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Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 review

This 3D brawler is clearly the most ultimate-est ultimate ninja of all

On top of that, if you don't like a certain character's special attacks, you can jump into the customization menu and assign them any of the other characters' jutsu. They cut back the number of "ultimate jutsu" finishing moves each character can have (from three to one), which is a bit weak, but at least you get to pick the finisher you want to see as opposed to being stuck with a bunch you don't.

The story mode hasn't changed. Once again, players can dive into four different story arcs and participate in key battles from the TV show. However, they did expand the RPG mode significantly. Instead of outright picking missions from a list, you now have to explore Hidden Leaf Village, talk to people to get missions, and track down scrolls and other items to enhance your character.

Furthermore, the experience you gain from battle is poured into your character's attack, health, defense, and other attributes. In turn, that bulked up character, as well as any new characters or jutsu you've unlocked, can be used in the other game modes.

Little was done to beef up this latest game's graphics and audio. That's understandable, considering how hard it pushes the system. The 3D backdrops and large, cel-shaded characters look great, as they always have. Again, the Japanese-rock soundtrack and screechy battle dialogue were lifted straight from the TV show, only now you have the option of choosing between the English or Japanese voice cast.

The only audio-visual upgrade worth mentioning are the wildly elaborate cutaways that appear when characters perform jutsu and ultimate jutsu attacks. Naruto's shadow clone jutsu, for example, now involves a series of camera transitions and comic book overlays that show him leaping into the air, splitting into multiple clones, and tagging the opponent multiple times. Other finishers show the characters transforming into huge, screen-filling beasts, which you then get to control for a while.

More Info

DescriptionTurns out that the last two games were anything but "Ultimate," because Ultimate Ninja 3's got 40 playable characters, nearly 60 missions, and the all new Summoning mode. We're inclined to believe it.
Franchise nameNaruto
UK franchise nameNaruto
US censor ratingTeen
Alternative namesNaruto: Ultimate Ninja III
Release date25 March 2008 (US), (UK)