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VG Review - Naruto: Ultimate Ninja

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Naruto ultimate ninja ps2
Well, well, welly-well, well. It seems that the night's still young, and this dashing young man is still enjoying his Sweet 16. What a sight for sore eyes! I even kicked off my marvelous birthday with a very amazing game that was reviewed; known, of course, as "Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island". However, this Chaotic Lord's special day might be taking a few turns. Why do I say such nonsense? Because for tonight, we are now going to take a look at a mediocre/average fighting game for the Playstation 2. Ladies and gentleman... here IS... Ooooh... {sighs} Naruto: Ultimate Ninja.


To start things off, don't even ask what Naruto even is. It's pretty damn obvious! Y'know with the generic titular character who shouts "Believe it!/Dattebayo!" every ten-to-fifteen seconds of his own screen time whilst wearing an orange jumpsuit (what moron came up with that??? :P), side characters who are underplayed and don't get as much spotlight as the leading roles, an emo (Sasuke Uchiha) who wants to kill his older brother (Itachi Uchiha) after an incident some time ago, and a pink-haired bimbo (Sakura Haruno) who appears to be rather hopeless over most of the franchise's history. Let me be completely honest and point out that I dislike this anime/manga series as a whole. I might have enjoyed the whole Dragon Ball (with the slight exception of Dragon Ball GT), Gundam, Fullmetal Alchemist, and even Trigun franchises, but Naruto is just... {facepalm}. Now there was a time when I used to enjoy watching Naruto on Toonami. The problem is that as soon as the anime adaptation started its entire "Filler Mode", I wanted to throw my remote at the television and say these two words: f*** it. Therefore, Naruto was now dead to me. The only thing I'm able to be interested in that's Naruto-related is of course Naruto Abridged (an internet series on YouTube made by LittleKuriboh, who also is behind the Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged Series).

But will that stop me from reviewing this game? {clears throat} Hell no. In my opinion, while Ultimate Ninja isn't exactly my cup of tea in terms of fighting game history (Super Smash Bros. is in the same league, but at least those games weren't a borefest and had actual replay value), it still has a few merits. Granted, my criticism could be superior to my positive feedback, but still...

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja is (as I've mentioned earlier in this here review) available for the Playstation 2. It was originally released in Japan on October 23, 2003; then sporting the different moniker of "Naruto: Narutimate Hero". It came to North America on June 26, 2006; having the name of this installment most fans and critics are more familiar with.

The game features a pretty unique battle system in which special attacks and various techniques can be used. Items such as the kunai knives and even the shuriken also make an appearance, as well. Ultimate Ninja also has many multi-layered arenas; this includes the Forest of Death, the Ramen Ichiraku shop, and even the Chunin Exams. I find most of this to be a pretty swell idea on paper, but sometimes, the full-on execution isn't what one expects; in fact, some can't really tell if they like it or not. But anyway, let us move on...

When it comes to the character roster, there are fourteen of them; Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, Kakashi, Rock Lee, and Shikamaru happen to be the only ones playable from the start. Neji, Hinata, Gaara, Zabuza, Haku, and Orochimaru are unlockable via completing Story Mode with a certain method. Both Naruto and Sasuke also have more powerful forms: Kyuubi/Nine-Tails (Naruto Uzumaki) and Curse Marked (Sasuke Uchiha) that can be unlocked via performing a certain task in Mission Mode. I just wanna say that Kyuubi and Curse Marked Sasuke were originally transformation-only characters in the Japanese version of this game. Apparently for the North American release, Namco Bandai decided to just have the two forms being playable as "separate" characters. {shrugs} I'm not too sure why that this, but it doesn't matter to me.

In terms of graphical design, Ultimate Ninja can deliver cel-shaded character models and stage backgrounds a bit well for the most part. Sometimes it really isn't much (especially for a 2003 title), but you'll just have to tolerate it. Not only that, but I enjoy the Story Mode for what it is. Despite all the characters only going throughout six battles (for some gay reason), I actually find the pre-fight dialogue exchanges to be a nice touch (except for a few occasions where the writing would be downright questionable) and that manga style display is neat, also. Cyberconnect2 didn't disappoint in this area... :)

One of the weaker aspects for Naruto: Ultimate Ninja include the simplisitc controls. They're way too easy to figure out in which even an infant wouldn't have much issue with the control scheme on its own. If you're new to Ultimate Ninja, then this installment just so happens to be right for you!

Another piece of criticism is the voice acting. I'm not sure whether to blame the voice director (Jamie Simone) or the writer for this game, but the lines and overall delivery make nearly all the voice actors sound over-the-top and extremely repetitive. Sometimes the sound mixing can be atrocious; for instance, when I play as Sakura or Kakashi against any foe and I get a Fuma Shuriken, it sounds like the both of them say "Kunai knife" in some crazy Asian accent. It took me a bit long to figure out that they actually blurted out "Got an item". {scoffs} Wow!

So in conclusion, is Naruto: Ultimate Ninja/Naruto: Narutimate Hero something worth your time? I'd say yes and no. If you want to spend the extra time playing against friends and enjoying the ridiculousness of the Story Mode, then yes. But if you encounter the outrageous Mission Mode, as well as questionable English voice acting and character roster, then no. This isn't a bad game, nor is it actually good.

With that said, I, Ouroburos, give Naruto: Ultimate Ninja a weak D+. And remember this, kiddies: always leave the ninja (or shinobi; whatever you prefer) business to the professionals.

This is Ouroburos.TheNewSaurian, and I'll see you and every other ninja out there later!

Final verdict

Pros

  • The graphics are rather solid and play a part when it comes to cel-shading.
  • A short, but sweet (if not hilarious) Story Mode.
  • It's only worth playing with friends. :'(

Cons

  • The music (which I forgot to put in the review) is pretty dull and uninspired.
  • Questionable as all hell English voice acting; not to mention the weird sound mixing.
  • Mission Mode is only good in the beginning, yet gets a bit too complicated as you progress.
  • The battle system is a bit too similar to such classics like Super Smash Bros.
  • Controls are easy to figure out.
  • This game has little to no replay value... from my perspective, anyway.
  • A rather bland opening cinematic (the song is "Rise Tsuyosa", which was also used for the anime's first and second arcs in the English dub) for this game... to give it credit, though, I find it more catchy than "Rocks".

Showcase

Naruto Ultimate Ninja Opening00:00

Naruto Ultimate Ninja Opening

"RICE!! CHEW YOUR SOCK!!"

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