Naruto is a series that has been around for ages and will never truly disappear. This anime series revolves around the titular Naruto, a young Ninja with demon fox sealed inside his body. Using the powers of this fox, Naruto is granted abilities far beyond that of an average ninja. He uses these powers to fight against evil villains, pass his tests, and to a turn into a scantily clad woman for no reason.
Naruto is a series that just cannot die, since it’s already gotten 4 different anime and nearly a dozen motion pictures. There’s also the games, of which there are too many to count. By far, the most popular series of games in this franchise are the “Ultimate Ninja Storm” games. The Ultimate Ninja Storm games spun-off from the Ultimate Ninja Series and quickly overtook them in popularity.
The idea behind the Storm games is that they are fully 3D arena fighters that cover the ENTIRE Naruto story and give you an insane amount of characters to play with. Today, I’ve decided to talk about the third numbered game in the series, the aptly titled “Naruto: Ultimate Nina Storm 3”.
I know I should probably cover the games in the order they were released, but I decided I’d go backwards this time around! So, let’s talk about this game! The plot of Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is that our titular hero has just defeated a member of the Atasuki named “Pain”. After tangling with this terrible tyrant, Naruto is hailed as a hero in his hometown.
Unfortunately for the young ninja, a war is looming over the horizon. With the villainous Akatsuki planning to use the moon in an evil scheme to mind-control everyone, it’s up to Naruto and friends to put a stop to it! I’m oversimplifying the plot quite a bit, but that’s the general gist of it.
The game’s story mode is rather lengthy, which is surprising for a fighting game. It has 7 hours worth of cutscenes alone, which makes the already long campaign much longer. I’m not an avid Naruto watcher, but I hear that the story mode covers the story of Naruto quite well.
That’s a lot of content already, but it gets better! The game features over 80 playable characters, along with a ton of alternate costumes for a bunch of them. You can unlock every character by simply playing through the story mode. Several fighters have their own unique gimmicks or abilities, adding some variation to the characters you play as. For example, Kankuro is technically two characters in one: A puppet-master and his puppet. You control Kakuro and have to move your puppet in the direction of the enemy to attack him.
While fighters like that can certainly mix up the roster, too many characters feel a bit too similar to one another. Doesn’t help that the game has a jillion different versions of both Naruto and Sasuke. Still, there’s enough unique characters on the roster that the game never really feels too stale.
The game plays like most other 3D arena fighters, but with a few things to mix it up. You have two opponents going at each other, but each combatant can summon two support partners to attack the enemy. You also have a wide range of items you can use in battle, which can sometimes turn the tide in a sticky situation. You have your standard healing items, but also secondary weapons and traps that can do some minor damage.
While the game has many arenas for one to do battle in, they don’t offer any unique stage hazards or gimmicks. They’re sadly just the typical arenas you’d find in this kind of game. Regardless of the lacking arenas, the combat and general gameplay loop is still quite a lot of fun.
Graphically, this game is impressive for something that came out 7 years ago. The cell-shaded visuals bring the animated world of Naruto to life, to the point where some cut-scenes in the game look better than the anime scenes they were based on! These scenes are spectacular, though the quick-time events that play during these segments would sometimes distract me from fully getting into it.
Last thing I want to touch on is the music and voice-acting. The soundtrack for this game is pretty solid and perfectly mimics that of the TV show. The entire voice-cast of the anime returns to play their characters here, which is pretty common for Naruto games. It’s become less common for anime games in general to have English voice-acting in this day and age, so it was definitely great to see it here.
This was definitely a solid fighting game experience, at least in my eyes. It’s just such a well put-together fighting game, something the Switch definitely needs more of. Oh yeah, did I mention I bought the Switch version of this game? I’d say it’s probably the best way to play this game, due to being able to take it on the run. Couple that with the fact that you can buy it in a trilogy pack (which includes the first 2 games as well) for a rather cheap price, and you have a recipe for an incredibly accessible gaming experience.
Sure, the game isn’t all that unique when compared to other anime fighting games. On top of this, the amount of quick-time events is pretty excessive. Regardless of those minor things, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 3: Full Burst is truly an amazing experience. With a wide roster spanning over 80 fighters, a lengthy story mode, and fun combat, Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is certainly a wild wind that’ll carry you through its amazing world.