Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden

PS2 series installment still packs a chakra-infused punch

This is similar to the Ultimate Jutsu moves, which have returned as well. Each character has three, and the cut-scenes they take place in aren’t too shabby at all. If you’d rather just whale on an opponent sans storyline, there is of course a Free Battle mode with 52 characters, one of the largest selections in the series. This includes characters from the original series, making matches like young versus older Naruto or young versus older Sakura possible.

Speaking of the past, Hero Mode allows you to review the story up to Shippuden in a sequence of flashbacks and fights that can be unlocked with “pieces of memory” gained in Master Mode. In another mode, you can visit the Shop to purchase in-game virtual memorabilia like Ultimate Jutsu videos, music themes and 3D rotatable figurines with your hard-earned ryo.

So yes, Ultimate Ninja 4 is still on the PS2, but in a world of next-gen titles, holds up surprisingly well (though the PS2 load times offer the regular and painful reminder of the console’s limitations). Still, the game itself feels like fast and furious ninja fun that will be accessible to series fans and first-timers, while capturing the infectious optimism of the eponymous character and his anime series.

Mar 11, 2009

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