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4.3 out of 5 stars
Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 - Xbox 360
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2011
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Verified Purchase
While being a fan of the show I have very much stayed away from the games based on it. Most have tended to be either average or just downright bad in quality. Ninja Storm for the PS3 was the one exception I finally made. After buying a PS3 just to play Valkyria Chronicles, I decided to look up some other good PS3 only titles and Ninja Storm was one of them. It didn't disappoint, however, the whole concept of missions and the story was kinda like you were popping in clipshows to play while jumping around Konoha. You were very much limited to just the city. That aside, the fighting was much better than any other Naruto game I had seen or tested. Fights moved fluid and quick without much downtime. There also wasn't an insane learning curve.

Ninja Storm 2 continues this tradition of great fighting. Its not hard to become good with a character but its not like tradition fighting games where you can just spam the same moves over and over. Unless you have the difficulty set real low when fighting the AI.

The story is also fantastic since it is based on some of the best Shippuden story arcs since it began. However, I will warn you that if you are a big fan of the show, you'll be disappointed. A lot of scenes have been cut, some of them real good ones too. Overall I'd say Ninja Storm 2 is a summary of the events from Shippuden episode 1 to the end of the Pain arc. Out of all of that I'd say this game keeps about 10-20% of the scenes in tact. Don't get me wrong, the game is still a good romp through some of the best episodes of the series, but it could have been better. Mostly the lost star on the rating is for this reason. They also edited some scenes and changed some of how they really happened. Hinata's words she says in the Pain battle is a big example of how they cut and edited things.

Story aside, this time you can now go outside of Konoha. Which is great but...Konoha and the world now feels like you are playing in a manga book. You spend all your time on foot going from place to place and it all seems very small compared to how its portrayed in the series. The first Ninja Storm game did Konoha much better. Also missing is some of the funner side missions like jumping through the trees or running up them. Really the game could have had a quick travel system which involved this but sadly this is left out.

Other side missions can vary from either being quite fun to downright stupid. To give an example without spoiling it too much. If you have played Ninja Storm 1, you know the pain some of those hide n seek missions were with Konohamaru. In 2, there is a hide n seek mission but, literally you turn a corner and you can see him just standing with his back to you pretending to be a regular background person...except, theres no one else around him. Really it was the dumbest moment of the entire game. Thankfully thats all I found. As I said, most of the side missions are quite fun and if you don't get them all during the main storyline, don't worry. The game goes into a mission mode after you finish the storyline so you can run around the world anywhere you want and do missions.

This mission mode is a rather nice deal for achievement hunters. Mess up on a fight? No sweat, theres a guy who you can talk to that will allow you to replay them all. You can also form your own perfect 4 man team. This is a great feature vs just going to a menu and selecting missions from that, then going to a location in Konoha to do them. However, the menu will still serve a very important tool during the game so get used to what it provides early on.

Aside from that graphically the game isn't much beyond it's predecessor. Losing the city and the smaller feel to the world do bring down the appeal a little bit, but the world backgrounds are all rather nicely done. Most of which look like backgrounds made for the show itself. I will note that if you are expecting the Xbox version to have better FSAA support than the PS3, don't bother unless you run in lower resolutions. Running at 1650x1080 shows the same old jaggies as the first. This seems to disappear when you put it on a regular TV or lower res but its a shame cause the engine itself is not all that advanced. Xbox does have a better GPU than the PS3 so I was expecting it to be a little better like it usually is.

Rest of the game is well done. Voices and music are cut right from the series which is great...course that would be the Japanese ones. Anyone who watches the show or plays the game in the English dub...you need to be slapped. Just watching the opening movie before you can set the game to Japanese is unbearable enough. Just terrible compared to the Japanese voices. I'm not one to usually say that since there are some shows I do enjoy the English voices in...but Naruto isn't one of them.

In the end, this game is good, its fun, but it could be a lot better and bigger. Merging the strengths from the first game with the strengths from this would really make a phenomenal game. But I doubt we'll really see a Naruto game take off big time till they invest in making a Naruto MMO. If that ever happens, lets hope they take a lot from the Ninja Storm games. Mix that in with the complete Naruto world...it would be unstoppable.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2011
Platform for Display: Xbox 360
***I'm going to say this now, there are spoilers. Read at your own risk.***

I will go ahead and say this: this is the best Naruto game that has been released on the Xbox 360. There is a lot to love about this game. I have played it for 18 hours, and I just now beat Itachi with Sasuke. For anyone who is curious, the game goes until the Sage Naruto/Pain fight(Episode 175). For any Naruto fan, it is essential that you try this game.

