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Review

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • PS3

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 retains the series' impressive visuals and its accessible combat, but gets bogged down by its focus on storytelling.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is a game that knows its audience. Picking up where its predecessor left off, it tells the ongoing tale of young ninja Naruto Uzumaki's struggles as the Nine-Tails' jinchuriki and his complex relationship with Sasuke Uchiha. It also covers the five kage summit and the outbreak of the fourth great ninja war.

If none of this means anything to you, Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is not the game for you. It spends tremendous amounts of time on storytelling, and there are so many characters, factions, rivalries, chakras, jutsus, and other aspects of Naruto history and lore at play that unless you have a working familiarity with all this stuff ahead of time, you're going to be completely lost. The series hasn't lost its knack for eye-popping boss battles and amazing ninja powers. But even diehard Naruto fans will find that this latest entry fumbles the pacing in its single-player Ultimate Adventure mode by spending far too much time hitting you with conversations and cutscenes and not nearly enough time letting you meaningfully participate in the story.

Of course, you can always skip the story sequences and get right to the next gameplay section, but the story is such a focus here that if you don't have an interest in watching this game unfold its tale, then there's little point in playing the game at all. Well over half of the time it takes to get through the single-player campaign is taken up by cutscenes and chitchat. You often watch several minutes of cutscenes, take control of a character to move him or her through an environment, maybe stopping to talk to other characters now and then, and then watch several more minutes of cutscenes. Sometimes, those cutscenes are action-packed and entertaining, but there are also lots of long expository sequences in which characters just stand around calmly talking to each other. Yes, there are intense battles from time to time, but there aren't nearly enough of these to support the bloated narrative.

When you do have to fight, you find that you can easily pull off incredible-looking techniques regardless of which character you happen to be controlling at that moment. There are dozens of playable characters in Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, but they all do attacks, build up chakra, and perform combos with the same button presses and combinations. This is a pick-up-and-play game: all accessibility, little depth. It's more about spectacle than skill, though the speed at which it moves means it does reward rapid reflexes, and it's exhilarating for a while to perform massively powerful, terrific-looking jutsu attacks with a few quick and easy button presses.

The opening battle against Nine-Tails is a stunner.

But there aren't tricky combos and high-level techniques to master; once you've got a handle on the basics, you can get better at implementing those techniques, but you aren't going to experience the gratification that comes with mastering higher-level skills, because there aren't any. The result is an experience that's immediately enjoyable, but doesn't stay rewarding for long. You may have a particular interest in playing as Deidara or Orochimaru or some other character, but because they all play so similarly, the unlocked characters you're frequently showered with as you progress through the Ultimate Adventure mode don't give you access to new strategies and new ways to play.

During specific fights, the free-flowing combat gets replaced by visually spectacular quick-time events that fully capture the kinetic energy of the anime's over-the-top battles. Whether it's a scene in which Naruto and Sasuke fight it out on the surface of a lake as a previous encounter comes flooding back to them or a sequence in which the massive, fearsome beast Nine-Tails threatens to destroy Hidden Leaf Village, these sections make for incredible viewing. These encounters and others present you with a choice of taking the legend approach or the hero approach. Your choice has a typically minor effect on how the battle plays out, and no effect on how the rest of the story plays out. It also determines whether you earn more hero experience or more legend experience, each of which gives you access to different types of items to use in battle. This does provide an incentive to return to earlier battles and choose the alternate approach just to see what impact it has, but that impact is usually disappointingly minor.

Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 also introduces mob battles in which you take on numerous easy, incapable enemies at once. They're mechanically dull, but moves that let you leap instantly from one enemy to another give these battles a visual energy, at least on the PlayStation 3. On the Xbox 360, these battles are interrupted by severe hang-ups that not only break up the flow of battle but can also result in the game failing to recognize your button inputs. The PS3 version doesn't suffer from this problem, but on both consoles, load times are frequent and long.

Close-ups and other dramatic camera work make battles fun to watch, but the underlying gameplay doesn't hold up for long.

