Ninjas are silent and shrouded in darkness by tradition, trained to be a knife in the shadows. Japanese folklore depicted ninjas as masters of magic, able to completely vanish into shadows without a trace, able to walk through walls along with a handful of other supernatural powers. In reality, this is not true. Ninjas were just highly trained and extremely talented individuals, but the imagination had taken hold of the tall tales of ninjas and created a genre of TV shows and games, especially in Japan, that solely focus on the shrouded assassins.
At the forefront of this genre is the series Naruto, a show that follows a not so stealthy ninja. Characters of this world use the supernatural power of ninjustu to create flashy and devastating attacks. The TV show has seen great success in both Japan and the United States, so naturally a game following the franchise would ensue.
Unlike most games that follow TV shows and movies, this game series is actually good. The gameplay is fighting, like Mortal Kombat, in which combatants fight in an area of limited size and move anywhere within that environment. Jumping, sliding, using a log to take an attack in substitution of your character or even having a giant orange fox smite foes with chakra bomb; these are all possible actions at your disposal in this game. The combat itself is as seamless as the fights in the sho, and just as exciting too.
The story mode of this installment is a major improvement for previous Naruto games. Being able to explore the very world depicted in the show is not the only upgrade in comparison to this game’s predecessors. For the first time there are major boss battles that are truly challenging, and at times overwhelming. This, however, rings true with the encounters portrayed on the 9:00 p.m. showing on Cartoon Network. Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 has not evolved its combat system since the first Ultimate Ninja Storm game for good reason. It was a formula that worked. What puts this game above its forerunners is the thrill the story offers.
An all-out ninja war does have its merits of being pretty epic after all.
3out 5 stars