First, the visuals are incredible. I thought that the art design really captivated the look and feel of the show. Rather than just playing a game, it's like you're really in the show. That sounds cheesy, but it's true. There are beautiful colors for ultimate jutsu and attacks. The developers really outdid themselves this time. Unlike other Naruto games, this one has an amazing art style that really does do a magnificent job of pulling you in to it's universe.

Next, the fighting system is very deep. On your D-Pad, you assign ninja tools to help you in combat. Things like Paper Bombs, Electric Kunai, and Food Pills (temporary attack increase). My big complaint is that you can't use anything to boost your health during a fight; but that can easily be overlooked. The combos you can pull off are amazing, to say the least. If you mash "B" for 10 seconds, you'll get something pretty cool looking. However, if, in the middle of mashing "B", you press "Y" and then "B", you can charge your chakra to do a ninjutsu attack to change the outcome and/or combination on your attacks. The combos look pretty cool, yes; but after awhile, it feels like you're doing the same stuff over and over again. You can charge your chakra (Press "Y") and manipulate it in several days. For example, you can charge it and press "X" and you will throw a larger(or more, depending on who you use) shuriken than usual.

A great thing I like about the camera was how it changes views. It really is hard to explain. During the fight, everything can get really crazy, and the camera can change from behind you to a distant view. Watch some videos on YouTube to understand what I mean. Overall, the fighting system is truly amazing. It has its flaws, but it's the best in the series, and, in my opinion, one of the best fighting systems ever in a fighting game.

Next is the story. You play "Ultimate Adventure mode." I'll get this out of the way first: you must play through the game to unlock every character. Some may complain, but I like it. It's like I worked to get my favorite character. This is where the biggest flaw comes in to play. The exploring is so mind-numbingly boring. There is a terrible camera view while you explore villages, forests, and bridges. The thing is, there is way more walking than there is fighting. They should have kept the exploring technique from previous Naruto games(i.e.: "Rise of a Ninja" and "Broken Bond"). Like in the others, you get to free roam. You have the ability to run up buildings, jump from rooftops, do massive jumps, races, and other mini games. In UNS 2, all you have are fetch quests. Put in short, you run somewhere, talk to them, and report back to the other person. Done.

The exploring really is limited. You run in a limited space with numerous loading times in between(which, in my opinion, really slows the flow and pace of the game) areas. The thing is, "areas" are only about 5 seconds of walking through. So why are there loading times? It doesn't make sense. Although I can give it some credit. There is a semi-satisfying loot system. You explore crates, plants, trees, etc. You use the items found to create items at stores so you can buy it. Though it is pointless to have to find the materials and then have to buy it.

A cool feature is that you get to switch to different controlling characters. So when Sasuke pursues Itachi, you get an entire chapter to control Sasuke and go after Itachi. It was nice. Same goes for Jiraiya finding Pain. Also, the boss fights are incredible. They go into several different phases, so be prepared with tools and attack/defense boosters. I was unprepared, and had to fight at the last phase of a boss with half a bar of health. So make sure you have what you need. There are button pressing sequences during it as well. It is amazing and keeps you engaged. It varies from pressing a single button, mashing a button, and even to having to press four random buttons in a matter of seconds. It can really get your adrenaline pumping.

There are very emotional moments in the game, too. For those of you who always wanted a deep story in a Naruto game, this is it. It isn't dumbed down a notch just to save money. They put more effort into this game. What makes it better is that you can switch to the original Japanese voice cast. So now you don't have to hear the annoying voice of the English Naruto try and sound serious. Most of the lines are correct. They can't have all the talking though. Otherwise you're gonna have 20 minute cut scenes. My favorite emotional part was where Jiraiya dies. When he fights Pain, towards the end, you have to fight all six Pain's with a useless arm. You can't block or use any jutsu. You can kick with a blurry screen. It almost made me cry a little. You really get a look into what the character went through. Kudos to the team for that.

The story goes up to episode 175, the fight between Sage Naruto and Pain. It's pretty lengthy for a Naruto game. The other games generally only go through about 70 episodes. This is a giant step up. I've been playing for 18 hours, and I'm only on the Itachi fight. There is so much content here. And for anybody looking for sparring, there is the basics: 1P v COM, 1P v 2P, COM v COM, etc. This is the first to have online battle as well. Haven't played online, but whatever. I've heard it lags slightly, but that's not very bad.

