Game Review

Naruto: Powerful Shippuden Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

He's a laugher, not a fighter

The first thing that's going to strike you about Naruto: Powerful Shippuden is the super deformed art style. After all, Namco Bandai has plastered it everywhere, so it must be quite proud of how it turned out. That's probably a smart move, because the visuals rank among this game's main strong points. It's only when you look beneath the surface that things start to fray a bit.

It's worth nothing, however, that the "surface" is a great one. There's an evolving storyline that drifts in how much it takes itself seriously, but never strays too far from the fact that it is — first and foremost — a joke. The comedy is strong and the static character visuals reinforce that brilliantly, with exaggerated expressions snapping into place for a line of dialogue, and then just as quickly vanishing for the next. It's a funny game, and the lack of a single serious dramatic moment works overwhelmingly in its favour.

Additionally, there are two characters whose stories intertwine at various points, and you can choose to control either of them. This, however, is a bit misleading. While the game opens with you choosing between Naruto and Rock Lee — whoever you select, you'll bump into the other one on his own adventure — you can only progress so far in one storyline before you need to stop, back out to the main menu, and bring the other story along too.

We would have preferred being able to play through them in isolation, because it's not much fun to come to a screeching halt between missions, and have to advance a second story to the same point simply to get ahead. Naturo: Powerful Shippuden gives the illusion of choice, but really just requires you to do both things, alternately, at a pace of its own choosing.

This issue is compounded when you realise, as you soon will, that the missions are all far too similar. The stated goals might be different, but the only thing you'll ever have to do to achieve each one is duke it out with hordes of baddies. You finish one ambush only for it be followed by another, and then another, and then the level ends. Sometimes you'll have to walk in a given direction to trigger the next ambush, sometimes you'll be confined to a single screen and the enemies will come to you. Either way it gets dull, and when it gets dull the last thing you'll want to do is switch to the other character to do it all again.

The controls feel a bit stiff, similar to the abysmal Thundercats, but certainly not quite as bad. Instead it just feels as though the attack animations aren't fast enough to keep up with the actual action on screen, leading to a strange sensation of "intention lag". This is definitely a problem when there are so many offensive and defensive button combinations to remember, each of which needs to be deployed precisely if it's going to have maximum effect.

On the bright side, though, the game does spice things up a bit with a very welcome sense of customisation. You can hone each character's attributes through an experience system, which would be welcome enough, but on top of that you can gamble for experience points in every level. You do this through a "Personal Goals" option, which allows you, before the level begins, to assign yourself an additional objective (such as limiting damage, speedrunning, not using special attacks, and so forth), which, if you achieve it, increases the amount of experience you'll get. Choose a relatively easy goal and your multiplier will be low, choose a difficult one and you can level up much more quickly. It's a great way of injecting a bit of risk into what is otherwise an endless succession of enemy swarms.

There are also helper characters you will unlock as the game progresses, and they can be summoned into battle to help speed things up, which is also quite welcome.

As mentioned, the graphics are simple but great. The 3D adds precisely nothing to the game, but for a side-scrolling button masher that's not really a complaint. The soundtrack is never less than good, but it's also pretty forgettable.

There's an unfortunate feeling of self-limitation inherent in Naruto: Powerful Shippuden. Its missions are too similar to remain interesting for long, and its intriguing dual-protagonist approach ends up making you responsible for the playing twice over in order to get anywhere, but it certainly has its redeeming qualities that we think, just barely, makes it worth a spin.

Conclusion

Naruto: Powerful Shippuden does one thing exactly right, and that's the humour. The actual gameplay gets a bit too repetitive too quickly, but a fun storyline and a personal goals feature do their best to keep things interesting. If you're looking for a fun and quirky way to kill time, you could do a lot worse than this, but if you're looking for anything much of substance beneath the surface, you might want to keep searching.

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User Comments (40)

DarkCoolEdge

#1

DarkCoolEdge said:

Naruto is boring (because of its execution, it had a lot of potential) and this game along with all the other portables looks lame and boring. Ultimate Ninja is another thing...

Superconsole

#2

Superconsole said:

Nice review Phil, I do like a game with a bit of humour, but not sure that alone could sway me to buy a Naruto game... :P

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#4

Philip_J_Reed said:

It seems like nintendolife gave the lowest score... Metacritic score is quite high...