Outside of the single-player campaign, Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 lets you mix it up with other players locally and online. The online play functions well and allows you to jump into ranked or unranked matches and to set up tournaments for up to eight players. As with story battles, the accessibility and the impressive visuals make fighting against other players enjoyable from the get-go, but the simplicity of the action prevents it from holding your interest for long. The fighting system doesn't allow for much of a nuanced, tactical approach, and so your online opponents tend to spam the same few powerful attacks over and over again. It becomes routine and predictable quickly, and the prospect of unlocking more titles and images for your ninja info card (a profile that is made visible to and traded with your opponents) isn't a compelling reason to soldier on. This game is only for those who care to see Naruto's story continue to play out, and though it has its moments, it doesn't deliver quite the level of excitement you'd hope for from a game bearing the Naruto Shippuden name.

The Good
Battles look fantastic
Excitingly staged quick-time events
Easy to pick up and play
The Bad
Too many long, dull stretches of storytelling
Combat lacks depth
Long, frequent load times
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews
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Discussion

147 comments
Rifat-Araf
Rifat-Araf

The game was good but it would have been much better if it was like naruto Rise of a ninja .

Marsh87
Marsh87

Does this game come with the japanease dub

BoriaD
BoriaD

Does anyone know when this damn game will drop in price? It seems like its been out for a little too long at full price. 

VisualPendulum
VisualPendulum

I finished Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 late last year, and boy am I disappointed after reading this. I beat the first two Storm games and will soon pick up generations, but I'm pretty bummed to see that they just won't stop recycling. On top of that, they still haven't given any depth to the fighting system, and it was painful to watch the degradation of the story mode. It's the problem I had with the Budokai Tenkaichi series. Aside from story modes gradually going downhill, everyone has the exact inputs and play too similarly. Luckily I'm a fan of the Naruto series and will buy this at some point in the future.

eesounds
eesounds

This game has been out for some time now, but I still have in my mind "maybe I should buy it" and then I think "well it will be on sale in a few weeks". With any fighting game, the single-player story mode comes secondary. I would love to hear what you all think, but I think that is how it should work; multi-player or online should be first and best in a fighting game.

Comparatively, Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is not a hardcore fighting game in many aspects. The combos are extremely easy to pull off, most characters play the same, and the game is not as tactical. 

Naruto's strengths come from the fan base, flashy moves, and general fun of the game. I often find myself watching Naruto fighting games over Street Fighter on twitch.tv (though Mahhhhhvel wins over all). All I have left to say is, Naruto is fun for different reasons than most typical fighting games, but it definitely keeps the trend of extremely long named, tacked on words to sequel fighting games. 

NitroNaruto
NitroNaruto

A Forum friend of mine completed the game & then proceeded to play the collect mission given by a frog, after he completed the mission, he was allowed to play the real ending of the game through a special chapter, he says it clears up the story pretty well, it's a shame a 16-17 year old guy was able to figure this out & a professional reviewer couldn't go all the way to complete the review properly, shame on you gamespot for mistreating a game

101sayian101
101sayian101

Made an account just so I post a comment on this game. I AGREE and Disagree with gamespot, the storymode was by far the worst experience ever, far too rushed, the pasting was horrible and the flashbacks and cut scenes were overused. CC2 is a very lazy company that enjoys ripping off the fans just so they can cash in naruto's success. as a true naruto fan, I find that disrespectful. a true naruto fan wants what is best for naruto. not some turd who manipulates the franchise just to make more profit. this should've been the final storm game. but this guy couldn't even get to the kabuto vs uchiha battle. smh 


however the fighting system is amazing. the only fighting game I enjoy the easy button mashing. so he was a bit harsh on this. and the excitement lasts for a very long time when you pull off a big jutsu online, so I don't know what the heck he's talking about,   however even with that positive. the lack of new characters for the multiplayer roster. is a HUGE disappointment. IF CC2 weren't lazy greedy people and waited to just make storm 3. then this would be the perfect edition. if you never had generations, then BUY this. it's a good new game. but for those that had generations, you will be sadden and depressed. because most of this was just copy and pasted from generations. only idiotic fanboys or gullible people would differ. anyways I think it's time for a new naruto developer. I'l rate this game 7.5


