Platform: Xbox 360
Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: Ubisoft Montreal
Rating: T for Teen
Review by: Karma del Valle
As a fan of both manga and anime first and a gamer second, I’ve seen and played just about ever Naruto game out there and was disappointed by many of them and slightly surprised by one (Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes for the PSP). That is, until I picked up a copy of Naruto: Rise of a Ninja for the Xbox 360. It’s not only a fun game but it’s also the best Naruto game you will play on the Xbox 360.
Rise of a Ninja doesn’t offer a new and original story like most of the games that have been released on past generation platforms like the PlayStation 2 but rather it retells the story from the very beginning so those who are new to our favorite ninja will learn his story. Told through footage taken straight out of the anime series, we witness Naruto Uzumaki’s beginnings and his connection with the Nine-Tailed Fox Spirit. We see him as he was when we first saw him in the first episode … something of an outcast in the Leaf Village but never losing sight of the fact of his dream of one day becoming the next Hokage.
Of course, they just don’t hand out the title. Naruto must prove himself and this is exactly what he does in the game. Rise of a Ninja allows you to not only freely roam your environment (including all of Konoha) and take on missions from high-ranking ninjas such as Kakashi-sensei, Iruka-sensei and even the Hokage himself. The main missions are straight out of the manga and anime with a few side quests to boot as well (e.g. deliver ramen or retrieve stolen items from bandits).
What makes Rise of a Ninja such a great game aside from the fact that you get to play key moments from the series (up to the Chinin Exams, no less) but you also get to interact with just about every character from the past fifty or so episodes. So aside from fighting alongside Naruto’s companions such as Sakura or Sasuke but you’ll aso run to characters like Neji, Shikamaru and even Gaara just to name many of the characters you can interact with throughout the game.
Also, the fighting and ability distribution is handled beautifully. Sure, Naruto can kick tail and unleash some powerful combos but he can also pull of his Shadow Clone Jutsu as well as put villiagers at ease with his Sexy Jutsu. Like the series beginning, Naruto starts off with basic moves and gradually can purchase or gain more abilities and power later. It’s almost impossible to beat Sasuke in a friendly sparring battle in the beginning but the more you train the more you can really lay the hurt on him.
Control-wise, the game handles nicely enough so even those who have never picked up a Naruto game can get comfortable with the action this game throws at you. Some battles can get rather tough but thanks to a solid upgrading system, familiar Naruto weapons at your disposal and the ability to use a helping hand from items friends pass on to you to raise your energy and chakra, you can get along just enough to see the end.
The game is also easy on the eyes and Ubisoft does an amazing job of bringing the look of the animated series in full color. The detailed visuals make everything from the Leaf Village to the surrounding forests look amazing. Even the visual effects are a wonderful nod to the show. The sound is also especially good since the English dub voice acting is present and everyone sounds the way they should.
Naruto: Rise of a Ninja for the Xbox 360 deserves a place among your collection whether or not you enjoy the series. Fans will seriously find a lot to love about this game and since there’s a fighting mode you can share with a friend the replay value on this one is pretty high. Overall, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Replay Value: Medium