Released this past October for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, “Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2,” is not only one of the longest titles I have ever seen, but also one of the best animated games of 2010. This game follows the second portion of the “Naruto” manga series to where the anime is at currently, minus the filler seasons. There are a few different sections to this game: adventure mode, local play and online play. An awesome extra I found was that I could change the vocals for the game to the Japanese setting, and to my surprise the voices are all done by the actors and actresses who voice the characters for the anime. I personally watch the anime and this was a big plus for me.
“Ninja Storm 2” is just beautiful. The game is done in the cel-shaded style that makes it look like you are playing through the anime episodes. The art styling made the list of top five game animations of 2010 on G4’s Xplay. As a fan of the anime, this helped me feel immersed in the game. The main story is followed pretty closely, though some events have been altered slightly so everything is determined by the fights the players have. Instead of an open world that players can run around in between fight sequences, the areas are static maps that players walk around in, which gave the game a “Final Fantasy” feel to it. There was a lot of running in between areas to collect items and to get to the next fight. I left one cut scene twice to walk to another area and as soon as the new area loaded, another cut scene started. The boss fights are amazing, and they blend the standard fighting with some quick-time events and other special gameplay; the blending made the boss fights epic.
The fighting in local play and online play is the same, with two modes available: team and solo battle. Solo battle is self-explanatory as a one-on-one fight between two of the 42 total characters available. Team battles allow you to pick a fighting character and one or two supporting characters to help you during battle by defending you or attacking your opponent. The fighters themselves have access to two forms, a normal state and an awakened state. When in the awakened state, characters are granted new abilities and weapons to try to take down the opponent. Most fighting games have difficult combos and abilities, but in “Ninja Storm 2,” players who don’t normally play fighting games can perform a majority of the attacks after a 10 minute crash course.
“Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2” is a fighting game for fans of the anime and players who are just looking to dabble in the fighting game genre. Hardcore fighters might not like that the button mashing noobs can do just as well as trained combatants. This is a great title, with amazing visuals and fun boss fights, that I feel has truly earned the right to rest on my games shelf.