One of the hottest anime shows going right now is Naruto, which has already graced a variety of systems in videogame form - and done really well. While most of the Naruto games we've seen have been fighters, the latest title, Uzumaki Chronicles, takes us on the path of the mission-based action game.
In this game, you take control of the lovable orange-jumpsuited ninja Naruto and go on various missions assigned to you. As you complete missions, higher-difficulty assignments open up, offering different objectives and rewards.
While there's a good amount of missions to complete, many of them are simply variations on a theme - protect a wagon from bandits, defeat a certain amount of enemies, find certain items and so on. After a while, you'll probably want something new and unusual to come along. There's not much in the way of plot in-game, either - story scenes basically consist of characters talking about the current mission.
But the real meat of the game is in its beat 'em-up action sequences. Naruto has plenty of combat skills and thanks to the intuitive controls, they can all be put to very good use. Besides performing a variety of combos, Naruto can summon shadow clones to help him pummel enemies, charge up a wave of power to blow through a group or even make use of the infamous "Sexy Jutsu" to stun foes.
Limited-use long-range weapons, such as shuriken, fire bombs and knives, can be used when Naruto wants to strike a foe from a distance or break their defense. He can also equip special plates that will give him various boosts to strength and enable new combat skills. On some missions, Naruto will have other characters in tow and he can call them into combat temporarily to make use of their abilities. While's nothing particularly interesting about the action in Uzumaki Chronicles, it manages to be entertaining most of the time.
Uzumaki Chronicles isn't a particularly long or difficult game, but it can be very frustrating, thanks to a poor save system and the lack of a quit/reset option. Losing all your HP means game over, but if you mess up on your mission objective, you'll fail the mission outright. Both have annoying consequences. Since you can't save the game in mid-mission, you'll have to restart if you lose all of your health - and sit through all the unskippable cutscenes again. Failing a mission robs you of beneficial items - things you'll want as the game grows more difficult. You can't re-attempt missions after you've failed, so you'll have to hit the PS2's reset button and wait for everything to load if you want to try again.