Our initial impressions of this battler are pretty fair. It looks nice enough, with simple cel-shaded character models set against some attractive and diverse backgrounds, and the control mechanics, while feeling a little %26lsquo;old%26rsquo;, are easy to grasp.
The fundamentals of the game are simple. You can choose three characters. Fights take place on a 2D plane, and you can dodge in and out of the screen by tapping either shoulder button.
Finding the game%26rsquo;s hidden depths isn%26rsquo;t quite so easy, though. Swapping characters in and out of battle and activating supers can feel a touch confusing.
And when you start, you%26rsquo;ll hit a level of difficulty where you get your face pounded into the ground without any idea of how or why, the CPU dishing out unholy amounts of damage in a blaze of blurred, cel-shaded neon madness. Once you get your eye in, though, you begin to work it out.
It all comes down to character swapping and super-move activation. Characters can be brought in and out of battle mid-combo, for example. You can start a combo with one, and half-way through, bring in another character to do their bit. This is the first key to understanding the game.
Second is the cueing system. Characters in a battle build up their super meter for damage done and taken, while characters out of battle build up their meter in the background.
Mastering how, when and why you use a character or activate their super is where the game gets its longevity, and various combinations of characters work well for different strategies.
At this point, Naruto really blossoms as a fighting game, and when you take into account the counters and dodges, you have a balanced, tactical battler with some really outrageous supers.
It may take a while to grasp, and it certainly takes practise to master, but underneath it all there%26rsquo;s a very solid and enjoyable fighting game.