Overall, this is an amazing game. It suffers from big, but few, flaws; but it manages to pull itself up and pull it together. I can honestly recommend this game to anyone. The story is told in the best way of any in the series so far; so the emotion is great. There is a simple, but amazing combat system here to be enjoyed. Anyone can enjoy this great game. Even though the "anime game" genre is usually shunned, you shouldn't miss out on this. A great experience for anyone to have.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2010
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Verified Purchase
This game is a great indicator to how well naruto is actually coming along in video games. With each one i play they get more and more right making the games better and better. That isn't to say there isn't and flaws in the game, cause their are. Some of the characters are op or "overpowered" and dont really make the matches very fun. With an online game where people try to have fun and be competitive, balance is something that needs to be a top priority. This game does alright with balance, but as i said before there are a few characters that are just way to strong, and as a consequence are used extremely often in online matches to get an easy win.

The story is something that blew me away the most. How they capture it and make it interactive enough to where it doesnt feel like you are just watching the show, but keeping the depth of the story great enough to where you actually feel like you are making a difference and are part of the world is just amazing. I wont spoil the fight but there is one in particular where you change mid fight to a memory like state and the effects they use to capture it are just crazy. None of the story chapters take to long, and the boring stuff is kept to a minimal amount.

This game is not perfect, but it is leaps and bounds better than the last few, and if they take this and improve upon it in the next then we are in for one amazing series of games.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2011
Platform for Display: Xbox 360
Being big fan of Naruto anime, this game was a must try for me. After finishing the game once finishing all of the main as well as most of side missions (~27 h) and playing some free and online matches, here is what I thought.

**************PROS.*****************

LONG AND FULFILLING SINGLE PLAYER STORY EXPERIENCE: Not being a big fan of fighter games, I was a bit concerned whether this game would have a good single player campaign. Now that I have finished the game I have to say I am quite satisfied and at points even impressed how nicely they have created single player story campaign experience. You will be traveling through a variety of areas (different villages, fields, hideouts, mountains from Naruto world) doing variety of missions and participating in some very nostalgic battles. Very impressed.

AWESOME ANIMATION OF NARUTO ANIME IN HD GRAPHICS: The creators have done wonderful job reincarnating the Naruto anime in this game by animating the anime characters to utmost details. The game looks spectacular in 720p graphics. There are many fight scenes where you will forget that you are actually playing the game, as the graphics will look so good (play Sasuke vs Itachi fight). I am so happy I am not disappointed in this area as this is the main reason I bought the game.

HUGE VARIETY OF CHARACTERS: Pretty much every single significant character you know from Naruto Shippunden anime is playable (starting from beginning of the anime to the Killer Bee-Sasuke fight). If you have seen the anime that is plethora of characters. Furthermore multiple versions of Naruto and Sasuke are also available so you can use ultimate jutsu of your choice (i.e for Sasuke long lightning blade or Amaterasu). In story mode depending on the mission different characters will accompany you and they are usable in different fights. Furthermore at the end of the game you can choose your own team so you can pretty much use every single Konoha character in story mode. Again very impressive.

GREAT MECHANICS FOR ONE ON ONE AND TEAM BATTLES: What good is a fighting game without good fighting mechanics? In this game you can have one on one battle or have 1 or 2 side characters supporting you offensively and/or defensively. The fighting mechanics are not as great as top notch fighting games, but they are still great and characters for most part are balanced. Combat controls are for most part simplistic enough, but yet have unique depth to them for advanced players. For example striking punch button will pull off variety of combos, but if you just button mash punch the enemy will easily escape using substitution and punish you. Thus, timing of your attack as well as awareness of enemy moves is very important to win a battle. You won't be disappointed in this department.

VARIETY IN GAMEPLAY EXPERIENCE: Battles are not the only thing you will do in this game. In single player campaign you will travel through vast variety of land as described above. While traveling there will be plenty of side missions to finish and unlockables to find. In addition, there are plenty of mini-games such as catching birds and developing relationship with your comrades. This prevents the game from being redundant and if you like collecting stuff then this adds great length to gameplay.

LARGE OPEN WORLD: As you progress more and more through the story, you will open up more and more areas that you can revisit for various reasons. This was not a necessary addition, but I am happy it is there. If you want to unlock most of the things you will be revisiting many areas. I am happy there are stepping into this direction.

