I picked up Naruto: Rise of a Ninja during my brief stay in Chicago for Reactor (only because no-one had it in Canada when it was released).
Even though the visuals of the game are cel-shaded, they are amazingly well done. The graphics are bright, crisp and detailed. It’s almost as if the manga itself was coloured on the screen. Ubisoft outdid themselves in this and you can see a lot of detail and the animation is fluid. I can’t say anything bad about this. Video.
The music is crisp and clear and a lot of it is from the anime, while some is made just for the game. I was disappointed over the voice acting as a lot of it was stale and the characters would say the same thing over and over. For the fans who prefer the Japanese voice actors, there is a patch on XBOX Live that lets you download their voices and replace the English ones. However, I did notice that upon doing this, that sometimes the game would freeze.
The controls aren’t too bad. They are a little sensitive, so it’s easy to make a mistake and jump too far. It’s not a big deal, but it counts if you’re under a time limit or trying to pull off a perfect combo.
If you’re a button masher, you may have a little fun but struggle to remember how to pull off some of the killer moves. The killer moves are important as they give you that extra second to land the fatal blow on your opponent.
One thing I noticed, is that there is some lag at certain points. It’s a brief hit when you pick up a coin or other collectible item. If you run through the item, the game pauses for a split millisecond.
Pulling off the ninjutsu takes patience and practice. If you miss the timer (which can be a little frustrating in making the mark), Naruto will do something to show that you didn’t make it, such as a failed clone, or a fart. If you’re in a battle, this will cost you dearly and leaves you open to a serious attack.
Basically, you’re following the young Naruto Uzumaki around as he yearns to become Konoha’s next hokage, or head ninja. In Story Mode, you take on missions to build up your skill, health and chakra to take on even bigger missions.
An added bonus is that the game includes clips from the anime to help explain what’s going on. However, it’s cut and pasted together, so you’ll see in-game graphics mixed with scenes from the animated series. Unfortunately, it looks like a poorly done clip-show at times.
There’s lots to do in this game, and I can’t put it down. You need patience and skill to take this game on, so be prepared to sit on your ass for a long time and just explore.
I need to renew my Xbox Live subscription, but there’s stuff you can download as well as online multiplayer matches. Overall, it’s pretty good and I do recommend it for any Naruto fan.
NOTE: Online play over XBOX Live was not mentioned due to the fact that I do not have an active XBOX Live Gold account.