Hands-On Preview of Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles

The anime series Naruto has not only been a successful television show, it has also held its own as a fun video game series. The most recent title in the franchise will debut in November, and is named Nurato: Uzumki Chronicles. Bandai-Namco sent us a pre-release version of the game, and we,ll give you our hands-on impressions in this preview.

The Naruto series of games are anime-styled fighters, based upon the characters in the anime TV shows. The primary character, Naruto, is an outcast in his village because he houses the feared Nine Tailed Fox spirit in his body. The spirit is imprisoned in Naruto for safe keeping, but the townsfolk fears him because of this.

While the other Naruto games were first and foremost about fighting, N:UC departs from this and becomes an adventure/fighting title. You still get a chance to fight to your heart,s content, but you do it in the context of a story where Naruto completes assignments and missions to help Hidden Leaf village overcome evil bandits and robbers.

As with previous titles, fighting moves are dependant on specific button sequences. These moves are then linked together to form combos. The game offers a tutorial mode to train and familiarize you with offensive attacks, defense, using Jutsu moves (special attacks) and how to switch characters in the middle of a battle. The tutorial is good and very thorough, and gamers who are not familiar with the Naruto franchise should have no problem in ramping up their skills in order to play. The button combos seem to be less complex when compared to previous Narutogames.

For this installment of Naruto, a whole new world has been shaped and formed. Previous titles have used cel shaded animation, mimicking the look of the TV show. In N:UC, the whole world of Naruto has been transformed into 3D. You,ll be able to enter villages, meet familiar characters, and battle enemies – all in a 3D-rendered world. For fans of the previous titles, this may take a little getting used. The odd thing about it all is that I was so used to seeing the Naruto universe in anime style, that my mind would remember the 3D action as if it were in 2D. (Some psychologists would probably have something to say about this.) Graphics look good, and seeing Naruto in three dimensions is a unique experience.

Gameplay revolves around the classic style of using a world map to go from location to location. Your mission objectives will range from finding objects to helping the village citizenry with their problems. As with all Naruto games, the off-beat humor and sarcasm is alive and well in this title. In one sequence, Naruto is threatened by ninja thieves. They give him two options: give them his money or die. Naruto replies, "How about a third option and I kick your butts?" As you defeat enemies and collect items and money, you,ll be able to level up your characters by altering their abilities.

In addition, you can switch characters at a moments notice and fight as these secondary members of your team. There is a time limit on how long you can use them (in the form of a decreasing meter), but during your time controlling them, you,ll be able to use their special attacks and Jutsu moves. For example, Choji – who always has his mind on eating – is able to turn himself into a big round human boulder, and crash through objects and opponents that would otherwise stop Naruto. Switching over to other characters can aid you in defeating especially difficult foes. Naruto is no slouch in the Jutsu powers category and can unleash his signature Shadow Clone move by replicating himself and attacking the enemy via multiple Narutos, as well as a powerful attack known as the Rasengan.

There is a new system of enhancing your skills and attributes in the game by using skill plates and skill chips. Think of skill plates as a jigsaw puzzle with the pieces left out. The skill chips are the parts to the puzzle. You increase your skills by buying pieces. Each piece has a certain ability to either enhance your attacks, defense or other characteristics, and as it is with jigsaw puzzles you have to place them so that they will fit. The skill chips are made in various geometrical shapes, and depending on what sort of skill plates you have, that will determine which pieces you should buy. All of this is done in an in-game menu. Weapons and items are not bought, but traded within the town. The only use for money in this game is to enhance skills.

This game is much more plot driven than any of the other titles in the series, and is a departure from the norm. There is still plenty of fighting in N:UC, of course, but with a more developed storyline and a heavy emphasis on adventure aspects as well, Nurato: Uzumki Chronicles looks to be an interesting addition to the Naruto franchise.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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