I think storm 1 and 2 is far better than 3. 

lukemckim
lukemckim

I frequently wind up loving the games this reviewer hates and am disappointed with many of the games she praises, so I'm excited to see that she gave this one a low score

NitroNaruto
NitroNaruto

Check out the IGN review, i am not going by the score but that review was done better than this one, even if gamespot would have given this a 7.5 i would have mind, the review has to be proper & by someone who understands what the game is meant to do, maxwell even knew well in his storm generations review , i was skeptic about it at first but now looking back at it i feel he had better understanding of naruto than Carolyn

axelx666
axelx666

i forget about naruto for a MONTH and all these new characters appear..WTF!

ristactionjakso
ristactionjakso

Does this game cover the whole Naruto story? and is the story mode like #1 or #2?

Arsyad00
Arsyad00

dude!! why no Great Story game emblem there??? Go read the manga and re-review this game!!

phoenix5352
phoenix5352

yeah no more reading the manga, just play it , and feel the whole story by yourself.

thechuck11
thechuck11

I think he's missing the point, Naruto is an anime that is so popular because of its story, the fighting is awesome too, but like he said, this game is for true Naruto fans, and true fans like the story just as much

chipwithdip
chipwithdip

Actually, why didn't take off for the crappy net-code? It sucks major ass. My bro fought online and a blue connection had delay.

QtrArt
QtrArt

not better than before :)

FrylockKiIIa
FrylockKiIIa

I think the review generally has fair points. I'm glad I had recently stopped a little before the Great War in the anime or else the long story scenes would have driven me crazy. But I don't think the combat lacks that much depth. Yeah, it's definitely no SF or MvC, but you also can't just go in and spam the attack  and substitution button (as I learned personally). Except for some ranged people like Temari, Tenten and Deidara, but even then if you're up against someone who knows what they're doing, you're screwed. Then you have support attacks, awakenings and other little stuff that can indeed change the tide of a battle if used effectively. I've been facing people online who seem to know what they're doing and don't just spam moves, which I guess is the key difference in my experience versus the reviewer's. So I feel there's a moderate amount of depth. Although in the end, like everyone said, it's all aimed at the Naruto fans. And so far I've been enjoying the game since it's come out.

shadowriku3
shadowriku3

I don't know if many of you have played the original Ultimate Ninja Storm, but perhaps you should all go and pick it up. You'll likely come to find that it is the exact same game, but in many ways requires more strategy and skill then it's successors.

Tangsta03
Tangsta03

Should've made this a JRPG, would've been awesome

ObservantShadow
ObservantShadow

She noticably left out that utilization of sidestep and substitution chakra dash cancels is key to some fights, especially Madara because his Susano'o based melee has such astounding range. Some fights where characters like Itachi and Sasuke require massive movement or be doomed by their awakening of Susano'o because they seem almost unbeatable. Either that or when you see they hit that point to awaken you need to press the attack and overwhelm. It has a fundamental system that is easy to use yes even slightly repetitive but can be utilized in an omnidirectional way, no character is unbeatable when the correct strategy is implemented which is a relief from some fighting games that have said "God Characters".  Another key thing for this game was making your opponent substitute out first (use all four) before you so you can unleash upwards of a 65 hit combo, and despite such a big number of a combo the damage is skewed and continuing on a combo requires special use of your chakra bar so players are saved from the long/infinite combos of death found in many fighting games i.e. Ult. Marvel vs Capcom 3.

However I do respect her opinion as a reviewer and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but something like this game would have been done more justice if it was a group oriented review with the aimed for demographic/fans and the non- fans reviewing it jointly because she does miss some key stuff.

