Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2 PS2 Review

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2 is a fighting game, so it’s only natural to compare it to the likes of Tekken, Dead or Alive or Street Fighter. Comparing is something we all do too much of, and Ultimate Ninja 2 shouldn’t actually be compared to the earlier mentioned games, as it’s not exactly from the same dojo as the likes of Tekken, instead it’s more focussed on being approachable and attractive to the younger and more casual player.

As it’s a fighting game it’s about knocking the living daylights out of people, although it doesn’t exactly have character command lists that resemble the controls of a rocket. Most of the basic moves and combos are done with the circle button and some directional movements, which means that this is a brawler that is good for novices or for those veterans who simply want a break from beating their fingers up.

It doesn’t get much deeper even when super moves are brought into the equation, and when super moves are normally mentioned it’s the cue for clumsy hands to take their leave. Secret Techniques is the fancy name for these uber powerful and eyeball arousing attacks, and all they need is a press of the triangle button (the amount of presses determines the level of technique), some Chakra (body and spiritual energy) in your on-screen meter and a cool tap of the circle button. The attacks themselves may be mere spectacles, although in spite of this you don‘t become a simple spectator, as you are prompted to copy button presses, hammer buttons as hard as possible, or dizzy the stick by spinning it wildly. If you are the attacker being successful with these button presses or stick spins will continue your attack (at least until it goes through its entire works) whilst damage inflicted can be minimised if you are the one in peril. It’s a nice idea, and as these lengthy attacks cut-away from the battle, and are frequently in use, it gives us all something to do other than watch the over the top beat downs.

The game has all the hallmarks of any anime action, which means it’s fast and occasionally confusing, but nowhere near as zany as some. Bouts take place on two planes, with the option to switch between the higher and lower plane at will, if you’re a coward or just fancy a breather this can get you out of some tight spots. Items found in the environments can also be tossed at your opponent and handicaps them by slowing them down, sealing their chakra gauges, poisoning them or just blowing up in their anime faces. It’s really enjoyable and nothing at all like Tekken.

Ultimate Road is the main mode for those wanting a storyline to justify all that fighting, lets say these folk are thr fans then. Apparently there’s important points of the Naruto story highlighted here as well as a brand new storyline that is exclusive to the game. Fans will be dancing in delight. The actual mode has some walking around bits where you converse with others and are able to try out some mini games, although fighting is of course the focal point, and you’ll be doing a lot of bloodying and bruising in the Ultimate Road mode, well you would be if it wasn’t a kids game. It’s not simply about fighting though, as you are assigned with tasks that must be completed if you want to continue Naruto’s story. Perhaps you have to finish the fight with a certain amount of health or chakra left in their respective gauges, win with a particular level of secret technique or just keep the fight going until the clock hits zero. The list goes on. This is pleasing, although it does set the game up for some frustrating brawls, and as the target audience are often a temperamental lot, expect a few broken joypads. Those easily irritated may want to skip this mode as well.

There’s over 30 characters, with many that need to be unlocked, as well as purchasable bonus content, so as fan service Ultimate Ninja 2 does just that, and serves the fans well. For those who think Chakra sounds like some sort of exotic dish, then don’t let it put you off, as you may very well enjoy this too.

We cannot finish the review without mentioning the attractive and sunny visuals, so let us go ahead. The cel-shaded graphics are bright and very beautiful, certainly doing a commendable job in their attempts to measure up to the animation of the show. The super attacks look stunning, the fast animations of the characters are great to watch, and Naruto’s yellow hair has every spike in place. Job done.

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2 is aimed at an entirely difference audience to the kind of people who wholly enjoy dedicating their time to learning complex control strings, but there’s nothing wrong at all with that, and it’s accessibility certainly gives you a feeling of power without having to go to great lengths to achieve it. Fans will love the game, whilst those who don’t mind some easy to learn casual brawling will also be in for an anime flavoured treat.

We still can’t get a victory over Pervy Sage though.