Sunday, October 17, 2010

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 Review - 9.0

Platform Played On
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2
PlayStation 3

The Good
  • Background Art
  • Easy Control Scheme
  • Length/Amount Of Gameplay
  • Tone Of The Game
  • Good Use Of Trophies
  • Hand Drawn World is stunning
The Bad
  • Lengthy Install
  • Plenty Of Load Screens Throughout The Game
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 does have a couple of technical issues that have lowered its review score, but the game is too good to be dismissed because of loading and occasional anti aliasing issues. The controls are very simple and, even though there is no tutorial, they are easy to pick up and have surprising depth to them. The games story mode has two parts, the main story and the side quests, and because of this the game is surprisingly long. But the games length is never an issue as pacing in the game is spot on and there is plenty do to during and after the main story line. The main story is full of high and lows and the game does great in conveying this to the player, with the last couple of chapters in particular able to tug at heart strings. The game looks great. The hand drawn world simply looks amazing in HD. The major fights in the story have some spectacular QTE moments which are stunning to watch, but even general fights look good, and can be just as fast paced, and epic. Ultimately, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 is a great game and well worth playing.

Full Review

Once the mandatory install is completed, the game starts with a trailer that provides a glimpses of the action, characters, and events to come in the game. The main menu shows there are 3 modes of play, Ultimate Adventure, Free Battle, And Online, and Options. If you haven't played the first game, or the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 demo, it may be worth having a few fights in the Free Battle mode before starting the Ultimate Adventure mode, as there is no fighting tutorial. The fighting is not complicated and uses a simple, yet effective, control scheme which many people may be able to pick up from the beginning. In the options menu there is an option to play the game with the Japanese voice cast, which is what I did, and I played the game on the medium setting because, there are no trophies for playing it at a harder difficulty setting, I thought it would offer a more enjoyable gaming experience for someone new to this series.

Ultimate Adventure is the games main story mode and it tells the story of Naruto Shippuden in 9 chapters, including the initial Prologue and special chapter found at the end of the game. I have been watching the anime and I can say that none of the “filler” storylines have made it into this game. The story being told is much more streamlined and to the point. A problem with this is that the story in the game could lack depth and whilst it could be argued it does, the pacing, the story, the understanding of what is happening in the story is not affected and it keeps you hooked right through till after the game has finished. As you play you notice that the game does tell some parts of the story more indepth than others, with this being more evident in the last couple of chapters.

The tone, the emotion the game is able to convey to the player is very impressive. The character models may look simple but they are full of emotion. Couple this with excellent voice casting, the games story can lead to some emotional moments, both funny and sad. The games last couple of chapters make good use of this emotion. These chapters also have some of the most detailed story out of all the chapters as an emotion connection with the player to the story is made. This tone is carried over into the credits and just after them so I highly recommend people watch the credit sequence as it rounds off the last chapters very good.

There is more to do in the Ultimate Adventure mode than just play through the story. There are plenty of side missions, called requests, ranging from simple sparring with other characters, to finding items, solving riddles, and solving the mystery of the evil chakra dolls. These side missions continue even after the games main story line has finished, adding several more hours of gameplay to the game as well as several trophies. Some help progress the story, others help unlock other aspects of the game, but they all offer money and SP points as reward, both needed to earn trophies, items and unlocks in the game. Some of the requests lack inspiration and they can get a little repetitive if you've played the game as long as I have. Most requests are optional but I did them as I found them useful and rewarding enough and they don't detract from the games main story. I used the time after the main story to do requests and train for the much harder battles since the main story ended.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 has a somewhat basic online mode. Online allows you to fight 1 on 1 with another player. You can either play a Player Match, where you can fight and not worry about rankings, or you can fight in a Ranked Match for Battle Points and Rankings. In Player Matches you can choose to use either 1 fighter in a match or play with up to 3 on your team. In Ranked Matches you play with a team of fighters, up to 3. there are only 3 search parameters when it comes to looking for a fight, search for players of a Same Level players, based on their Connectivity, or Advanced players. The annoying part is if you find a player and try to join them for a battle, if that match has already started your taken back to the search screen and have to start over. I found it easier to create your own session and wait for someone to join.

The game doesn’t make a good first impression. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 has a mandatory install of 4392MB (4.2GB) which took me over 13 minutes to install. During the install process, the story of Naruto up to the start of the game is told. This is certainly a nice touch, but the story told is far to brief. The length of the installation could enable a far better telling of the story of Naruto. The game does offer other ways to catch up with the game as throughout the main story there are red scrolls to collect which tell the history of Naruto in more depth than the installation process did.

Still on a technical aspect, even though 4.2GB has been installed, the game has plenty of loading. Most loads tend to be small, over in just a matter of seconds, but there are several lengthy load screens. One of the longest loads you'll encounter is the time it takes to load up fights, the VS's screen before a fight takes place happens every time there is a fight, even briefly when you have to retry a fight. Most other load screens provide some useful tips and advice for the game, like on fighting, using Chakra, items, and they can be extremely useful if your new to the game like I was. Because of the length of the game, the sheer amount of load screens does detract from the experience, especially with the loading screens for fights as there are loads of fights in the game.

The other issue I had was with the games anti aliasing. The shadows from all characters and certain items are very blocky and this is very noticeable when you start playing the game. By the end you don't notice it soo much, but the reason why it stands out against the world is because the world is soo well done and it's soo good to look at. The characters have a cell shaded look to them and therefore have defining black lines on them. When characters are up close there really isn't a problem, but when there is some distance to them, their defining features can become unclear and they can look somewhat awkward. It is a little disappointing, but this problem doesn’t detract from the games major story moments.

Graphics as a whole though are very good. The menus are very colourful and look like they're from the Naruto universe. Even the main menu at the start of the game is well presented and has the look and feel of the series. I mentioned before about how good the game world looked, but it really deserves more attention. Most of the stationary objects in the game are hand drawn and look like they were taken straight from the anime. Its very impressive in HD and very detailed. There are times when its worth stopping and looking around as there is soo much to take in. each area is different, from the Hidden Sand Village , Hidden Leaf Village , Uchiha Stronghold, and even the gloomy Hidden Rain Village looks stunning. Neither the shadow issues or the black line issue, mentioned in previous paragraph, affects fights as the fights look great and are very impressive to watch and play throughout the game.

No comments:

Post a Comment