`With every game Namco Bandai released in the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series, they ran the risk of putting out a bad game that could ruin the entire series. However, with this risk also comes great rewards, and this time that reward appeared to them (and us, thankfully) in the form of Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations. The newest addition to the already great series provides us ramen-loving ninjas with fixes to problems encountered in Storm 2, as well as a great story that lives up to the manga, and some surprisingly addictive achievements.
Storm 2 was a good game; however there were some problems that made it boring for someone playing alone. Once the story was completed, there wasn’t much else to do. Playing through the story unlocked all of the characters, so unless you had someone to go against, free fights against the computer got old quick. And even in the story, you were often times walking around through the city instead of fighting. Generations came up with a few answers to this issue. The “walking around” part of the story was completely removed. The story (or should I say “stories”) are now made up of a combination of epic battles and intense cutscenes. And rather than just have one story, it is divided into eight different sagas. The main ones are for Sasuke Uchiha and Naruto Uzumaki, however, you can experience six other stories: Young Naruto, Zabuza and Haku (One story for the two), Kakashi Hatake, Minato Namikaze, Killer Bee, and Madara Uchiha, whose story is mostly composed of various Akatsuki members on the quest to capture the nine Jinchuriki.
Once the story is completed, though, there is much more to do. If you go to free battle, you will find tournament and survival modes. Tournament mode (which can be done in both single and multiplayer) will put you in a single elimination tournament with three to eight other characters, getting progressively harder as you win. Survival will pit you up against up to ten battles in a row, where you start with however much you ended with in the previous battle, plus a bonus for completing certain objectives, and for achieving a higher rank. For a casual gamer who may only play an hour a day, this provides a lot of gameplay just in single player mode.
And why would anyone want to complete all of that? To earn titles, items, and of course, achievements and trophies. It may not seem like much, but because the achievements for this game are actually within reason, it is fun to try and get them all.
Gameplay got an upgrade from Storm 2. One of the most frustrating parts of the game was how substituting was mostly random. That was removed with the introduction of a substitution bar, which refills like the chakra meter. This helps balance gameplay, and causes longer, more entertaining, and strategic battles. Characters also feel a little more balanced, though there are some that still feel slightly stronger than the others.
The only thing that feels like it’s missing from Storm 2 is the boss battles. They provided a break from the usual routine and were pretty entertaining, with the quick time events unlocking secret cutscenes.
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is mostly intended for fans of the anime and manga series; however, casual and hardcore gamers alike could get hours of entertainment out of Namco Bandai’s latest gem. With 40 plus characters to choose from, you won’t be getting rid of it anytime soon.