop there though, as the most glaring omission of all from this game is the lack of any sort of online multiplayer. Online is more or less an essential requirement for any multiplayer enabled game these days, and while, yes, beat em ups don't have the best reputation with online modes, there's simply no excuse for excluding the feature, and that's the sole reason this game only gets 4 out of 5 from me. With online, it would have been perfect. Add to this the fact the game requires(Unadvertised on it's box) a 4.5 GB install on your HDD and things take a pretty hard hit and no mistake.

One last sticking point is the way the downloadable content is being handled with this game. While it is admirable to have new missions, costumes and support characters up for download every month, the fact that these downloads are merely unlocking content ALREADY IN THE GAME that we can't access(The first and second Hokage support characters are in the story mode, but we'll never get the chance to use them ourselves as they were only available as a pre-order incentive with the US version of the game. Low low tactics). It feels exceptionally cheap.

On the whole though, this game is still an immense amount of fun despite some issues. It is the most fluid, amazing looking anime game yet made, and provides an unparalelled Naruto experience.

Try it out and be amazed... if you can get past what's missing from the game.
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on 7 February 2010
I only got this game yesterday and already I'm hooked on it! In my books, it's by far the best game of its kind.

PROS:
>easy to get into
>pretty deep, which allows for more advanced fighting
>sometimes strategic
>accurate to the anime/manga
>everything looks really impressive and correct
>more to do than just fighting

CONS:
>Not enough emphasis on fighting
>Not enough cutscenes
>Some pretty poor voice-acting (not all though)
>Not enough characters
>Not enough story arcs
>just generally, not enough stuff...

The basic fighting is really simple and intuitive- you can learn it in just a couple of minutes. After that there's still lots to improve on- timing your attacks right, knowing when to block, mastering combos- that makes it pretty deep in some ways. It can also be fairly strategic at times, which has always been a crucial element of the anime, making the fighting seem really authentic.

The main outstanding point here is the graphics: they are, frankly, phenomenal. Each character animation looks fluid and accurately represents the anime. The battle arenas are also excellent representations, as are the ultimate jutsus (absolutely EPIC cinematic moves, which you'll find yourself wanting to use again and again if only for their sheer awesomeness).

The game goes further than just the fighting though. There's the hub world of konoha, which at first i thought would just be a rubbish gimmick. However, it's great fun to explore (using ninja free-running skills!) and find all the secrets there. You can collect ingredients to boost your chakra (energy used for special skills). You can find secret scrolls which you can trade for secret techniques, and you can look for treasure chests with secrets hidden inside.

There are also the mini-games, which are surprisingly robust. First is the tree-running exercise, where you leap from branch to branch avoiding trees. The sense of speed you get here makes it surprisingly fun and challenging. There is also the tree-climbing game, where you run up a really, really tall tree, racing an opponent. This is similarly impressive. The problem with these minigames is sometimes the game puts too much emphasis on them, and forgets that it is first and foremost a fighting game. That's what most people will buy it for, right? Occasionally it gets annoying, how you have to run around performing these little side-missions before you can actually advance through the story.

The plot essentially follows up to the end of the first series of naruto. It does it pretty accurately, but unfortunately there are some huge omissions. The haku and zabuza arc- a pretty important encounter early on- is completely ignored. As are the otonin trio. And the sound four. And several konoha jonin ninja. And... you get the idea. The game includes all the major characters, but skips out on some who it'd be nice to play as. Luckily some can be downloaded as 'support characters'- you can summon them to your aid, but you can't actually play as them.

This is the only big problem with Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm- it's a great game but just 'not enough'. It skips out important story points, removes vital characters, gets rid of cutscenes... it's like a delicious meal but on a tiny plate, if you get me. Fortunately there may be hope! The sequel has been announced, and perhaps this will provide more of what the first game has started: fun, adrenaline-filled ninja fighting...
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on 25 February 2014
This game is absolutely terrific! Don't judge games from their release date because sometimes the original games are the best. I used to rent this game from another company for 3 weeks, it was just mind-blowing even in the original PS3! But then I gave it away a few months ago, after that, I was so bored. But now I finally have it again!This game has better fighting combat than Storm 2, Generations & 3! Storm 1 has unique features than the nest games in the series don't.

Impact punches - Send your opponents flying as they make a goofy face as soon as they are punch and just literally fly!

Ultimate Justus - Yes, the next games do have it, but in this game, the Ultimate Jutsus are longer, making it already cinematically better and don't worry if you ever get hit by it, you have a chance to challenge the opponent to a button sequence or mash together & you get a chance to cancel it, but you will still take a little damage if dodging. If you attacked the opponent with your Ultimate Justsu, than watch out, the enemy might cancel it too, if you win, sit back & enjoy the long cinematic scenes unlike the other Storms which last less than 7 seconds.

Wall-fighting - if you can manage to get your opponent flying to the wall, they'll stay there & you will jump there & fight there until either of you fall off, fun feature, isn't it?

