After having posted my thoughts on the Pain Saga in the Naruto: Shippuden anime a while back and recently having completed the first Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm game, it was time for the sequel.
Upon first startup the game greets you with an english spoken cutscene which is a real shame, but after going to the menu and switching the audio over to Japanese, all is much better. The game starts off by showing Konoho destroyed by Pain in a very good looking cutscene. It immediately sucked me into the game and it then cuts to a much earlier point in the story, namely when Naruto return to Konoha after training with Jiraiya. From that point onwards it looks like it’ll go through the entire Akatsuki/Pain-arcs of the story.
If you’re wondering what the actual gameplay is; it’s a 3d fighting game that’s aiming to be rather accessible and keeps it to the basics, while making the action really entertaining and intense. I normally don’t play fighting games at all, but this game is continually throwing you forward in the story and gives you quick battles to proceed. For the bigger fights it’ll also add in a bunch of great looking cutscenes and quick time events that actually are rather tough at times, but not really punishing you for failing at them. A neat bonus to those events are that if you do well enough, you’ll get to see the “secret factor” which is usually bits of the anime and some quick backstory to what’s currently going on.
This little bit of backstory is helpful if you forgot what actually happened as the game doesn’t go into the details too much, it focuses on the main storyline instead and decides to lose some details. It’s probably a bit nitpicky on my end but I did find it to be a bummer to not really see Naruto learn the wind chakra like he did with Asuma. Instead he just fights Asuma (Or rather, you fight as Asuma). The same thing happened with him training with Kakashi just before that at the waterfall. But all things considered, they are minor moments considering the things that are happening.
Speaking of minor things though, the game has you run around a lot for (side) missions, almost in every screen you can pick up multiple items, such as weeds and miscellaneous ninja tools. These items you pick up (which takes you 2-3 seconds per item) you can use to buy bento’s (lunchboxes), other kinds of food and various tools you can then carry into battle. These items may for example be exploding tags attached to kunai that are so popular in the series, or temporary speed/defense/attack boosts. But it really just feels like busywork, but the items certainly help in combat.
Overall I am really impressed by the quality of the game so far after 6.5 hours, both in voice work and presentation. The only downside other than the busywork so far is that the subtitling will translate names as well, for example Amegakure is called “Land of Rivers” which… made me cringe. I’m not sure if the game would make sense to someone not familiar with the series though, but I assume that everybody who’s played it got it because they are a fan of the series.