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Uncovering a Gem

May 29, 2012

Okay, I’m going to give you a quick fact about myself. I hate movie and TV adaptation games on the most part, because I don’t feel that many developers put enough time into capturing the ‘essence’ of the movie or TV series they are adapting. The only one I can bring to mind that I like is The Lord of The Rings : The Two Towers back on the PS2. Oh, and perhaps Harry Potter: The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Now I’m not saying I hate all games which are based on movies, such as Star Wars. I unconditionally love all Star Wars games, even the bad ones. I would say Star Wars Starfighter (the second game I ever had on my PS2) is still my favourite Star Wars game, but since it doesn’t follow the characters or plot of Episode One, I don’t count it as a game based on a movie.  Other examples of games I like but don’t count as games based on movie or TV include Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb (PS2) and Star Wars : Bounty Hunter (PS2).

So we just got it straight. Remember, I tend to dislike games that try to follow the direct plot of movies or TV, mainly because they are usually rushed out the door to meet up with release dates or when popularity is at a temporary high.

Though you’ll be happy to know I found a TV series adaptation game on the PS3 which I thoroughly believe captures everything I love about the series.

Okay, I said TV series, but it’s really a TV anime series which is itself adapted from comic panels. That series is Naruto.

Now, before you all sigh and close the window,wait. I know some people hate anime with a passion and I admit I used to be one of them, but I really got into Naruto. What started out as a friend’s joke purchase became an addiction for both of us.

So addicted to the series, unable to wait for one of us to buy the next boxset, I bought the first Naruto game for PS3 and was cheap on Amazon.

Within 30 minutes of playing Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, I decided that this is the kind of attention that needs to be given to movie or TV games.  Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm just oozes the essence of the game into your lap. It’s delicious to behold.

I haven’t experienced that moment yet which happens in most TV or movie games where the hero goes off on a tangent and drops the story of the film to pad out the playtime with a new area not seen in the movie or tv series, or learns moves that they can’t know.

One example for such an incident: in the Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith game (which I loved unconditionally, remember), Anakin Skywalker, after wigging out and going all dark-side, somehow learns force lightning. Now, I don’t want to sound anal because I found it enjoyable to fry Jedi with force lightning, but every time I used it I couldn’t help thinking “shouldn’t Anakin just have force choke instead? I mean, that’s something he actually does in the film!” Noooooo. Rather than take time to give him a sweet force choke move, they just recycle a bad guy move and give to Anakin.

Anyway, rant over.

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm is littered and infused with stuff from the series. Besides the obvious ninjustu (special moves) for each individual character, 25 in the game in total, the developers managed to work in difficult concepts into the combat.  For example, when you counter successfully your character will automatically perform a substitution justu which moves you out of your opponent’s range. I was surprised they managed to work in that move into the combat system.  If you have seen the series you will know that its not really a defensive or offensive tactic, its more an illusion used by Naruto and Co.

The combat system is simple with one single attack button, but fear not hardcore fighting fans, there is depth. You have to manage your chakra (a special attack bar) and use items or support characters to keep your opponent pinned so you can charge your chakra.  This tactical on the fly thinking reminds me of some of the best action set pieces in the series.

The game empowers you and makes you feel like a badass and you get that weird sense of excitement before you start a fight, just like you would when watching two of your favourite characters go up against each other in the series. You get that same rush when you see moves lovingly re-created or little nods to running jokes or character traits in the series within the game.

The series’ running joke of Naruto’s addiction to ramen has been used wonderfully; by acquiring special ingredients you can deliver them to the chef and he’ll make Naruto a special ramen which will increase Naruto’s maximum chakra in the Ultimate Ninja Mode (campaign).

The campaign follows the first part of the Naruto continuity which covers five huge story arcs. The amount of collection, side missions and quests is boggling as you run around the recreated Hidden Leaf Village (where Naruto lives). I have sunk in six hours now and only completed two arcs.

The series’ voice acting talent is there and they do a wonderful job of bringing their characters into a video game adaptation. There are two vocal tracks on the game itself, you can listen to the Japanese voice acting if you are a hardcore anime nut, or in English if you happened to have only experienced English Naruto voice acting.

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm proves that developers are capable of doing movies and TV series’ justice in the gaming medium, so why do some developers seem content to push them out half done, just short of their proper potential? Cynically, we all know the answer. It’s for profit. It’s about time developers stood up against this.

If you are a fan of Naruto, buy the Naruto games. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm covers the first part. The sequel covers the second part known as Naruto: Shippuden. The newest Naruto game known as Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations brings both parts together in one package. All of this is available on the Playstation 3.

In the comments section below, tell me about your favourite movie/TV game adaptations (if you have any!).

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2012 8:48 am

    Please note that do no love the dancing mode on Kinect just because I love all star wars games, I just I love them unconditionally within reason (I havent played the dancing mode and I don’t want to), just come on people can we get the motion controlled lightsaber to work please!

  2. June 6, 2012 7:12 pm

    I approve. Maybe because it’s the first time I’ve stumbled across something naruto-related without reading through a string of insults first, but that doesn’t matter!

    While the first Ps3 adaptation wasn’t to my liking, the sequel was wonderful. So many hours of my day went to that game. D: As it goes with some games and films and such, they occasionally need more than one try to get it right. And once this made it to the ps3, they managed to get it right. <3 Even the folks (the ones I know, at least) who automatically despise Naruto seem to manage to enjoy the games.

    That said, they did have at least five or six of these games previously and most of them were, in the end, rather terrible. D:

    In short, I agree! Despite the bad attention it recieves, mostly due to word of mouth, it's definitely a series worth trying. I personally enjoy the combat – It makes a change to the standard fighting game style that most people would expect.

    Thumbs up from me. :D

  3. June 6, 2012 8:36 pm

    Thanks for the comment Jo, Nice to know someone is reading and appreciating my work
    I have seen just how epic UNS 2 is, and I can’t wait to play it, but I really would like to play the game after I have watched Shippuden.
    I’m currently just leaving UNS on the chasing Sasuke arc, even though what happens to Sasuke, I would like to watch it happen in the anime first.

    Thanks for your comments :) please share our site with any friends who would be interested

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