Justu clashes - my favourite one. If you & your opponent run into each other for the jutsu, don't worry. They won't cancel it and jump away from each other like in the next Storm games. In fact the gameplay shows a quick close up on you and your opponent using Ultimate Jutsu and you start pushing against you opponent with your Rasengan in the competition, mash more than your opponent and you win the Ultimate Jutsu clash & you will use it on your enemy. Really necessary & fun feature!

This is the best game I've played in the Naruto franchise, the second place being Naruto Ultimate Ninja for PS2, but yeah, this game is epic even if it's old and doesn't have online, I would rather play this game in local multiplayer with our friends so we can brag who won & have a laugh which is fun. So yeah, I love the game! Straight 5-stars from me!
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on 17 October 2010
My experiences with developer CyberConnect2 usually revolve around the now extremely iconic, yellow-haired ninja, Naruto. Making the leap from manga to anime and then to videogames, Naruto has made a serious impact on anime culture but usually his games leave something to be desired. Although CyberConnect2's previous Naruto titles have had a few problems, they were among the better Naruto games and were often very entertaining even for non-fans, all things considered. Now, Naruto makes his PS3 debut thanks to CyberConnect2's efforts in the form of Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm -- the best Naruto game I've ever played and an all-around entertaining title to boot.

In case you're completely unfamiliar with Naruto, the franchise follows a mischievous, energetic ninja that possesses the spirit of the great Nine-Tailed Fox. Ultimate Ninja Storm is a, as I like to call it, "casual" fighting game that follows the first plot arcs of the anime series and gives players the chance to fight classic Naruto battles, play mini-games and roam the quaint streets of the Hidden Leaf Village.

The most obvious thing you'll notice about Ultimate Ninja Storm is the game's phenomenal visuals. While the environments are on the simpler side, the character animations are unreal. The fluidity, attention to detail and even camera angles are executed with such expertise and palpable, Naruto-passion that you can't help but fall in love with how the characters move and fight. I would almost go so far as to say that the characters' Ultimate Jutsu techniques are worth the price of admission, but luckily the entire package is fun, too.

Ultimate Ninja Storm is generally broken up into two modes: Ultimate Mission Mode and Free Battle Mode. Unless you're just playing against a friend, you'll be spending most of your time in Ultimate Mission Mode. The great thing about Ultimate Ninja Storm is that CyberConnect2 recognized that fighting games need something other than straight fighting to keep the longevity of the experience strong. Because Ultimate Ninja Storm isn't a highly technical fighter and has a casual engine, that added content goes a long way.

That content is delivered in the form of a robust collection of missions that are accessed from a large hub world -- a fully explorable Hidden Leaf Village. You can run and jump through the village as Naruto, purchase items and collect unlockables and then access missions by talking to different characters. Those missions range from standard fights, a few mini-games or even massive boss/giant battles.

The mini-games -- which involve a lot of tree jumping and dodging branches -- are good fun but I would have liked to see a bit more variety in them, like what we saw in CyberConnect2's previous titles. But everything else works great and having 100 missions to work through with bonus conditions included (to encourage multiple play-throughs) definitely adds up your total play time.

I've referred to Ultimate Ninja Storm as a "casual" fighting game several times now, so an explanation is in order. The primary game mechanic here is obviously one-on-one fighting with support characters that can come in for a quick jab or two, but Ultimate Ninja Storm doesn't play like a traditional franchise like Street Fighter. Almost every awesome-looking move can be pulled off by pounding away at the Circle button, and that simplicity is both the game's greatest strength and weakness. CyberConnect2 -- as has been the case before -- is interested in bringing the highly stylized, fast action of Naruto to players of all skill levels. Thus, all attacks are pulled off with the Circle button and only a few other button presses are needed in battle. You can power up your Chakra with Triangle, throw shurikens with Square and jump/dash with X. Also, you can block and dodge with L2/R2 and the aforementioned support characters can be called in with a quick tap of L1/R1.

Despite the fact that you can do so much with the Circle button, there's still a fair amount of strategy to be found in Ultimate Ninja Storm and you'll need a good bit of skill to push through more difficult battles. Skill comes into play mainly when you consider having to manage your Chakra meter, block and deflect incoming attacks and using the proper timing for Jutsu and Ultimate Jutsu. This actually leads to a nice balance of approachable combat with the potential for mastery. The straight-forward combat might turn hardcore gamers off, but I think there's enough depth in the system to keep most people entertained.

Ultimate Ninja Storm does have a few issues to note. There's a mandatory install that takes about 11 minutes or so. That in itself isn't bad, but the game has way too much loading for an install of that size. It's not unbearable by any means, but jumping in and out of the Hidden Leaf Village hub world should be quicker.

