Review: Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations
With much of the “Narutoverse” long explored, Namco Bandai likely thought it only fair to bring everyone up to date with a brand new title that could accurately tell the story of every significant character in the manga, actively allowing you to relive the entire story from start to… well… almost finish. Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations provides a heap load of content that would no doubt put any of its predecessors to shame, and with the largest selection of dynamic characters to play as, both online and off; it’s unlikely Generations will fall from the radar any time soon.
Although Namco Bandai wanted to focus more on online multiplayer, I was still a little shocked to understand that there was no actual exploration throughout the game. And with that said, the main focus on gameplay is literally through combat with each scene played out to follow the story of your chosen character. Luckily the developers managed to step up the combat in a number of ways whilst still retaining the original essence that made the series what it is. Whilst there aren’t any major battle scenes (including some story battles that have been left out), you’re still able to get the same satisfying experience out of each battle as any of previous titles.
Being able to choose your support members has long been an essential part of the series, and is no different with Generations as you can choose up to two support characters that can either fight or defend whilst you strategise your next attack sequence. This time however, there is a huge selection of over 70 characters to choose from to either use as your main character (excluding story mode) or to use as support. The items you buy or acquire through battles are also worth strategising over as everything from chakra replenishes, to exploding kunai can help to give you the advantage over the battlefield.
Although the missing boss battles remove much of the flair that once graced the series, the ability to unleash your inner power still makes up a significant part of the game. While there are still the familiar sights like Naruto’s four-tails etc, many of the characters have undoubtedly become stronger over time so you will find that many of the playable characters such as Sasuke can now unleash the power of Susano while Naruto’s latest ventures have given him the power of the legendary Sage of Six Paths.
Standing firm as its strong point, Generations is no doubt a multiplayer focused title, with a great online interface, giving you an array of options for online play such as ranked and player matches as well as a shop where you can buy a huge array of items such as ninja tools, substitution items and more. Not forgetting past titles in the series, we’re once again host to the infamous player card to show off all your experience in battle while also allowing you to customise your card with a number of titles and images that can be acquired from the shop and various battles.
Accompanying the massive selection of characters are the unique stages with over 35 areas, both old and new (with some varying in time of day and condition) to battle it out from the tranquil waters of the Final Valley to the high altitudes of the Storm Cloud Ravine, with each telling their own story, prompting fans of the franchise to think back to when our orange hero was last there.
Along with the standard online mode, the Free Battle provides you with a selection options such as Survival or VS Battle in which you can play by yourself or with a friend in order to put your skills to the test. There is also a training mode if find that your Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 has been covered in dust for the past year.
Much like its predecessors, the unique design that makes up the game does a great job of bringing out the elegance found within. The gameplay while not heavily updated still looks graphically stunning with each and every punch and kick thrown accompanied by an array of colourful and unique jutsu attacks that light up the battle ground.
The overall character design is excellent with each of them fitting their personal profiles perfectly, and with the implementation of the original voice actors, the realism is heightened to a great extent with each cut-scene accurately portraying each character with great care and emotional depth.
You will likely notice that the animated cut-scenes found throughout each storyline have been largely updated in order to compete with the anime. Although some portions have been left out, brand new scenes have been created in order to better portray the story, working only to immerse you further.
Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations spawns a benchmark in the series, providing not only a bustling multiplayer experience, but a colossal amount of story focused content, giving new comers a chance to explore the ins and outs of the Naruto Universe, while allowing fans to relive the epic story from an array of different perspectives
Although Namco Bandai removed the exploration element which served as a vital role in the series, they have managed to uphold each story with great detail and precision. The character stories themselves play out in a manner which is both easy on the eyes and informative as the narrator moves through each sequence of events before arriving at one of the many battles. As each storyline is played out, a larger picture begins to come into focus as you witness each character weave into Naruto’s life, be it through friendship, rivalry or hatred.
Generations provides a breath of fresh air compared to most titles in the franchise, breaking away from the linear story of sole protagonist Naruto Uzumaki and allowing other characters to portray their own story and experiences in order to show us the many other sides of the story. This kind of simplistic but innovative thinking has pushed Namco Bandai to create a title that not only provides you with a new experience, but an encyclopaedia of knowledge in which to play through again and again.