FORGIVING QUICK-TIME EVENTS: A lot of games use quick time events these days (i.e. pressing correct button at the right time during a cut-scene to beat up your enemy or dodge danger). While I don't mind them in some games they get to be quite annoying as making one mistake will get you killed. Fortunately, that is not the case here. This game has some of the coolest cutscenes during the quick time events and if you get mesmerized by it and don't press the right button, no worries, you will get one more chance with some health deduction. If you are attentive and you press the right buttons each time then the game will reward you with stars which will help you unlock "secret factor". So happy about it.

RANKED BATTLE SYSTEM: Not much to describe here. The battles are ranked. The type of jutsus and combos you pull off, the time you take and the strategy you use are all taken into account. So this truly promotes you to pull up the best combos instead of button mashing your enemy to the death. This truly makes you an active participant rather than a passive person who is just trying to get through the game.

OPTION TO RELIVE PAST EVENTS: Yup, you don't have to replay the whole game (or level for that matter) to relive past battle or cutscene. Once you collect the scrolls for the scene, the game allows you to simply replay it. If you didn't get enough star rating or good ranks this is the chance to make up for it.

PLATHORA OF UNLOCKABLES: Other than in game battles, you can unlock story, secret factors, jutsus etc. There is just so much of it. So if you are a completionist, this game will provide you ample things to do.

HOURS AND HOURS OF VS BATTLES: When you are done with the game, you can of course spend hours and hours fighting with your friends on line or off line. These fights also provides you with "experience" which will help you unlock more stuff.

**************CONS.*****************

ELIMINATION OF SOME IMPORTANT EVENTS AND FAST FORWADING STORY: So this game covers large portion of Naruto Shippunden anime and so have variety of characters, but to cover the large portion of the story in relatively short amount of time, it removes some very important aspects of the story. With slight changes, they could have created a much better story experience. For example instead of focusing so much on doppelganger battles (real character vs fake character), they could have included some important fights such as that between pupateers or Orochimaru snake form vs Sasuke. So on the whole the directing is great, but if you have watched the anime like me, parts of the game will leave you somewhat dissatisfied.

***************CONCLUSION************

Contrary to the con. I mentioned, if you are Naruto fan, this game has hours and hours of entertainment to offer you. Whether you like the whole game or not, you will like battles especially those that are the highlights of the anime (Sasuke vs Itachi type). A must buy (9.4/10).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2012
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Verified Purchase
I chose this rating because it has extremely outstanding graphics for the characters whaen they awaken.There was something they could've done to make it better like the awakenings as characters on te free characters list and Kisame's awakening should've been a human - like shark floating over a small tornado of water and that tornado would follow him around wherever he want , just like in Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations.But all in all great,great,great,GREAT,GREAT GAME!!!!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2012
Platform for Display: Xbox 360
*The following review was written by my son and die-hard Naruto fan*

Naruto is not only my favorite anime, but one of the best in the world. I would say best, but there are other great ones that I cannot rate as better than another. I follow the manga every chapter each week. I watch the english dub whenever it's released, and I love it. I want the series to conclude, but at the same time, don't want my love to end. It is inevitable, but every piece of art needs to be finished. This paragraph is for my credibility as a fan of video games and Naruto, so I won't sound like an imbecile who knows nothing about the series when I discuss the game. Now, onto the review.

UNS2 starts at the beginning of Shippuden and ends at *Spoiler* Naruto saving the Hidden Leaf. It also goes into Sasuke fighting 8-tails, but it is not needed to finish the story. It has plenty of battles as well as beautiful visuals outside and during the battles. It is a good way to describe the events of Shippuden in a fast pace, but takes time on a few areas of the story for obvious reasons. Outside battles, you run across the world of Naruto, visiting all sorts of place from the Northern Hideout to Mount Myoboku. It can be boring, and frustrating when doing side quests, but you can't help admire the work artists put into each destination. There is a lot to do in the Ultimate Adventure (Name of story mode), and as a whole, will leave lasting appeal and replay value.

There are four things you can do in the main menu. You can do Ultimate Adventure, Free Battle, Online Battle, and Options. In Free Battle, you can fight either against friends via split screen or CPU. There are 45 characters in total. Difficulties and handicaps are available, however, the hardest difficulty, Super Hard, seems too easy. I'm not sure if I'm too good or if it's too easy. Honestly, if the CPU were more challenging, I'd never step in online battles.

