A lot of the time, for example, you will have a lot of distance between you and your opponent. Jumping to the side can allow you to dodge the enemy's throwing weapons and ninjutsu, but you need a comeback plan. Do you expend chakra by speeding towards your foe and follow through with ninjutsu? Do you try your luck with your own throwing weapon, or lay down some traps? Or, if your character doesn't handle long-range combat at all, do you double-tap jump to perform a ninja dash in order to get closer?
You unlock a tonne of character during your single-player adventure, and each of them have their own gameplay nuances to get used to. Naruto for example is quick and agile, with attacks involving multiple clones of himself bicycle kicking his foes. Tenten is slower, which can make all the difference in your ability to dodge attacks, and her combo attacks not too powerful, so you need to make use of her throwing weapons and ninjutsu.
Certain characters even have the ability to transform into the mythical beasts they contain, but they are quite hard to control and need a whole new strategy when used.
Boss battles make up for a number of encounters in the Adventure mode, and they all provide enjoyable ways of mixing up the combat action. Usually you'll be fighting various Akatsuki villains in these scenarios, and they feature a combination of standard fighting, Quick Timed Events and special events.
Now, usually I despise QTEs with a passion, but Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2
implements them excellently, working as the bridge between various stages of the boss and providing a very flashy sequence to work through at the same time.
You'll be quite pumped during these sections, and they lead very nicely into a section of the boss that sees your foe change the rules of the game ever so slightly. One Akatsuki enemy changes shape to become something of a hairball with arms, holding himself up between two trees in a sort of 'Earth Song
' style. Your tactic is to approach him, avoiding the attacks along the way and launch air combos on his face.
Another boss battle will see you try to put down three Akatsuki clones at the same time in a small arena, with support characters providing whips and water jetstreams to keep them in place.
The adventure segments in-between fights are nothing special but as I say, rather inoffensive. Allowing you to explore various lands from the Naruto Shippuden
universe, this also helps link you between one story battle to another without resorting to simple cutscenes.
It's great for immersion, but the activities available are hardly inspiring. You can either run around collecting items to create new battle items and collectibles, or engage in sidequests that amount to nothing more than fetch missions. You're able to jump about in the world map ? some platforming action would be nice.
As a package, this game is nicely put together. The storyline is compelling and gives you quite a run for your money, packing in a large number of different story arcs from the anime and manga into a game that could command over 25 hours of play time.
Online battles play just as well as they do in single-player, with barely any lag despite the manic action cuts and dynamic ninjutsu sequences. The graphics are beautiful, with hand-painted backdrops that look like they've come straight from the animation.
The sound is your typical anime game fare ? butt-rock in battles, serene and chintzy music in towns. There's some janky voice work too here and there. Might Guy also sounds like Zap Brannigan from Futurama
, but maybe that's the point so I won't hold it against him.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Storm 2 once again defies the trend associated with licensed computer games by being a thoroughly entertaining brawler with a huge amount of depth. Fans will go absolutely nuts for it, but even those of us who have never touched the manga will find a lot of enjoyment in this title.
SPOnG Score: 89%