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An Unexpected Surprise

Reviewing: Bandai Namco Games Naruto Uzumaki Chronicles 2  |  Rating:
Kevin Roman By Kevin Roman on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 5 | Gaming Expertise:
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This game had many things going for it that made me actually like it a lot more than the anime. The story feels like it would belong in an anime episode but believable and without the filler which made me hate the anime. You have to do missions and basically protect your village and nation from the puppet using Shirogane clan who wants to get these powerful spirit orbs to revive a master puppet. I'm also glad that they made the characters I loathed in the anime, like Sakura and Tsunade, pretty decent in the game with their dialogue. I guess they really cut down on the nonsense. I do like the characters in this game. The only issues I have with the game are that the loading can take about 10 seconds and the camera can be an issue if you lock on while you are surrounded; it can spin around but fortunately the other flaws of this game can let you circumvent them. For example, when you play in 2 players and need to platform, the 2nd player can temporarily opt out rather than make the camera focus on both characters at once so you cannot make your jumps properly. You can also take off the lock-on should it create a problem and the camera spins on you sometimes if you are surrounded. Fortunately, the lock-on usually works decently. The loading generally occurs when you end up in a random battle as you go from different places on the map with your avatar. At least you can rotate the right analog while you wait to recover some chakra.

Battles are like a beat 'em up/action rpg that combined pretty well. The characters can level up but you spend experience to boost stats like attack/defense for physical (taijutsu) or magic (ninjutsu) damage. The thing I also like is how they have skill plates which let you place skills in so long as you can fit them in; it creates a nice puzzle element for how to arrange your skills in order to make them all fit in. Unlike Final Fantasy 12, once you buy them, any eligible person can use it; you don't have to re-learn the same move for every character that can use it. The characters can also throw several types of shurikens, and fight slightly differently (Kankuro for example uses puppets). Their moves prevent the game from being too monotonous. For example, Shikamaru has infinite shurikens, Kankuro can use his puppet to attack from a longer distance. Basically, each character has 3 specials (you start off with 2 and buy another special to be the 3rd one you will use), that use Chakra (think mp in rpgs, that they can use techniques with), have a quick attack and a power attack. The characters move quickly (can dash, and their jump is pretty fast too) so it doesn't have a boring pace.

The graphics are standard fare too. The music is also nothing to get excited about. Also, you might need to use Naruto's shadow clones to help you inspect some areas, like in the second mission there are some houses that you have to inspect to trigger a cutscene where he has to jump a house to take out a water tower to pour on a fire. You can even do the substitution jutsu to prevent yourself from being stunned by an attack (that is a log takes the damage that would stun you so you can still move after being hit).

Another thing I like is that they let you customize your skills (techniques and skill plate stat boosts) just by pausing it. I remember some games you could only do that at the beginning of the mission and not mid-battle. Story mode has you swap between 3 characters, so you can always change characters unless they get killed but you can revive them. The tag style entrance is pretty cool, with them kicking in the area that the former character occupied to hurt an enemy as soon as you swap.

There is a challenging survival mode as well as a 2 player vs mode. In survival mode, you can also get unique skill plates for each character you finish with, giving it a lot of replay value. There is also a mission mode that lets you choose up to 3 characters to do missions in order to make more money for more techniques, such as air dash or increasing your stats on the skill plate.

I'm definitely glad I got this game. I suggest anyone to try it out, even if they hate the anime like I do. I always thought the anime had potential (ninjas, ninjutsu/taijutsu/genjutsu, and of course the backstory of some characters like Rock Lee and Kakashi) and this game really brought it out.