Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations Demo Impressions

By Colin Tan on March 1, 2012, 3:17PM EDT

CyberConnect2 have long established themselves as the developer for action-packed, cinematic Naruto experiences. You really can't get that sense of epic ninja action from any other title than their Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm franchise. Their next big hit is out soon, in fact the demo is already available for download. Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations looks set to promise the biggest Naruto clash yet.

The demo is a short one, but promising nonetheless. With two events available for preview, fans of the anime and manga series can get a taste of what's to come. There hasn't been a lot of changes to the formula, which is great because it works just fine. If it's not broken, don't fix it right? What CC2 have done is just tweak the combat ever so slightly to introduce even deeper mechanics.

As usual, players can string together various combos by mixing attacks, chakra charges, kunais, items and even super attacks. New to Generations is the ability to cancel your combos a la tournament level fighting titles like Street Fighter and Tekken. So if you find yourself in trouble mid-combo, you can always cancel out and put some space between you and your opponent. In addition, where previous UNS games had block and the substition jutsu mapped to the trigger buttons, CC2 have split the two mechanics, and added a substitution jutsu gauge - which depletes faster than you'd realize. It automatically recharges over time, but is effective enough to make players think their battle strategies through first.

Generations also adds some team-based abilities, where if you fill up the team gauge, all of your team mates will hop in on the battlefield to help you out. Once on the field, you can also perform team supers, which is pretty awesome. CC2 are known for their cinematic flair and they aren't pulling any punches here. Gameplay and cinematics are blended so well, sometimes you forget you're playing and not watching.

It's good old fun, and easily accessible even to casual fans. The combat can be as simple as mashing buttons, to as complex as stringing a combo, canceling out into a chakra-charged super, juggling your opponent mid-air and finishing with an ultra. It took a while to get used to the new control setup in regards to blocking and substituting, but once that's out of the way, you'll be pulling off over-the-top ninjutsu in no time.

The demo showcased two fights and only Shippuden Naruto was playable, however the full game boasts over 70 playable characters, including the likes of Zabuza and Haku, as well as the five Kages. Even Naruto's Tailed Beast Chakra Mode will be available for play. The full retail release is scheduled for March 13 in North America, and March 30 in Europe. Naruto fans, be sure to keep this at the top of your shopping list.

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