On a side note who else was minorly dissapointed that the Ado-Kage, Shinkaku and Ginkaku, and the Seven  Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist are not playable yet/ever. (until next installment)  I personally have my fingers crossed for a DLC including all of them as playable characters.

OleMarthin
OleMarthin

The one thing i am thinking about is when games like this comes out and they are aimed at a specific audience, is it then a good idea to have a person who is not a part of that audience review it. it's kind of like having a person who never plays racing sims trying to evaluate if forza is a game that a driving "simulator" enthusiast would enjoy. this game is clearly aimed at fans of the Naruto manga/anime and i think that the person reviewing the game should be a part of the group to best be able to tell the rest if this is what they are looking for. i might be crazy but that is what i think. 

the reviewer seems to have valid points to knock the game for, and i'm not saying she is giving the game the wrong score or anything like that. i'm just wondering if it is helpful purchasing advice for the folk who might want to play this game.  

IcedAnime
IcedAnime

Metacritic got it right.  If your a fan of the show you'll love this game!! 


I_are_Cake
I_are_Cake

Look at that little green score in the right. 

Descabar
Descabar

Interesting, ever since this game was announce i became super excited with the direction and the material they decided to add to this game. Unfortunately, after watching this review i felt sad and disappointed. I love the series but the constant dialogue upsets me and it is even more upsetting that they decided to follow the show. Honestly, they need to understand that kids are not the only one watching and playing Naruto. besides the content is at times brutal and violent; so why contradict? 

Fact: get rid of the long chatter keep the story and the action and you will have a 9.0 naruto video game bottom line.

NitroNaruto
NitroNaruto

God of war ascension got a 8.0 despite having a lame story & gamespot had forgiven it for the crap MP which was clearly advertised & intended to be a selling aspect of the game

Naruto having the best boss battles compared to the good but somewhat shallow battles of God of war & having a far supirior MP & a better story than GOW still was given a 6, gamespot is being paid from everyone these days as it seems to hype games

My how times change & respect falls

flameon12346
flameon12346

@BoriaD Maybe in a few month when Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 start to come out.

Smilemax
Smilemax

@VisualPendulum *KOFFFF* DragonBall Series *KOFFFF* Just kidding! I just finish the story mode. The story dosen't fit anymore via the manga. I mean you expect some scene or battle and then.... nothing happen or just cut short. Ex: I you read the manga, when Naruto and Killer Bee Fight Edo Tensei Itachi and Nagato, in the manga or the anime, its an amazing battle, but in the game, they talk/fight/talk and its fninish... Thats lame... and the way this game finish you are like "What?!?" Its a great game over all, but i'm pretty sure you are can still wait the price drop.

thekazumalord
thekazumalord

@VisualPendulum I wouldn't pick up Generations if i were you, it's not that great really.. just ok,. too short with really littel replay value.. go for Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 instead. it's actually a really great game despite what thwe reviewer said.. it's like Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, only better.

TheHasbroGAMER
TheHasbroGAMER

@eesounds Are you asking for a fighter that values story over online? Basically anything from Arc System Works

Oil_Rope_Bombs
Oil_Rope_Bombs

@NitroNaruto 20 days old comment, I know, but damn you are butthurt. It's just a review, you silly Naruto fanboy. Stop crying so much.

shermenz1
shermenz1

 That's mean and disrespectful.
and you should be ashamed of yourself. 

Silviiwilvii
Silviiwilvii

Why would they?  It wasn't anythig new.  Just a direct copy/paste.

WH0MP11
WH0MP11

@thechuck11I agree that true fans will appreciate a story heavy game as well but the reviewer has pointed out correctly that when people pick up a game they expect "gameplay". I mean if they wanted story they could easily go for the anime episodes right!

