Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Tokyo Game Show Hands-On PreviewBy Nikole Zivalich - Posted Sep 23, 2012
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is being developed by CyberConnect2 and published by Namco Bandai. These two companies have learned a lot since the last Naruto game, Generations, and have implemented the feedback from fans into their next Naruto title. One of the biggest complaints was the lack of boss battles, a problem thatCyberConect2 CEO Hiroshi Matsuya assures gamers has been addressed, big time.
The hands-on demo I saw at a Tokyo Game Show 2012 press event began with a cutsene of a full moon on a lake with lines of Japanese words latterly placed on the screen. The scene pans over a serene lake as a just as a massive dragon like creature ascended upon a city.
Different types of Naruto ninjas are preparing to meet the impending monster. As the main ninja appears from the shadows, a masked and cloaked figure follows. I'll admit character names escape me, but the beautiful animation style wasn't lost on me. Despite not being familiar with the anime, I could tell these cutscenes would fit right in. If the developers hoped to give gamers the feeling they were controlling an episode, they accomplished it.
The cutscene ends and a boss battle begins. The monstrous nine-tailed creature is hell-bent on destroying the village and everyone in it. A group of ninjas are defending the town from the rooftops. From the moment I grabbed the controller I could tell how lightning fast the gameplay would be. As the ninja, I used L1 and X to jump from rooftops to rooftop in a circular rotation of the map. Despite not understanding the language, I picked up on the controls pretty quickly. X was used to throw a shuyuken, an attack that did minimal damage but if you missed the opportunity to use a better attack, taking some HP is better than no HP. The real damage was done by jumping to assigned vantage points where circle could be used to attack. These attacks involved the ninja grabbing a giant beam, at least 4 times his size, to hit Nine Tails in the face.
Nine Tails had three bars of HP. Using Circle and Square wouldn't have been enough to take him out. By following an arrow on the screen, ninja was able to summon other ninja's strengths. One, an older man with red hair, was able to transform into a massive version of himself, on par with Nine Tail's size. Using Circle he was able to slash through Nine Tails' HP.
After more rooftop dodging, the character I was controlling was able to unlock another fellow fighter's powers. This time, another ninja is able to use magic attacks to take out Nine Tails. His attack was triggered by a series of quick time events. Quick time events in this sequence either consisted of two buttons or the repeated pressing of one. Before long Nine Tails was dead and the world was a little safer. Or so I thought...
A second battle immediately began. I doubt this is how the game plays out, but for the purposes of this demo I was able to see two distinct types of battles.
Battle number two was between main ninja and the mysterious masked man from before. This battle was far less grand in scale, but it took me a little longer to understand the necessary combos. Using Triangle I was able to charge Chakra. Once that bar was full, a series of Square and Circle combos were used to lower his health. I'll admit the language barrier was beginning to take its tole, but thanks to having just received Tekken Tag Tournament 2 in the office, I was able to spam the correct buttons in the just the right amount of time. Cloaked baddy was defeated, and a winner was me.
As someone who only has second hand knowledge of the Naruto series, I enjoyed the gameplay mechanics. The battle's were face paced and fluid. The response time was immediate, and I really did feel like I was kicking some massive Nine Tails ass in the anime series.