Ever since the first Ninja Storm, I’ve been impressed with the graceful flowing movements, over-the-top super moves, and the easily accessible fighting engine. And it turns out I wasn’t alone: this franchise continues to steamroll ahead, while others have fallen by the wayside. Each sequel has added or improved on the last, and number three looks to outdo them all. Here’s what I learned about the game at Namco’s recent event.
Fans will be pleased to know they’re bringing back the Story Mode from Ninja Storm 2. I really enjoyed the light RPG elements of NS2’s Story Mode, although I did get a little sick of rummaging through trashcans for goodies every ten feet. I tried to pin down the PR guy for more details, but he was pretty tight-lipped. But, as you can tell by the screens, you’ll definitely get to run around the village with Naruto taking on quests.
Another element beefed up in this new version is the fighting roster. There are now over 80+ playable characters, as well as a ton of support characters. This is a huge roster by any account, and one of the biggest in fighting game history, (although I think DBZ: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 with 160 characters holds that title, unless you count Tobal 2 (import only) which had 200). But still, 80+ characters is nothing to sneeze at!
One neat thing about this game that is different from previous ones is, the story will be the most up-to-date yet. Because the anime is simulcast and the world is essentially all on the same page (or episode), the game can feature the very latest from the anime. Previous games had to deal with the terrible “where the story in the U.S. is” curse, but thankfully those days are long gone.
Stranger yet, the game will actually launch in the States and Europe a full month before it comes out in Japan. I don’t know what kind of topsy-turvy world we live in where Japanese games come out all over the world before Japan, but that’s what’s happening.
And according to the PR guy, you can expect even crazier boss battles! Which is hard to believe, because they’re already pretty gonzo. Other things worth mentioning—you will be able to play Naruto in Kurama mode, awakenings have been tweaked, and the battle system even more refined. And this game will be the first to have some kind of DLC. Don't know what that is yet, but there will be something.
Namco is giving gamers lots of incentives to buy the game new, or pre-order special collector’s versions. If you buy a first-run copy of the game, you’ll get a bright orange Goku costume for Naurto to wear and a collectible card with him in the same costume.
If you pre-order at GameStop, you’ll get a snazzy exclusive poster along with the Goku costume and card. And if you’re a PowerUp Rewards member, you’ll get a 30-day trial subscription to Neon Alley so you can watch English-dubbed Naruto, and other fine SJ anime.
AND if you’re willing to shell out a few more clams, there are two different pre-order offers at Namco’s online store ClubNAMCO.com. The $59.99 version (plus tax, shipping and handling) nets you an exclusive poster (different than the GameStop one), soundtrack, Goku costume and card.
BUT if you’re a big spender, and fork over $79.99 ((plus tax, shipping and handling), you can get two really neat 6” Naruto and Sasuke figurines from BanPresto, a poster, soundtrack, Goku costume and card. And the bases of the figurines lock together, so Naruto and Sasuke can finally be together! But there are only 5,000 copies, so if you want these, you know what to do!
And after all this writing, I still never told you my thoughts on playing the game! Big surprise—it was awesome! While I haven’t played in a while, and I was rustier than an old nail stuck in a barn door, my “skills” came back pretty quick and I was holding my own against all challengers, including the PR guy! It didn’t feel that different from the last game, but the combat system was pretty tight already. I can’t wait to get into the Adventure Mode when the game comes out. Luckily, the release date is only a little over a month away!
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN™: Ultimate Ninja® STORM 3
game software © 2004-2013 NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. NARUTO artwork and elements © 2002 MASASHI KISHIMOTO / 2007 SHIPPUDEN All Rights Reserved.
by Urian Brown