CageFury
CageFury

An action JRPG along the lines of Zelda or Kingdom hearts with a combat system like this would be amazing.

jowyest19
jowyest19

@ObservantShadow  One word for a god character: "Minato" You will find out what I mean once you play against someone as him or against him.

shadowriku3
shadowriku3

@ObservantShadow The game lacks depth and variety. Period. If the fans keep defending and purchasing these releases they will keep shoveling crap. ONE special/ultimate move. 5 total combo animations. The games got worse from the PS2 days

interrasteral7
interrasteral7

@ObservantShadow 

I am even more disappointed that CyberConnect2 has not added the Sound Four (Jirobo, Kidomaru, Tayuya, and Sakon/ Ukon) as playable characters in any of the Ultimate Ninja Storm entry to this day.

ggregd
ggregd

@IcedAnime I gathered that from the review here.  You'll be right at home if you like the show and you don't mind spending extended periods of time watching and not playing.

louie_cloud
louie_cloud

@NitroNaruto 

LOL comparing a hack and slash game to a fighting game

Oh wait i was playing ninja storm 3 and it was like watching a goddamn 30min cutscene with naruto;s mom.i was fighting a nine tails here and you just slapped me a 30 min cutscene? WTF fighting  game is this? If i want to watch an anime,i watch the freaking anime.

Fillers in a fighting game. LOL.

xaxbxab
xaxbxab

@NitroNaruto Just read the ign review of god of war ascension and i have to say, to compare ascension to naruto storm 3, you need to be either insane or a delusional  fanboy.

xaxbxab
xaxbxab

@NitroNaruto . The MP of GoW may be inferior to storm, the story may also be inferior (after all, storm is using the story of the greatest anime ever :)  ) even the boss battles may be inferior like you said but the gap between every, just every other thing prevents anyone from even comparing these two titles. its not any of the games' faults. GoW got its fame from being a game. The mere effort put into ascension by santa monica will make whatever sacrifices the guys at cyberconnect2 made look like nothing. My point, naruto ultimate ninja storm just cant be as good as god of war. its a law of the universe :)

ggregd
ggregd

@NitroNaruto Gee, I wonder why you're defending the game....

God of War doesn't make you sit through extended cutscenes.  It's supposed to be a game, not a TV show.

battalionwars13
battalionwars13

@NitroNaruto 

I haven't played God of War Ascension, but her negative points on this game are right on point. First, I would like to state that I'm a big of the anime and all of the previous games (the Ubisoft ones and the Namco ones). But, this game had obvious flaws.

There is a ridiculous amount of talking. I would literally fight someone or walk down a stretch of road and end up in (easily) 5-20 minutes worth of talking. It was so bad in the beginning that I was literally not holding the controller for more than half of the time I was playing. Not to mention the cut scene/dialogue with Naruto's mom. That lasted almost an hour, or at-least it felt like it did. I was so done with long cut-scenes and dialogue that I skipped all of the cut-scenes in chapter 9.

The combat definitely lacks depth, but there is plenty of ways to chain combos and different abilities. 

The load times were the worst. You would come out of a cut-scene or walk into another section of the map and get hit with a 10-15 second load time. Are you kidding me? Load in the background! During the cut-scene! 

All of her points were valid and the game got the score (I feel) it deserved. 

chipwithdip
chipwithdip

@battalionwars13 @NitroNaruto No, you're right. That one with Naruto's mom? That was around 30-40 minutes long BY ITSELF Telling him to eat his veggies while she dies. Come on...

robbiejones
robbiejones

@battalionwars13 @NitroNaruto yeh no matter what game or review a game well get, no1 well ever be satisfied with the score, honestly i feel gamespot shoudln do scores but state the positives and negatives and a conclusion of how they feel after they played the game and if its worth the full retail price etc.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 More Info

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  • First Released
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 lets players fight as their favorite characters from the Naruto series and features the return of massive scale boss battles, including a fearsome confrontation with the gargantuan Nine-Tails.
    8.3
    Average User RatingOut of 295 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
    Developed by:
    CyberConnect2
    Published by:
    Namco Bandai Games, Bandai Namco Games
    Genres:
    Action, Fighting, 3D
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Violence