Oct 29, 2007
Not a fan of Naruto? Haven’t seen the anime? It doesn’t matter. Whether or not you like the cartoon, the game should be enjoyed for what it is - a fun romp for fans and newcomers alike.
We admit that we were skeptical. Criticisms of the early version were actually taken on board and the issues have now been rectified.
You’re no longer doomed to certain failure for the odd mistake, and the timing required is far more lenient. Unfortunately it’s soon clear that most bouts can be approached in the same way. Once you’ve knocked down the enemy you can simply stand back and unleash a Jutsu move to inflict big pain. A QTE section will dictate how powerful it ends up, and in a nice twist you’ll be thrown into a defensive mini-game should you be on the receiving end of one such move. But get used to these sequences - they crop up a lot. Yawn.
Konoha Village plays host to a large portion of the game, but to begin with you’ll only be able to search the streets. However, you’ll soon take on board a few missions that unlock special area-opening abilities. Within a few hours of starting you’ll be capable of scaling buildings, leaping huge, trouser-filling gaps and, impressively, walking on water - not to mention defeating foes that even your sensei cannot handle.
Aside from the set Jutsus you must learn to progress, you pretty much have free rein over how you wish to shape Naruto. Coins are scattered across the world, and collecting these will open up more and more items to purchase. New combos, moves and extra weapons can be obtained as and when you wish, and because you’ll unlock new areas you’ll often end up scouring fresh locations for these coins rather than the same trodden paths. There’s a very definite sense of progression, and each new move brings its own rewards. To top it all off, everything is wrapped up in a beautiful package. Scenes from the cartoon pepper the action to explain what’s going on so that even a Naruto newbie will understand.
Swallow your pride and dive in, because it may be Naruto, and it may be for kids, but (amazingly) it’s a bloody great game. Didn’t see that one coming.