We gave it a six and the average is around a seven. That's not that much of a difference!

FullbringIchigo

#5

FullbringIchigo said:

ok first off i may be a little biased (looks at my avatar)

well i played the demo and i got to say it was fun IN SHORT BURSTS the fighting does get a little repetitive if you play too much in one go

i also like the fact that it based on the Rock Lee and his Ninja Pals anime (hence the deformed characters and the humour) but still kind of follows the story of Naruto Shippuden (which the Rock Lee Anime doesn't) just a shame it doesn't have a choice of switching between english and japanese voices (the demo only had japanese voices while im ok with that i know people who don't like the japanese voices and would rather have the english voices) which with the fact every other Naruto game released since storm 1 have had the option to pick this is rather disappointing

but the game is still fun and has a charm to it so i am still going to pick it up once i can but like i said i may be a little biased

KeeperBvK

#6

KeeperBvK said:

@ErnisDy: I thought you've played the demo? I don't know anything about the game outside of the demo (I've played it as well) and even I can tell you that there are bosses, as you already fight one in the demo! ;)

Besides: The demo was a snore-fest, so I already anticipated the final game to be no better than a 6.

Shotgunryugan

#8

Shotgunryugan said:

@ErnisDy There are bosses:
Sasuke, Orochimaru, Tobi, Deidara, Kisame, Kakuzu, Pain, Kakashi, Might Guy, Rock Lee(clone), Dark Naruto.

^ I think that's about it, unless I'm forgetting someone, you can replay missions with things called "Personal Goals" which does give it replay value, plus after getting a bunch of those cleared up you get Hidden S Rank missions, though they do take a lot to unlock, I've only gotten 4(2 for Naruto and 2 for Rock Lee).

There is an Endless Battle, which is really easy if your character is level 100 :P
So far i haven't lost any, you can quit at any time and resume later, I'm at around 50+ endless battles currently.

You do unlock new power/attacks:
The Sage Mode, Demon Fox Chakra mode, Rasen Shuriken, Rasengan Barrage, Massive Rasengan, Demon Fox Rasengan, among others(don't expect much though).

There is no multiplayer, the bosses do get tougher(you fight them multiple times), especially on Endless Battle.

I beat the main game in a day, but i still haven't 100% it, there are QR codes that unlock new support characters, but none have been released for US and there's only 1 in Japan(which doesn't work in the US version).

Anyway long post, I agree with most of the review except for the "Stiff" controls, i didn't have a problem with it, but to each their own i guess.
I do agree with the score though it's definitely a 6 or 7.

I have to add that i loved the dialogue, probably the best part of the game, especially loved the Sasuke conversations and Naruto telling him he has a serious brother complex :P

Finally, something weird, when i registered the game on my Club Nintendo account it said "Thanks for Purchasing Naruto Shippuden: The New Era" and then when i finished the survey it says "Thanks for Purchasing Naruto Powerful Shippuden" O.o

WindWakerLink

#12

WindWakerLink said:

I got this because I've been waiting for a Naruto game for the 3DS. It really is a funny game, but I haven't had time to really play it to give it a fair judgment call on it. Yea.

ilovegaming

#13

ilovegaming said:

I tried the demo and liked it- I'll probably get it later though, since I'll be getting Code of Princess this week!

Osui

#16

Osui said:

Finished the game in 2 days. Kinda short, try to complete all the challenge

Dpullam

#19

Dpullam said:

I liked the demo of this game but I figured the mission variety wouldn't be very good. Still, I liked how easy the controls were to get used to and how the humor complemented the characters. I just wouldn't like to be forced to keep each character's storyline caught up just to be able to progress in either one.

Windy

#20

Windy said:

Another game that had some potential to be online co-op or head to head but nope can't do it.

KnightRider666

#21

KnightRider666 said:

I had bought this used, but returned it a few days later. I will give it another go when it comes down in price by half.

WinterWarm

#22

WinterWarm said:

I got the demo off the eShop, and I loved it, I ran out of uses on it :(

But, I think the game is really funny, I liked the 3D, and I thought the controls were really tight, the only part I didn't like is the Japanese in the fights. :D

motang

#24

motang said:

I actually like this game a lot, going to buy it after playing the heck out of the demo. This is what I wanted Jonny Kung Fu to be w/o all the stupid bs puzzle levels, just a good old 2D beat 'em up!

