Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm was one of the more anticipated exclusives for the PlayStation 3 early on this generation, at least by the fanbase. Naruto itself is an incredibly popular series amongst anime and manga veterans. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 is the next in the series for current generation platforms, both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and it promises to offer far more than what the first did, complete with fluid animation, fast-paced combat and much bigger fights.
Based on the Shippuden arc, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 looks to take players through the journey of a Hidden Leaf Ninja called Naruto as he returns to his village after three years of training. The game plays through the majority of the Shippuden arc, all the way through to Naruto's fight with Paine. If you are not familiar with this setting, that's a spoiler right there - albeit, not a very big one.
Having played a good number of Naruto games from CyberConnect2, the game immediately feels familiar in regards to the controls. You've got your shuriken attack, melee attacks and chakra charge. Any of these attacks can be combined with the chakra charge for a souped-up version and charging twice allows for a super to be performed. In Naruto's case, it'll be his "Odama Rasengan" attack. Naruto can also call in for support with the tag-team action mapped to both the L1 and R1 buttons. Much like the first game, the controls remain pretty tight and responsive.
The demo stage kicks off with a memorable scene from the anime where Naruto and Sakura test their skills against their mentor Kakashi-sensei. At first glance, the combat doesn't seem all that different from the first game; however, as the battle progresses, it's obvious that CyberConnect2 have gone leaps and bounds ahead to include some rather epic action sequences within the battle.
The fight was divided into two portions, the first ended with a mini-cutscene and a quick time event. Following that the entire battleground was warped into a sinkhole thanks to Sakura's physical prowess. This is where the fight changed up quite a bit. Kakashi started using more powerful and ranged attacks as well as his special as opposed to straight up melee combat. Tag teaming here became essential in order to quickly bring him down within melee range. By the end of it, another mini-cutscene and quick time event cued in for the finale where Kakashi's Raikiri clashed with Naruto's Rasengan.
It looks like these cutscenes are scripted and will either end in success or failure. If it's the latter, players will have to engage in combat until the cutscene is activated again. Keep in mind that this was also in the first game, simply not as extravagant. Overall, it looks to compliment the narrative quite well and coupled with extremely clean and fluid animations, the presentation is wickedly over-the-top.
With a promising presentation in regards to both visuals and narrative, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 is definitely a game worth watching out for, especially if you appreciate the anime and manga. The game will hit store shelves on October 19 in North America and October 15 in Europe with collectors editions already announced.