Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2

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Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2
Naruto Shippuden UNS 2 Box Art.jpg
Cover art featuring Sasuke Uchiha (left) and Naruto Uzumaki (right)
Developer(s) CyberConnect2
Publisher(s) Namco Bandai Games
Composer(s) Chikayo Fukuda
Series Naruto: Ultimate Ninja
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Release
Genre(s) Fighting
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, known in Japan as Naruto Shippuden: Narutimate Storm 2 (NARUTO-ナルト- 疾風伝ナルティメットストーム2) is a fighting game developed by CyberConnect2. It is the second installment of the Ultimate Ninja Storm series, is the sequel to Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm published by Namco Bandai Games. It is based on the popular anime and manga series Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto, and it was released during 2010 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It is also the very first Naruto game to be a multiplatform title. As a sequel to Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, the story and cast are based their Part II manga appearances, known in the anime as Naruto Shippuden. The game mainly stars title character Naruto Uzumaki, a teenage ninja in his fights against the terrorist organization Akatsuki.

The game was developed by CyberConnect2 while listening to fan demand in regards to its prequel. The team wanted to include more drama in this game in order to appeal to more gamers. Besides Naruto characters, the game features stars Tekken character Lars Alexandersson as a guest inspired by CyberConnect2 CEO Hiroshi Matsuyama once seeing his alternative design from Tekken 6 by Kishimoto. The audio was composed Chikayo Fukuda.

Critical response to the game has been mostly positive to average. Reviewers praised the visuals and boss fights that were positively compared to the anime series but criticized the lack of events in world map after completing the game's story mode. Nevertheless, Storm 2 has earned good sales becoming one of Bandai's bestselling games from 2010. A sequel, called Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, was released in 2013. All the Storm games were also rereleased in 2017 as part of a game collection as well as digital game.

Gameplay[edit]

The player is controlling Naruto Uzumaki (middle) and called the assist character Sakura Haruno (right) to aid him in the fight against Kakashi Hatake (left).

The gameplay retains many of the elements from the first game and has 23 fighting stages. It has 9 chapters including the prologue and extra chapter. Each character can also gain new combos and jutsu by activating the Awakening Mode. Lars Alexandersson, a character from Tekken 6 whose third costume was designed by Masashi Kishimoto, is also playable in the game. As the story progresses, players will unlock new Jutsu and Ultimate Jutsu for certain characters.[2] Jutsu clashes, however, have been removed.

Support characters return with 2 new features. The first feature is Support Types. These types are Defense, Attack, and Balanced. Each of these can be unlocked for each support character and will decide the actions of the support character during Support Drive level 1. The 2nd new feature is the Support Drive. Support Drive has 2 levels. Level 1 is activated once the players support characters are summoned enough times. When Support Drive level 1 is activated, the players support characters will summon themselves automatically depending on their support type depending on what actions the player is executing. When a support character automatically summons itself, it will not reset the support character charge gauge, and can even summon when the gauge is not full. A support character cannot be manually summoned by the player if it has already automatically summoned itself. If a support character is set to Defense, it will automatically summon itself when the player is charging chakra, block the opponent from dashing into the player.[3]

An example of a quick time event in which the player is has to press the circle button in order to defeat the enemy.

When a support character is set to Attack, it will help the player attack the opponent through combos, and knock the opponent back when a combo sends them flying. When a support character is set to Balanced, they will throw projectiles alongside the player when the player uses chakra projectiles and block incoming Ultimate Jutsus, at the expense of losing that support for a while. When Support Drive level 2 is activated, for a limited amount of time the player will be capable of releasing a Team Ultimate Jutsu. A Team Ultimate Jutsu is activated by hitting the chakra button 3 times and then the attack button. A Team Ultimate Jutsu drains an enormous amount of the players chakra, and does massive damage if it makes contact with an unguarded opponent.[4]

The game does not have free roaming in the same sense as the original, instead it is replaced by more traditional JRPG screens and movement. In addition to the Leaf Village, players are able to travel outside the village, ranging from forests to deserts, and also the Hidden Sand Village. Boss battles have returned, with quick time events and cutscenes.[5]

Players can access multiple online features; quick matches have opponents chosen at random, ranked matchees with leader boards, match customization, as well as the availability to host matches.[6]

Plot and characters[edit]

The game's adventure mode covers the original manga and anime's starting from the young ninja Naruto Uzumaki's return to his ninja village, Konohagakure. Across the story mode, Naruto and his allies fight many enemies from a criminal organization known as Akatsuki ending with his encounter against acting leader, Pain, who actually works for a man calling himself Madara Uchiha.[7] Clearing them all unlocks an additional "fragment" chapter detailing Taka's failed capture of Killer Bee, following their alliance with Akatsuki.

Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 has 44 characters and 15 support characters. While Naruto is at first present with his initial Shippuden techniques, later in the game he is playable with his "Sage" techniques as a separate character.[8] Additionally, Tekken 6's Lars Alexandersson is a guest character. Lars appears in his costume from Tekken 6 designed by Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto.[9] While unlockable through the game, the character of Minato Namikaze can be instantly used with a code that comes with the game's limited edition.[10]

Development[edit]

Hiroshi Matsuyama stated the CyberConnect2 staff wanted to fixissues from the original Storm game.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 has been in development since the release of the first Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm title. The multiplayer feature was added based on player feedback from the first game.[11] Due to the series' popularity worldwidely, CyberConnect2 decided to release it for the first time for Xbox 360 consoles.[12] The game was developed by CyberConnect2's Fukuoka studio in Japan.[13] In adding new features, it was a matter of trial and error, in addition to balancing all the elements so each character has a fair chance of winning a fight. A cited example is of a fight between young Naruto and Jiraiya, where the staff made adjustments so it was equally fun and empowering playing as either character.[14] The team wanted to "recreate" the look and feel comics during the videos and cinematic sequences. This required going through the whole game and adjusting elements to fit this ambition while ensuring the gameplay remained responsive. All the sequences were worked out using storyboards beforehand, then the gameplay elements were created, before the aesthetic and sound design parts were added in.[15] The team found this challenging due to the goals of making it as equal as the anime.[13] In contrast to the Ultimate Ninja games made for the PlayStation 2, the team was able to add more strategy to the next generation consoles thanks to Storm 2 the fact the game could allow players use two assistant characters.[16] Masashi Kishimoto supervised the game's original contents and approved many of the original parts of the game's story mode, finding them well made.[12]

CyberConnect2 worked in order to bring more appeal in Storm 2 than its prequel adding more special effects and scenes with different angles.[17] This is mostly noticed in game's boss battles that as the fight continue the environment changes. In one example, Sakura Haruno and Chiyo fight the boss Sasori. As the battle continues the cave where the characters are inside is destroyed. The team expressed difficulties in making these fights. In other boss battles, the fighting system changes such as when Gaara has to use projectile techniques while flying around his village chasing Deidara.[18] The staff visited fansites that talked about the first Storm game and thus listen to their issues with it so that new gamers would notice major improvements in the sequel.[19] This was done to the point gamers who are not familiar with the franchise found it interesting.[7]

The CEO Hiroshi Matsuyama said that one of the most careful battles he wanted to make was the fight between Sasuke Uchiha and his brother, Itachi. This was done because by that time Itachi was Matsuyama's favorite character to the point he felt emotional while developing it. Besides including the cast of Naruto in their older forms, the game features Lars Alexandersson from the Tekken fighting series. This was done because for Tekken 6 Kishimoto served as a guest character designer for Lars. The design attracted Matsuyama who requested the Tekken staff to include it. In including Lars, both members from the Naruto and Tekken games were surprised by how well he fitted within the cast. Although Lars does not have a story in the game, Matsuyama expected gamers to enjoy playing as him in regular battles and online gameplay.[7] The artificial intelligence was improved to make the characters' fights more entertaining alongside the new boss fights.[4] Matsuyama also refrained from including downloadable content in the game.[16]

Release[edit]

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 was officially announced on December 20, 2009 by Namco Bandai Games at a Jump Festa event. V Jump magazine revealed the game a few days beforehand.[20][21] As CyberConnect2's first multi-platform project, they worked closely with Microsoft.[22] The pre-release playable demo for Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 was first mentioned in the official Japanese website on July 8, 2010[23] and was made available for download on July 29, 2010 in the Japanese PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.[24] The demo was also made available in an English version on the European PlayStation Network and Xbox Live on August 25, 2010. The English demo was also released on the American PlayStation Network and Xbox Live on August 24, 2010.[1] Namco Bandai announced on September 27, 2010, the game had gone gold.[25] Hiroshi Matsuyama was pleased to announce that the game was released in close dates worldwidely.[4]

