Naruto has been around for almost fifteen years now and has become hugely popular all over the globe. Not only has it had huge success with its manga and anime series, it has also broken into the gaming scene with a number of role playing and fighting games. The most popular of these being their Ninja Storm series and Generations is the latest instalment. Generations takes a look back at the main characters in Naruto from when they started out as ninjas to their involvement in the recent Ninja War, but does it have enough content to keep loyal fans happy until the next true sequel is released?
You’ll be starting your journey in Story Mode, which has stripped the role playing elements of the first two games and has allowed you to roam the Hidden Leaf Village between battles, opting for cut scenes between battles taken straight from the anime. The main reason for this being removed is you no longer play the story chronologically. You now have the chance to play the story arcs for the main characters in Naruto including: Madara Uchiha, Gaara, Jiraiya and, of course, Naruto. There are around ten stories in total, and they take a few hours to complete, so you’ll be in the story mode for quite a while before moving onto the plethora of other game modes available.
Generations features your standard player vs. player and player vs. cpu game modes but has also added some new modes for Naruto fans to enjoy. The survival mode is pretty self-explanatory and pits you against increasingly difficult enemies that are sorted into different sets, such as the different Genin teams or the Hokages. Tournaments are also available and you can compete with up to eight players either online or offline. These are a great way to have some fun with a large group of friends or playing online. This is a lot more fun when you feel like you’re working towards a real victory, and who doesn’t like bragging rights! You also have the standard player and ranked matches online where you can rank up just as you could in the previous games.
The fighting hasn’t changed much since the previous games but it has been fine tuned to make some things a little easier. Most notably is the dodging, which was quite difficult to pull off in the previous games but has now been made easier to accomplish with a longer grace period after an attack. Of course, fights are very frantic and you’ll be running around the arenas a lot and rushing in to pull off those all-important jutsu. While button bashers will be able to play this game and feel like they are a master ninja, those who spend the time to learn each of the character attacks and defences will be able to rule the battlefield and gain the ranks online that most of us can only dream of.
There are over seventy playable characters in Generations, which is the series’ biggest roster yet. With a large number of support characters to help out your main characters, you’ll probably be able to see an appearance from most of the main characters from the world of Naruto. There are many collectables to be had, such as ninja cards, titles and new substitution animations and also a large amount of ninja tools. These tools can be taken into battle to help your character in a tight spot by increasing their attacks and defence or lowering your enemies – amongst other things.
A nice touch for fans of the official Naruto trading card game is the implementation of a redemption system, which allows holders of rare cards with codes to unlock extra items that can be used in-game. Though these items cannot be unlocked anywhere else, they do not give a player any major advantages, so it’s not going to spoil the online experience for players who have no interest in the trading card game.
With the game effectively taking place from the very beginning of the Naruto story arc, all the way up to the latest Ninja War, there are a lot of different environments you will be fighting in. From the fields outside the Hidden Leaf Village to the ancient Uchiha temple where Sasuke and Itachi had their final battle. With so many stages to battle in, you will rarely find yourself getting tired of seeing the same boring background, and the slightly different landscapes can have a slight effect on how a battle may go. Another nice touch is the ability to choose Japanese voice overs for all the characters and the narration during story mode – which I’m sure most anime fans will be pleased with!
While Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is not a direct sequel to the second game, it is a nice pit stop in a series that has found its place in the fighting genre. With a huge roster to choose from, a variety of arenas to fight in a good selection of different game modes, Generations will easily have you covered until Ninja Storm 3.