Online Battle is where you, obviously, fight online against players all over the world. At first, I hated it. Not because of the connection or anything. No. It's because of the players. Out of 45 characters, there are exactly 9 cheap characters, each made to piss you off. I soon got used to it, finding other characters and mastering timing and skill to combat the cheaters. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. However, whenever I do beat someone, I get happy, call them out to myself and have a laugh. It can be very fun outsmarting people who are unfair. I don't blame the developers for making cheap characters, but I do blame the players for using those tricks just to rank up. In general, play, learn their tactics, practice to evade and beat their tactics, then win. Connection is sometimes bad, sometimes great. It depends on the opponent.

Options is where you can switch from Japanese to English voice actors, manage sound, audio, etc. The cutscenes do follow Japanese lip sync, but I do English because I do like the english voice actors, despite half of them doing a mediocre job in the game. They do a great job in the anime.

A lot of people prefer Generations to this game, and hate it because of the constant running or cheap characters. In all honesty, I love this game. It gave me what I wanted, a fighting game I can be good at. I've played all kinds of fighting games and Naruto really did a swell job in peaking my interest. I will not buy Generations though. 60 dollars just for characters? Not worth it. I might get another Naruto game if it does the ninja war and doesn't charge 60 bucks. All in all, this game is for fans of the series, or people who like the series, but don't know shippuden too well. My friend likes Naruto, and doesn't follow it like I do, so when he bought this game, he loved it and now wants to read the manga and catch up with the series. It's worth 35 dollars, which is what I got for it, and it hasn't dissapointed me yet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2012
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Verified Purchase
My little 9 yo brother likes to much of this game, I recomend for everyone who likes Naruto.
It a great grafic and the cartoon player's kool and to powerfull.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2011
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Verified Purchase
I don't even watch the cartoon. I never cared to. But after visiting a friend and catching him playing the game, as an artist I fell in love with the visual aesthetic. i borrowed it and found it was more than just eye candy. The whole game is solidly constructed, with some minor flaws I will get to later. In my ignorance, I was unaware I was actually playing the entire cartoon series and as the cover to the game says, living out the Naruto adventure.

This fighting game is set up as an adventure game and the combination works surprisingly well. You get to roam a few villages and meet and interact with various people/obstacles. The side missions and detailed character relationships bring the whole place to life. There are lots of cutscenes, a lot of which can be optional. But if you don't mind filler, or are a completionist, this should keep you busy for a good while. To keep things interesting, Ninja Storms adventure fighter allows you to participate in the battle cutscenes, which are only in story fights.

There are certain arcade style battles that were not so enjoyable on a functional level such as the one fight where you are Gaara chasing Deidara. The flight simulated fight here was difficult to follow and at times had me feeling lost on targeting.
Another small yet noticeable flaw in the mechanic was in another off beat fight where you are the nine-tailed fox and have to face an oncoming swarm of snakes sent by Orichimaru. This fight was a grueling button masher, which unfortunately, shows up in other main fights as well. Despite all this, throughout every fight you will encounter, the blend between cinematic scenes and hands on action is impressive and addicting.

Story wise I personally don't like Naruto too much. But Sasuske's story line was fantastic! It was such an amazing tragedy. The decisions he makes and his feud with his brother was by far the best part of the story in Naruto. I admit, I would have loved to see more of Shino though.

Now lets get to the structure of the battle mechanics and the variety that makes this such a well made fighting game:

In short, the mechanics were meant to mimic a complicated form of rock paper scissors. Given that there are only about 9 or 10 different things each character can do, including 4 combos in the main attack button for your specific character of choice, there are few things that you can do. But applied right, it is possible to get creative with each characters specific battle. But there are flaws in the battle mechanic.
One of the big things is the lack of time delay between certain actions. This can be subject to abuse with certain characters, specifically characters like Minato who are inherently fast already. Having a fast character being used in a game with very little time delay between actions means that these characters can abuse the smart mechanic of the rock paper scissors rule and take advantage of their speed to dive head first into rampant unforgiving button mashing for victory. This of course is achievable when a character goes into awakening mode.

Awakening mode allows each character to beef up and fight back with exaggerated force.

The other loop hole is again related to the lack of time delay leading to more button mashing. This is found in the guard system.

With the right timing, players can guard after being struck to "sub" out of an attack completely. Subbing is just another word for dodging. Thankfully this form of dodging requires one spends a certain amount of "chakra" which is required for special attacks. But even so, the expense of chakra is not enough to stop a player from constantly dodging everything. And the lack of time delay allows players to counter a counter attack, sometimes over and over. This, to me, and to any player who enjoys a good battle mechanic can be a little disappointing. In online multiplayer, the best players end up resorting to this button mash style of dodge fighting, which turns a good battle design into a who can mash the best and win type of fight.