The music of the game was composed by Chikayo Fukuda. An original soundtrack titled Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 - The Original Video Game Soundtrack was released on October 15, 2010 in Europe featuring a total of fourteen tracks as part of a limited edition of the game.[26]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
PS3 Xbox 360
Destructoid 8.5/10[27] N/A
Eurogamer 8/10[6] N/A
Game Revolution C+[28] C+[28]
GameSpot 7/10[29] 7/10[29]
GameTrailers N/A 8.4/10[30]
GameZone 7/10[31] 7/10[31]
IGN 8/10[32] 8/10[32]
Joystiq N/A 3.5/5 stars[33]
PALGN 6.5/10[35] N/A
VideoGamer.com 7/10[34] 7/10[34]
Aggregate score
Metacritic 76/100[36] 74/100[37]

The game received "average" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[37][36] Many sites complimented the story mode as well as the graphics which might attracts multiple gamers who are not too familiar to the Naruto series.[29][27][31] Anthony Gallegos from IGN complimented the game stating he while he was not a fan of Naruto, he was impressed by the game's narrative to the point of caring about the characters' fates,[32] although GameSpot found that some parts might confusing to some of them.[29] Another common aspect praised by the reviewers was the boss fights for its use of cinematic scenes and quick time events with VideoGamer.com stating gamers would be amazed by the game's quality during these fights.[29][32][34] GameTrailers also found the story appealing to more than just Naruto fans despite finding cliches. At the same time, he found the video game to major improved sequel compared to the first Storm game, also enjoying how some characters can be unlocked.[30] However, while finding these boss fights appealing, journalists still found there were not too many of them, leaving some of other fights anticlimatic.[27][35] Eurogamer agreed feeling the Storm 2 was a good sequel based on the new characters, new modes as well as its online mode.[6] The inclusion of Tekken guest character Lars Alexandersson was also well received by writers.[38][34]

Other critcisms of the game was that most characters had similar moves and sidequest that do not involve fights.[35] While the visuals were praised, the world map was criticized for not having too many activities other than finding items as well as characters interactions.[29][27][29] Negative points were centered on the noticeable long loading times that happen during the story mode as well as similarities between characters' moves, which made it lack the appeal of famous fighting games.[29][33] However, EndGadget's Ludwig Kietzmann praised the fights for how in some cases the player has to focus on interrupting the enemy's attacks. Kietzmann felt the worldmap in the game was not entertaining due to lack of events once the game is beaten.[33] Due to the use of items within fights and as well as sub-missions, the game has also been compared with Eastern role-playing games.[27][33][34] Brian Rowe from GameZone said the worst aspect of the game was its multiple use of arenas which he called "flat rings".[31] GameTrailers and Game Revolution had opposite opinions regarding the audio. While the former praised the soundtrack and use of both English and Japanese voices were praised,[30] the latter was harsher, finding the cast unlikable, disliked the storyline and panned the voiceovers.[28]

Sales[edit]

Namco Bandai hoped Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 would have sold 700,000 units by November.[39] While the PlayStation 3 version sold 63,675 units in its Japanese debut, the Xbox 360 had poor sales, selling only 3,000 units. Siliconera believed this was mainly due to the fact the first Storm game was not released in that console.[40] The game shipped 1 million copies worldwide; 500,000 in Europe, 340,000 in North America and 160,000 in Japan by November 25, 2010.[41] In May 2011, Namco Bandai reported it became its second best-selling game from 2010 behind Tekken 6 with 1.1 million units sold.[42]

Legacy[edit]

Due to young gamers not being able to play Storm 2 as a result of the price of current consoles, a spin-off game, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact, was released on the handheld console PlayStation Portable so that it might be more accessible.[43] A sequel to Storm 2, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, was released in 2013. Multiple changes were made to the gameplay such as the use of Awakenings were made in order to make fights enjoyable.[2] On August 25, 2017, Bandai Namco released Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Legacy which contains the game three Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm. At the same time, Storm 2 and its prequel and sequels were released online.[44]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]