Or, if you want to save your breath, you could call it NSUNS2. Which is what I will be doing from here on out in this review. It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?
A long time ago, I decided to go back and reexperience Naruto. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a problem. I didn’t want to watch the anime because the anime is garbage. I couldn’t afford seventy-two volumes of manga, nor did I want to put on a peg leg and an eyepatch. Luckily, I had a solution. I’d play the Ultimate Ninja Storm games!
So I played and reviewed the first one and… didn’t particularly care for it. It was a decent enough game, but it was clunky and didn’t do a very good job retelling the story of early Naruto (which is a shame because that’s the best Naruto). Still, I had hopes that Storm 2 would be a step up. So I promised I was playing it and I’d review it soon.
And now, after God knows how much time has passed, I’m here to fulfill that promise.
NSUNS2 is a huge step up from the first game in a lot of ways. It makes several improvements to the gameplay formula to make it more fun and it is a significantly better retelling of the original story. Unfortunately, I still hesitate to call it an especially amazing game. It’s a step up from the first game. But it isn’t a very big step up.
Story: Remember Shippuden?
Much like the first game, this one doesn’t tell its own story. Rather, it recreates the story from the original manga, albeit in a slightly more abridged fashion. And in that regard, this game absolutely succeeds!
The story covers the beginning of Shippuden up to the end of the Pain Arc. You’ll go through Deidara and Sasori, Hidan and Kakuzu, Sasuke VS Itachi, and ends with Naruto’s dramatic final battle with Pain. Most every fight in each of these arcs is taken straight from the original manga; just replace the choreography and strategy with furious button mashing and repetitive use of supers.
As such, this game’s plot has all the strengths and weaknesses of the source material. Strong moments like Shikamaru VS Hidan, Jiraiya’s death, and the truth of Itachi are all here and they’re all great. Unfortunately, the weaker moments, such as Sai’s entire existence, Sakura’s uselessness, and Nagato’s painful backstory reveal are all still present and accounted for.
Worse yet, the game has the audacity to lock Sasuke VS Bee as a 100% completion reward! And no, NSUNS3 doesn’t have it in there. So if you’re only playing the games and you want NSUNS3 to make sense, you’d better sit down and get everything. Which I assure you is not fun.
Honestly, I don’t have much else to say here. If you liked these chapters of Shippuden, even with their flaws, you’ll enjoy the story of this game. It’s a very faithful recreation that makes revisiting the original story much easier.
Plus, it looks better than the anime.
Visuals: 3D Anime Done Well
In my review of the first game, I stated that CC2 had the second-best anime visuals in all of video games, right behind ArcSys. And I still hold to that opinion. In fact, I hold to it even more strongly after playing this than I did the first game!
Pretty much all the praise I gave to the first game in this category can be given to this one too. All of the character models are incredibly on-point, perfectly adapting the original design into a 3D setting without butchering the original style. The environments are all equally faithful and nice to look at. It’s like the manga sprung to life like a pop-up book!
The special attacks are also incredible! Not only do they faithfully adapt the signature moves from the series, but they’re also flashy as hell! They’re grossly overpowered, so you’ll be using them a lot. Even still, I haven’t gotten entirely sick of them!
But none of that compares to the boss fights! I’ll go more into these during the gameplay segment. But I do need to mention them here because god fucking damn these look incredible! Not all of them are faithful to the manga, sure. But they’re so god damn flashy, starring some of the best 3D animations I’ve ever seen in a video game! Not just anime games!
The music is… pretty good. Not amazing, mind you. But it does the job and it does it well. I’d give it a higher score if I could remember any of it. It’s fine at the moment, but you won’t remember it when you put the controller down.
I can also extend that to the gameplay.
Gameplay: Second Verse, Same As the First
In terms of the actual gameplay, this one is only a small step up from the first game. It’s another 3D arena fighter. The combat is slightly better, but not by much. The cinematic quick-time events you get in the boss fights, which were easily the best part of the first game, are more numerous and highly polished, being both fun and flashy.
One of the biggest complaints I had about the first game was the open world. I felt it was pointless, barren, and painful to deal with. Thankfully, they managed to fix it in this one!
HA! I’m just fucking with you. There’s a new open world and it fucking sucks.
Now, in between story fights, you don’t need to grind side missions to build up points. Instead, you get to walk around from area to area, guided by the fixed camera and the minimap. You can jump, talk to NPCs, buy shit to help you in battle, and… jump. That’s it. I wouldn’t hate this all that much.
If Naruto’s movement speed weren’t painfully slow or I had a fucking run button!
There’s also the occasional gimmick fight, mainly when Naruto goes all Nine-Tails mode. These are just okay. They’re not offensively awful and they’re a nice change of pace. But they’re not especially great.
And that’s about it. It’s a half-decent, very repetitive arena brawler. It’s not the worst game I’ve ever played. Far from it. But it’s not a game I’d be chomping at the bit to replay anytime soon. Or ever, really.
Experiencing the story of Naruto in a condensed form like a video game is a godsend! Unfortunately, the first game really dropped the ball in that regard. Thankfully, NSUNS2 did a much better job!
Although the game itself wasn’t much of an improvement from the first.
If you’re a Naruto fan and you want to go back through the story without the hassle of digging through the filler, then I’d highly recommend playing this game! It’s an extremely faithful and fun recreation of the classic story! But if you’re in the market for a truly good game? Maybe you’d best look elsewhere.
Probably somewhere outside of the anime realm. Anime games really aren’t all that great.