Review by Nintendo_Rules5
"An unfortunate letdown for a Naruto Anime fan."
Well, it's been said in many reviews, or at least three, this game is awesome. In my opinion, the game sucks. Now, this is a review of the English version of the game, so if I were playing the Japanese version, it may or may not have received a different score. If you are looking to buy the Japanese version, please disregard the review, as the games are quite different.
The graphics are very nice, bright, and smooth. At least on the characters you control. You ae able to clearly see every detail on the characters, which is very nice. The enemies, however, just don't look right. You end up fighting hordes of enemies at once, which would've been fine, except for one thing: they all look the same! I can't fight any standard random encounter without some sense of deja vu going through me. Especially(sp) as I kill him using the exact same method as I have for the past 100 versions of him.
Well, what can I ay, the music fits the scene. There always seems to be the right tune when it comes to a battle. The music keeps you in the right mood, making you tense during the battles and just establishing a calm feeling while walking around the village. The only thing that really lowers the score is that, due to translations and timing, some of the voice acting just doesn't flow naturally. The actors sometimes seem to cut off their own sentences, and it just doesn't feel like a natural transition. Still, that aside, I had to give the sound a high score.
Some people say that it follows the storyline of the anime. It does, in the Japanese version. The English version seems to take place in some weird AU where the Chuunin Exam happened, but Shikamaru didn't become a chuunin, and the sand and sound raid never happened, so Gaara is still a homicidal freak. They really could have come up with a better way not to reveal spoilers. I have an idea, wait until the anime catches up! After all, what better way to avoid spoilers than to replace the Japanese name of an attack that most people who play this game won't know the meaning of anyway, with power strike. I could've come upn with a better name in my sleep.
The gameplay is simply repetitive. You play as Naruto, who has a handful of combos and three easy to execute specials: shadow clone jutsu, power strike, and sexy jutsu, the latter of which being the most useless of the three. Each of them takes a substantial chunk off your chakra gauge in an attempt to, you guessed it, attack the enemy. Shadow clone jutsu creates multiple copies of yourself for about a second or two that will attack the enemy for you. You can also upgrade it to create more clones and execute a flashy combo that ends up useless in the later stages of the game, dealing less damage than a simple combo and having a lower success rate. Power strike allows you to attack one enemy for "massive damage" and other enemies around it for minuscule damage. Sexy jutsu stuns the already pathetic enemies, who, for the most part, run after you and execute an attack.
Speaking of enemies, enemy AI is atrocious. They pretty much have none, simply opting to either use a simple attack at you, run after you, or throw weapons at you. They are all very predictable. However, there are the ever resilient bosses, as well as certain enemies who do not want to die. For example, let's take Kabuto. He attacks in a pattern: Throw Kunai, go underground and stab with Kunai. Go underground and run away, and then heal until you attack him. He will then repeat his pattern. The main problem is, when he heals himself, if you were busy attacking one of the many targets he sets up for you in two of the three battles you face him in, he will pretty much blend in with the arena, making him impossible to find. His health recovers fast, which means, you better find him fast, or he will be back to full health in no time.
Anyway, now lets talk about the meat of the game, the missions. The game is set up into various stages, or missions, which you can either accept or decline. The game offers you multiple missions at once, but they're all so similar, it really doesn't matter. You can generally set them up into a few categories. Escort: Where you protect goods from a horde of nigh unending and invincible enemies in three to four battles, Madame Shijimi: Where you must protect two doors from an unending horde of enemies, Emporium Karin: Where you walk around, randomly beating up rogue ninja, and infiltrate: Where you go into an awkward, fight and run platformer.
Fighting is repetitive. You mash buttons, and that's about it. You also have partners, which you can deploy at any time, provided they have enough strength. Once you deploy them, you have a few second to use that characters special attacks, but once he runs out of chakra, it's back to Naruto for you, where you get to mash buttons. Occasionally, you will get the chance to activate "demon mode," which makes you invincible, gives you unlimited chakra, and powers up your attacks, for a limited time. You know what that means, start button mashing like your life depended on it.
The escort missions are simply annoying, and, unfortunately, plentiful. They involve fighting a multitude of enemies while protecting a fragile cart under a time limit. Sound hard? After you clear the game once, you get to start over with stronger enemies, and trust me, they are a lot stronger. During the third and last prisoner escort mission, you will be fighting Orochimaru's goons to protect this guy. Thing is, they take two fully charged upgraded Power strikes each to kill. They will be constantly attacking the prisoner, and you simply can't kill them fast enough to protect the guy. Of course, killing them is all you can do to protect it. No cool ninja stuff like setting traps or using a fake cart while your friends take a detour. Apparently the way real ninjas protect people is mashing buttons.
I'm sure after reading all this you're just dying to get this game. Well, don't rush off to the stores just yet. There's one more thing to add. The RPG elements. Throughout the game, you collect experience, or virtue, that you can use to raise your health by 10, which may be worth about two hits from weaker enemies, your chakra by five, which by the way, may be about one-ninth of a charges power strike, or you can buy skill chips. Skill chips allow you to customize Naruto by placing the chips onto his skill plate. Some increase health, some increase power, some increase defense, some do absolutely nothing. Instead of allowing you to simply choose to increase attack or defense at a level up screen, the game tries to be intuitive, and fails. You'll often have many skill chips sitting in your inventory because you still haven't upgraded from the kunai plate.
I highly do not suggest getting this game. It is simply not fun. it's anti-fun. You'll probably end up bored before you reach the last boss, who, by the way, is amazingly easy compared to the insane escort missions. If you really must buy this game, rent it first, but prepare to be disappointed.
Of course, this is just my opinion. Many people do like this game. This game is for some people, but I'll tell you one thing, it isn't for me, and probably not for you, especially if you're not a Naruto fan.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 01/02/07
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