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Review

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations Review

  • Game release: March 13, 2012
  • Reviewed: March 19, 2012
  • X360

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations improves on the series' fun and flashy fighting mechanics, but drops a few features along the way.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is a good gateway into the world of fighting games. As with previous games in the Storm series, Generations' core combat mechanics are accessible enough for a large audience to enjoy while still rewarding practice and proficiency. This series has a beautiful visual style and an aggressive combat rhythm uniquely its own. But while the core mechanics remain intact, Generations drops some features found in its predecessors and offers shallow alternatives.

Watching a match of Generations is a lot like watching Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy--it appears complicated but is quite simple. For Generations, matches are fought between two opponents until one side runs out of health. The face buttons control attacking, dashing, throwing shurikens, and manipulating chakra. Chakra is the currency of special attacks and can be used in conjunction with any of the other three functions for enhanced results. For instance, using chakra and dash together lets you move farther more quickly, while chakra and attack together produce devastating special moves.

These special moves are the main point of distinction between this game's 72 playable characters. Generations, like previous Naruto fighting games, focuses its efforts on providing interesting outputs rather than inputs. There's no need to master complex combo timing or to study the particulars of a light punch versus a medium kick. The vast majority of fighters use the same style and tactics. Proficiency steams from mastering the fighting system, rather than individual characters. Whether you're a novice or a veteran, the fights are still fast-paced bouts filled with fireballs, tidal waves, and more.

The backbone of Generations' combat system is the substitution technique, which lets a character teleport behind his or her attacker. This mechanic drives the flow of combat, which, at its most basic, follows a rhythm of strike, teleport, strike, teleport, and so on until one side cannot teleport further. The challenge is manipulating that flow so your opponent exhausts his or her substitutions before you do. This gives the game an overwhelming focus on aggressive, rush-down tactics and doesn't leave much room for different fighting styles.

In addition to being the game's backbone, the substitution technique has received significant changes. Previously, it depleted the chakra gauge when used, which led to some unintended exploits from skilled players. Now, this technique has its own dedicated gauge that is divided into four sections. Each section affords one substitution and refills automatically. The window for performing a substitution is larger in this game as well. These tweaks make each substitution extremely valuable and lower the skill barrier by de-emphasizing precise timing and instead focusing on resource management. They maintain the core strategy of substitutions while making the technique more accessible.

Items and assist characters add complexity to your arsenal.

Generations does a marvelous job of re-creating the look and feel of its televised counterpart. The visual style is smooth and crisp, with a high-contrast art style that reflects the colorful look of the show. Each character's most powerful attack includes swooping camera angles that highlight the devastation. Sadly, the road to these moments is needlessly difficult since the game lacks a comprehensive tutorial. Diving into the training mode options menu reveals a command list with the game's most basic functions, but some of the finer points--such as how assist characters can extend combos--are left unspoken.

The narrative mode in Generations has dramatically changed from previous games. What used to be a large, interactive world to explore has been reduced to a glorified arcade mode. The former was often bogged down with numerous uninspired fetch quests, but even so it was an interesting way to explore the world of Naruto. Its replacement weaves a tale through narration and stills that bookend each fight. This structure is a safe bet, but lacks the epic cinematic events, rail-shooting sequences, and other unique features of the former mode.

The online offering in Generations is very robust. Across numerous matches of varying connection strengths, this game's performance is consistently excellent. There is hardly any noticeable lag or other connection issues. When playing with a group, spectating is available for the non-active players. Replay support is also included, letting you view and download replays of other matches, but there isn't any way to filter replays, which is unfortunate.

Fighting earns you money to spend on new items and cosmetics for your online profile.

Thanks to the tweaks to the substitution technique, the combat mechanics in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations feel better than ever. But as a whole, this game is a minor refinement over the previous installments. Generations is still a solid fighter, but definitely leaves you wanting more variety in its modes.