KaoruxChan

#25

KaoruxChan said:

Lol that was an epic fail of a review it's like he didn't wanna play this game and just gave it a fast review ign gave it a 8/10 which is a good review better than this one I will have to go with ign sorry :P

jarrettkerpan

#26

jarrettkerpan said:

I agree with the 6/10 rating. Its pretty good, but overall not very compelling. Some of the levels are borderline awful in execution while others are great. the "world map" is basically useless and otherwise confusing, and gives the illusion of controlling the path you take. With all of that being said, if you can find this game for under $15 it might be worth a try--especially for a Naruto fan.

Mus1cLov3r

#27

Mus1cLov3r said:

Oh wow! One of the screen-shots shows Naruto battling Pein, so it must go pretty far in the series. I need it! :0

WinterWarm

#29

WinterWarm said:

@Mus1cLov3r

I agree, between Digital Rights Management( DRM ) and Nintendo's new stance of sample conent, you can't help but be frustrated, what I find interesting is that not all demos on the 3DS eShop have:

A. The same number of uses.

B. Limits on playtime.

Rather, the Final Fantasy title demo who names escapes me at this moment, has unlimited uses.

This means Nintendo is not forcing developers to have restrictions, but that the developers themselves are choosing to do this, how does that create customer loyalty, I ask you?

In regard to the second half on your post and your question:

The Wii certainly didn't( or, doesn't ) have demo restrictions.

I myself don't own a WiiU(yet), so I personally can't tell you, but I can't imagine Nintendo not doing the same, especially since both online store share the same surname, if you will.

Mus1cLov3r

#30

Mus1cLov3r said:

@WinterWarm Great answer. Could it be Final Fantasy: Theatrythm you're talking about? Another thing I don't understand is why Nintendo hasn't added the ability to view
WiiU titles, as you can view 3DS title on the WiiU. But that's off-topic... :-/

Mus1cLov3r

#31

Mus1cLov3r said:

@WinterWarm Also, you said you didn't like the Japanese voice-overs, correct? Project X Zone also uses the original Japanese Voice-overs. Just a warning, incase you you want it, but haven't bought it yet. It's a really good game, though, if you're into TRPGs.

WinterWarm

#32

WinterWarm said:

@Mus1cLov3r Yes, Theatrhythm! I don't know why I couldn't remember.

Yeah, it got pretty annoying, I didn't mind Project X Zone's voiceovers though, I don't why they just didn't irritate me really, ah, of course, RPGs are the best genre!

Mus1cLov3r

#33

Mus1cLov3r said:

@WinterWarm I didn't know that Theatrythm had unlimited plays.

I actually like the voice-overs. I guess the reason I like them is because it makes me wanna learn Japanese. :0 RPGs are my favorite genre, too.

Have you bought this game yet?

WinterWarm

#34

WinterWarm said:

@Mus1cLov3r

Yep, last time I checked, anyway, I suppose they could've changed it, I don't have the demo anymore, though, music/rhythm games are too linear for me, I prefer freedom in gameplay.

To each his own, I suppose. :)

No, not yet, with all the fantastic first-party retail and eShop games that've come out in the last year, it's been constantly pushed back on my wish-list, haha. What about you? Made a decision yet?

Mus1cLov3r

#35

Mus1cLov3r said:

@WinterWarm I plan to get it on my next trip to GameStop. Sadly, however, I'm too young for a driver's license, so when I'll be going is not up to me.... :(

WinterWarm

#37

WinterWarm said:

@Mus1cLov3r Ha, I'm in that same position, I've been wanting to get MH3U for a few weeks, although, you could pay for shipping and have it delivered to your address. If your local GameStop offers that. I know all the ones in Ohio do.

No, NintendoLife is the only Nintendo community/site I'm a part of, I've yet to see a reason to join another, NL's got everything, plus it's a popular site, so they get previews on games and interviews with devs. :)

WinterWarm

#39

WinterWarm said:

@Mus1cLov3r

I don't know actually, I've never had anything shipped to me. XD I imagine it's on their site, though.

Yeah, maybe I'll join another, 3DS Buzz a good site?

Mus1cLov3r

#40

Mus1cLov3r said:

I bought it new for $15 at Gamestop a few days ago. In my opinion, it's worth more than $15, possibly $40?

Yes, they are a nice site. They have news, but the forums is were the action's at.

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