Final Fantasy: an odd game to reference in a Naruto review, we’ll readily admit, but despite the distinct lack of turn-based battles it’s precisely what Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 reminds us of. Erase all those memories of exploring a sandbox Hidden Leaf Village in Ubisoft’s two (brilliant, if very weird) Naruto titles. Here you’re boxed into a series of fixed-camera scenes and asked to run up and down the same few streets, ferrying items and speaking to people while the same plinky music bores its way into your brain. Just like (you’ve guessed it) Final Fantasy, really.
Occasionally you’ll duck out of the main town and battle somebody in an open-arena scrap. Beyond their beauty, however, the fights are passable without every really excelling. The best you can say about the battles is that the ridiculously beautiful QTE sections are crowd-gathering showpieces – and when the highest praise you can level at the game involves Quick Time Events, there’s clearly an issue.
Ironically the first Ultimate Ninja Storm was the better game by a mile. Not just because it started the story off at a point where anybody could jump in, but because the free-roaming story mode let you explore outside the sequel’s camera boundaries. And you can’t randomly do that highly wrong and questionable (yet effective) Sexy Jutsu move anymore. We’re disappointed. Believe it and weep.
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Oct 20, 2010