Review by WingedRegent
"The Ultimate Ninja has finally come to the US!"
3 years ago, Japan received Naruto: Narutimate Hero 3. This game was considered the pinnacle of anime based games in Japan. Around that time, Naruto was just starting in the US. Eventually, Naruto's popularity in the US sky-rocketed, as Narutimate Hero and NH2 were released under the title of Ultimate Ninja and Ultimate Ninja 2. Now, 6 months after the release of UN2, Narutimate Hero 3 comes to our shores as Ultimate Ninja 3, with all of it's content intact!
This game contains some of the best cel-shading you will ever see in a game. From the beautiful animation of the different jutsu to the fluid animation of each character as he or she does their combos is astonishing. Each and every movement is detailed and the Ultimate Jutsu look almost beyond impressive. Definantly one of the best looking games of the PS2.
The sound suits the game well, as each hit leaves an impactful thud upon connection. The music in the game also fits well with each stage. Sometimes, you might catch yourself humming some of the tunes in the game to yourself. One thing that gives this game a rather Japanese feel to it is the "Yo!" you hear everytime you confirm something in the main menu. Each character's voice work is also fantastic, as the Voice work is done with the same amount of emphasis and "gusto" that you hear in the anime.
The gamplay in this game stands among some of the best fighting games. Fighting is done using mostly the Circle Button and the directional buttons. Pressing Up X2 and Circle or Down X2 and Circle does a jutsu. Pressing Triangle and then Circle initiates an Ultimate Jutsu. Pretty simple. Defense is slightly more strategy based, as you have to switch from blocking to Substituing often to keep the enemy guessing.
The main modes in this game are Hero's History and Ultimate Contest. Hero's History follows the Naruto Anime and Manga storyline from the start of Team Kakashi's Training until the end of the Sasuke Retrieval Arc. For someone new to the series, they will get the basic gist of the storyline off of this mode alone. Certain points are left out to restrict the mode only to fighting, however. Also, certain fights were changed to keep it within the game's own capabilities. Lastly, it's kinda short. However, for all of the negatives this mode may have, it's actually a pretty fun play through of the storyline. This mode unlocks most of the characters in the game as well, so unless you use the code, it's almost required to do anyway.
The Ultimate Contest Mode is the RPG Mode of the game. In here, you get to play as Naruto in an original storyline made exclusively for the game. In this storyline, the Sand Siblings pay a visit to Konoha to represent the Sand Village in the alliance that they made. To celebrate their alliance, Tsunade comes up with a tournament. In this tournament, one must gather 60 crystals to advance to the next round, and then as many as they can to advance to the Finals. The winner gets any regulation they want made in Konoha. Aside from the main quest, they are many other side-quests you can take, such as quizzes and "dating" the characters in the game. These side-quests give you items needed for certain jutsu, unlock characters, or help make Ultimate Jutsu available. This mode alone can kill some time in completeing EVERYTHING this mode has to offer.
The other modes of the game are Training Mode, for practicing, and Vs. Duel Mode, where you can go against the CPU or a friend in a match. The fighting is very fun in this game, so you might often find yourself playing different matches with various characters just to see what the outcome would be or how the fight would go. With the immense roster of 41 character, many different dream matches are possible.
Unlockable Content: 10/10
Not only do you have the many characters to unlock, you can also buy many other things at the game's Tanzaku Market. There, you can buy figures of the characters in different poses from the anime, redone in the game's graphical styling. You can also buy vids of every Ultimate Jutsu in the game, Ninja Info Cards that have stills from the anime and new artwork, all of the music tracks used in the game, and voice collections of every character in the game (The only one without a voice collection doesn't speak in the game.)
While this game might be as old as dirt in Japan, it's STILL one of the best PS2 games of all time and stays ahead of it's generation by not losing any of it's luster 3 years later.
Buy, Rent, or Avoid: Buy if you are into fighting, anime, manga, or the Naruto Series. Rent if you are interested. Avoid if you hate Naruto.
This is easily one of the best games of the PS2 Generation. The only reason it should be passed up is if you hate Naruto.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/07/08
Game Release: Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 (US, 03/25/08)
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