Namco Bandai’s Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 does not play around around with its opening. The third entry into the Ultimate Ninja Storm series starts off with a bang right from the start as you will battle the iconic and skyscraper sized Demon Fox who sports nine tails which creates quite the scene and sets the tone for Ultimate Ninja Storm 3.
Right from the get go players will get thrown into the action as they take on the masked man who controls the beast as Naruto’s father. In another sequence players will control the Third Hokage who along with fellow Ninja tries to keep the creature at bay in a gigantic and cinematic battle which sees players traversing roof tops around the monster.
One of the most unique and exciting features of Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is the way the developers designed some of the dynamic battles where players get flung around between characters mid-battle which is a nice change up from the classic gameplay. I found it a bit distracting in the beginning but was used to it shortly thereafter and started enjoying it more and more.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 has a good story-line which also allows players to chose a path which is new to the series – this time. Players get to chose the way of the Legend or the Hero, which creates some replayability and serves as a nice change up from past games. To be clear, the story always goes back to set points throughout but the paths allow for some variations along the way.
Of course the main meat and potatoes of Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is the Ninja on Ninja fighting gameplay on the 3D battle arena. The game feels more responsive than ever and yet will be familiar to most Naruto fans while they will enjoy new features like entering the Awakened state without running down the health bar first. At the core Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is a Naruto game and tends to play it safe, which is not really a bad thing.
While there are the branching story-lines I mentioned previously, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 does pretty much retell the cartoon’s story apart from the side content that can be experienced when choosing Hero versus Legend. If you are a fan of the cartoons and the Naruto story there will be plenty of fan service to be enjoyed.
Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 features the biggest cast ever with 80 playable characters of which many are brand new which makes this the largest cast ever. While this may sound like a good thing on the surface, it may go a bit in the direction of overkill but fans of the series will probably enjoy having such a large character base to chose from.
Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is one of those games I didn’t think I would like as much as I did, the game has fun gameplay with interwoven mid-battle switch ups, actually enjoayble quick time events and branching story elements that make the game enjoyable for Naruto fans and someone new to the franchise or even the genre.
Score: 8.5 / 10
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 was developed by CyberConnect2 and published by Namco Bandai for Xbox 360 and PS3 on March 5th. A retail copy of the Xbox 360 version was provided to us by Namco Bandai for reviewing purposes.