Every character has their certain style and in their own right are designed pretty good. There is a huge variety of characters to choose from and while certain characters should be stronger than others, based on the virtue of however the story revolves around these characters, it shouldn't stop a player from turning a seemingly weaker character into a great choice for a fight. But with a battle system that can be underhanded by button mashing through countering counter attacks, those who are inherently faster, end up being at the top of the ranks. But again, anyone who spends time with a certain character can turn a seemingly bad choice into a good one. I would love to say the mechanic is all for technique, but unfortunately it's flawed.

Despite this, this is one of the most enjoyable fighting games I have played in a long time. And I wouldn't let the flawed mechanic that unfavorably rewards speed turn me away from it. Even if you don't like anime cartoons or anything, I would definitely recommend this game. There is a lot to do in it. And you can, with practice, understand the patterns of the characters and enjoy them for how they were designed. So pick up this game. It is worth the price.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2010
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Verified Purchase
As a big fan of naruto this game was very enjoyable. This game follows the shippuden story arc from the beginning to the end of the naruto vs. pain fight. There is also a good replay value and tons of things to unlock. Online is fun and not really laggy, but prepare for some cheaters using turbo controllers.
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on January 3, 2011
Platform for Display: Xbox 360
Let me preface this by saying I'm not the worlds biggest Naruto fan, the show is okay, has its good moments and its bad like everything else, So I'm trying to maintain that position while writing this review.

Like any other married man, I played the single player mode primarily because apparently my wife is too cool for video games. In my opinion, the open world element was the only thing that really held this game back. Running from location to location, doing little side quests, and collecting the materials for new weapons you won't really use really just weigh down the game. That combined with the fact that in the open world you don't move especially quickly, and cannot jump around on the buildings or through the trees, you just run around final fantasy sort of way, you also have the ability to jump, which really does nothing but add a button you can push if you are tired of running. I almost had wished they had taken the "free world" element out of the game all together, and instead it teleported you to your location via a map selection but it wasn't bad enough to not make me play.

the cut scenes in single player mode are frequent and used to fill in the player in a very cut down and to the point version of the story line which spans 175ish episodes, so if you are a hard core Naruto fan, don't be surprised when fights may look a bit different, character meet each other in a more "oh by the way" fashion, or you're favorite dialogue isn't there. They do however do a pretty good job of trying to keep a player who may not be up to date with every detail, informed on people's motives and basics of the storyline. The movies and QuickTime events used are visually a treat, lots of fun to watch, and even though the open world aspect is a tad unnecessary, the 2d backdrops used while traveling through forests are very well done, kudos to the artists who worked on them.

But with any Naruto game, the crux of the game comes down to the combat, and this is where Ninja storm 2 excels. Aside from being cinematically gorgeous to look at (I even found myself going back and playing the boss battles over again for the sake of watching some really well done killing blows. The combat isn't over complicated and each character has a different and unique feel, as well as a weaknesses and strengths that allow them to excel with certain attacks and make them more difficult for others. I found myself playing Hinata of example, all of her attacks close by combo very well and hit very quickly, but that does make it harder for her to deal with ranged characters or ones that use a lot of counters. There are for each character only a handful of moves that you will be using, various punch kick combos that more or less go in a fashion they feel like, and 3-4 chakra moves, that's all. Meaning that you won't have to look at a combo menu over and over, so you will be able to pick any character and immediately know how to play them. Online battle has a tendency to lag a bit so it's not the best for competitive play, but playing with friends this game is great for due to the smaller learning curve.

Last thing I want to address is the general difficulty of the game itself. The Single player mode, as with any game, I started on normal and found that button mashing pretty much got me a perfect every encounter. Within an hour I had bumped it up to max difficulty and for the duration of the game still had very little trouble with any fight, though it did make me have to read the controls closer and start using moves rather than rolling my fingers over Y and B in hopes of some grand combos being born. I really wish the single player campaign had been more challenging, because it only took me about 10 hours and 2 days to beat. However once you beat the game and go to Vs. mode, then play a computer on the hardest setting it will run you over, the difficulty is so much higher than it was in 1 player mode that its staggering, so unlike me, don't go in with an inflated Ego, they know what they are doing in Vs. mode.

Overall It was a very fun game, I had my interest held thoroughly during almost all the game play, and intend to go back to play vs. on a semi regular basis. Very much deserving of 4 stars.
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