Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is the latest entry in Bandai’s “Ninja Storm” Naruto series. The game boasts that it contains 60+ minutes of new footage, as well as over 70 unique characters to play with in a variety of game modes. Another feature introduced in the game is that you can use codes printed on cards from the Naruto trading card game to unlock special features in the game. So is “Generations” the Hokage of Naruto games or does it flunk out of Ninja Academy all together? Read on and find out.
The first thing that I noticed about the game was the sheer amount of modes, stages, characters (there are over 60 characters available to be unlocked in the game) and other unlockables that the game has to offer. One drawback to this is that you don’t start out with very many characters unlocked and the ones that are unlocked are very similar to each other though this is good motivation to unlock the others. The stages are beautifully done and fit the game very well and there are also a variety of them to see and pick from. Other unlockables include artwork, extra cut scenes, and various other items related to the Naruto franchise. There is so much to unlock in the game that it will definitely keep players playing for a while.
Mode wise the game offers all the standard modes of a fighting game: story mode, tournament mode, versus mode, and of course online mode where you can play against anyone in the world. The Story mode is pretty much what it says it is you pick a character and play through their storyline from the Naruto series with cut scenes and pictures used to tell the story between battles. Tournament mode is also pretty self explanatory you pick your character and fight against others in a single elimination tournament.
The online component of the game is solid and the servers seem to hold up really well. I actually only experienced one disconnect and the issue may have been on my end due to a thunderstorm going on while I was playing and my internet not being the greatest. There are definitely players online who as with any online community will abuse exploits and cheap tricks while fighting against you.
Gameplay wise the game is pretty similar to the other Ninja Storm entries,which aren’t necessarily a bad thing since for the most part those were very well done. Each character has standard attacks, combos, and special ultimate “jutsu” moves that are pulled off by using a combination of buttons, the only gripe I had with the control scheme was that often times I would input the command for one move, be slightly off and end up pulling off a completely different move then I intended. During battles you also have the choice to use special items by pressing a corresponding button on the d-pad. These items depending upon which item you use can have a variety of effects on either you or your opponent, these items are items that have been shown in the Anime series, so this really adds to the dramatic feel of the battle. The biggest gripe with the gameplay was that in my experience the AI could get into a pattern and continually spam you with the same moves without allowing you the chance to recover, or the AI would counter every attack you tried. Aside from those small issues the gameplay was very solid and fun and it made you feel like you were a part of an epic ninja battle.
Graphically the game is excellent, the custcenes are beautiful and are pretty much straight from the anime or movies with a few new scenes rendered in and though they can be a bit long at times they do a good job of explaining background and setting the stage for the games plot. Each character and their expressions are detailed and the attacks look spectacular. The graphics department is definitely probably the strongest area of the game and there are not many complaints that anyone could make about it.
Audio is where the game takes a bit of a hit in my opinion, this could just be me not being a fan of the Naruto soundtrack but the audio at times didn’t seem to fit the fast pace of the battle (though there were also times where the music seemed really well placed) and the voice acting got on my nerves for some of the characters such as Young Narutos voice in particular I am not a fan of. But again these could be seen as subjective as I am sure there are some people out there who really like the voice acting done by the series. Some of the lines used were also pretty corny but they were close to what was said in the Anime or Manga so it isn’t really the games fault there. Audio is like I said probably the weakest area of the game but it isn’t really bad just nothing really makes it stand out as being particularly great.
Overall Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is a pretty good game and if Bandai keep improving upon it then the series should continue to be around for a while. My only real nitpick about the game is that it doesn’t seem like they tried to innovate very much from the other Ninja storm games but if you have something that is working (and they do) then I can understand not wanting to change too much at one time. The game was definitely made with fans of the series in mind first but I can definitely see some fans of fighting games in general getting enjoyment out of this one as well.