The Good
Fluid animation supports vibrant art style
Solid online with spectator/replay support
Flashy and accessible combat system.
The Bad
Streamlined story mode
Lacks dedicated tutorial
Younger characters feel redundant to older counterparts.
7
Good
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Discussion

30 comments
Defy_The_Fallen
Defy_The_Fallen

I'm on episode 90 of the first Naruto series, only got into it last year and I can see why everyone loves Naruto so much, has the best storyline and characters I've ever seen in an anime. Too afraid to pick this up though because it might spoil some of the upcoming stuff in the anime? Am I right to assume this?

HardcoreX360
HardcoreX360

I think it would have been better if you could explore the naruto world between fights

ahmad996
ahmad996

This game got an 8.5 on IGN

BuNKiTZ
BuNKiTZ

Seriously? "Same as last year"? The new Chakra Dash Cancel and Substitution Gauge adds a whole new depth into the game's combat system. And the story mode is clearly NOT the same as Storm 2's, lol :)) Anyways, didn't really expect a high score for this, Anime games don't usually get very high scores, just usually around something like this. Doesn't matter though, still loving the game! :D

Uchiha_Sasuke1
Uchiha_Sasuke1

the game looks nice, it has almost all of the naruto characters even the old hokages.

DeadrisingX1
DeadrisingX1

You hear that Capcom? 70+ characters that AREN'T LOCKED.

omgmike23
omgmike23

@Akagen True about your Comment, But as for people like me who have never watched or played a naruto game before the story does kinda suck

VilandasUK
VilandasUK

Yep Naruto is as great as ever I mean 70 characters are awesome, and I love the new substitution and the extended combo mechanics and as for the lack of training, play the older games they offer a better story mode and better training :)

csftar
csftar

Japanese Developers.... Y U HEIT PC?!?!!?!?! *Rageface*

Akagen
Akagen

Every Naruto fan has played/watched/read the story so don't be discouraged about the "streamlined story mode". I wouldn't have touched this game if I had to spend countless hours playing/seeing the same story mode I've seen over and over and over, so the streamlined story mode is actually quite enjoyable in my opinion.

ryzrocks
ryzrocks

nice written review GS...and this is a great game for all Naruto fans to enjoy when they are not watching the anime or reading the manga :D

dreamfist11
dreamfist11

70+ characters and none of them locked in stupid DLC, way to go Namco!!

anticusho1984
anticusho1984

@RavageCobra hahaha keep going, kids trying to look cool and smart like you make me laugh big time

protokyoto
protokyoto

The opinions from the reviewer regarding the changes to the narrative mode have me worried but as a long time fan of Naruto I will definitely be giving this one a shot.

RavageCobra
RavageCobra

@anticusho1984 >Sexual mom joke. >On the Internet. >Poor grammar. You're so original and hardcore it's unbelievable.

madsnakehhh
madsnakehhh

Despite the shallow nature of the gameplay, i had a lot of fun with the previous one, might get this one when it gets a price cut, this are really fun games with people who liked the show, which it is my case, even if i don't follow Naruto anymore, me and my cousins still had a blast with UNS2.

anticusho1984
anticusho1984

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

RavageCobra
RavageCobra

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

spideyj08
spideyj08

 @Defy_The_Fallen yes, for now you shouldn't!  but a long way to go if you want to play this game, arnd 400 more episodes, then you may play it ;) though i havent played this game myself, i have read the plot and it seems they have covered content frm 270+ episodes of NS also

Defy_The_Fallen
Defy_The_Fallen

@feared4power @Defy_The_Fallen I'm enjoying it, as is everyone else keeping up with the series. If you're "finding it boring" that must mean you're watching it and something is keeping you watching. Your opinion = troll. Goodbye. 

feared4power
feared4power

@Defy_The_FallenU enjoying the war arc because I'm finding it boring and if i find it boring everyone must find it boring since my opinion = fact.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations More Info

  • Released
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations combines characters from both of the series timelines for players to battle it out.
    8.4
    Average User RatingOut of 504 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations
    Developed by:
    Racjin
    Published by:
    Bandai Namco Games, Namco Bandai Games, Namco Bandai Games America
    Genres:
    Fighting, 3D, Action
    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
    Cartoon Violence, Mild Language