Also, I would have liked to see a few more cutscenes and a more fleshed out narrative. The actual cutscenes (as opposed to just text readouts) are few and far between, but when they do pop up they're fun to watch so I wish CyberConnect2 would have capitalized on that a touch more. My only serious complaint to level at gameplay, however, is that Substitution Jutsu seems quite finicky (this Jutsu involves hitting L2/R2 at the moment your opponent's strike connects, teleporting you behind him). No matter what timing I tried, my success with this Jutsu seemed very sporadic and that was frustrating -- especially when you're on the receiving end of a hyper-epic combo.
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on 8 January 2009
lets get this straight, this is a fighting game. not an adventure game. the graphics and sound are amazing and in places beat the anime.

the game has a story mode which basically tells you the story from 1-135. however, some memorable/important parts are missed such as the fight between zabuza and haku, and also the sound four. the sound four are in the game as support, and will be usable as support characters as DLC in the future, but zabuza and haku are just omitted from the story. annoying.

next, the story mode 'adventure mode', is quite annoying, you have to run around and collect scrolls around konoha to upgrade characters, CONSTANTLY. thankfully, once done, you never have to see it again; with that said you have to play through this mode to unlock all the characters.

if you've seen the trailers, you'd imagine the whole game is told through gorgeous cutscenes, WRONG! there are maybe a total of 5 in the game, and they look amazing, its a shame that the story isn't told with them. for the most part, you'll be running around konoha, talking to people and they'll give you a mission. whilst loading you'll read a scroll telling you what's going on in the story. the missions consist of, tree climbing, tree hopping, and fighting. the first two get boring, QUICK.

however, the meat of the game is in the fighting and this is enjoyable. 1 button to attack, 1 to use chakra, 1 for projectiles. the fights take place of a 3d plain and each character plays differently meaning you have to plan accordingly and use your characters, projects and jutsus accordingly.

1 button to attack sounds poor, but trust me, this game IS fun. you'll be playing it with your friends for a long time. unfortunately there is no online play, but maybe that will be included in the next game.

One more thing to add: 4.3gb is required to play the game i think.
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on 29 September 2010
I like this game... kind of.

It's a great game for die-hard Naruto fans. But anyone else will be dissappointed by its repetative nature. You take on missions, which consits either of constantly reoccuring mini games or button mashing one-on-one battles. The mini games are generaly OK but feel abused and underdeveloped. On normal difficulty the combat is a piece of cake until the later missions. This is nothing like Street Fighter or even the Ninja Clash titles for gamecube or wii. The fighting mechanics are too simple and don't go very deep (you press circle circle circle circle circle...). Some missions are a roughly retelling of this main story arc until the fight of Naruto and Sasuke, where Sasuke finally leaves Konoha. The story behind every event is unfortunatly told by text and no animated scenes. Unsatisfying, at least for me.

But why three stars? The game has afterall many redeeming factors. The visuals are stunning and look like directly taken from the animated series. The voices can be set to the original japanese sound actors, so die-hard fans will feel comfortable immediatly. The special moves of each character of the big roster are brilliantly animated and do not dissapoint. The village of Konoha can be explored between the missions and this is exactly what fans want (Unfortnatly the possibel actions in the village are exhausted after the first or two hours of the game and repeat themselves too). The game controls are fluent and reponsive most of time.

Overall an ok game for fans, but a bad one for anyone else.
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on 3 May 2011
Great game for anyone, especially enjoyable for fans of the Anime series.

Lots of fun missions and battles, can get a little repetative in some aspects especially when collecting "Secret Scrolls" or redoing missions to gain 3 stars but never once got frustrated or bored!

NOTE: Not a serious game, not an RPG or adventure game and not really a beat 'em up... just plain, simple fun!
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on 15 May 2013
This is a very good game, and a happy change from the 2d fights of the old naruto games. Very fast and very flashy moves. However I can say from experience that a novice cannot beat someone who has played the game significantly.
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on 31 January 2010
-Gameplay is very simple and easy to learn (this rates good and bad), with pretty cool new features compared to older games

-Character roster is very small, even when unwillingly accepting the fact that shippuuden characters have no part, a fairly large portion of characters are only available as support characters.

-Story mode is well done and decent long(still considering the grave absence of shippuuden content!)

-After 20 hrs of playtime, pretty much everything is completed and collected, also including the extra game packs

Compared to earlier games: Refreshing gameplay, the only big (and very important) negative is the shippuuden thing.. it weighs down so very much
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on 14 September 2014
This game is a lot of fun. the battle are the best part of the game and are done perfectly but after a while is AI becomes to easy to beat and the challenge is taken out of the game. the story mode allows you to explore a small open world city and there are plenty of things to collect. i fell as if the story mode of this game is completely ruined by the silly mini games in between which you have to do in-order to progress the main story. the story itself is very entertaining albeit a direct copy of the story told in the anime. another problem with this game is the lack of online multilayer which would have been so much better instead of just playing vs the AI.
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