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Review: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 (Nintendo Switch)By Flynnie At 09.06.2018 13:40

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While the visuals haven't changed that much, work has evidently been put into refining and re-balancing many of the fighters and controls. The player no longer has to mash a bunch of random buttons to execute their Ultimate Jutsu in fights, and this allows for fights to flow more freely. The roster of characters has vastly expanded from the original 25 and now features 42, including new characters featured at the beginning of the Shippuden arcs, such as the Akatsuki. Typically, many of these characters are locked at the start of the game and need to be gained by fighting through the nine-chapter Ultimate Adventure mode.

Ultimate Adventure mode serves as the main one of Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, and the play style of this greatly varies from the original. The player is no longer aimlessly running around a barren village in a 3D sandbox, but is instead exploring a larger, more varied world map. The elephant in the room is that the game plays with a fixed camera angle similar to the original Resident Evils. It is understandable that the developer could not re-create all the villages featured in the game, but this is somewhat of a step-back compared to its predecessor.

This directs the player from point 'A' to point 'B' using a map marker, so it is clear where one has to go, yet while this is fun at first, it gets incredibly tiring running back and forth between the same scenarios over and over again. This switches characters occasionally, so you would be playing from a range of characters, including Jiraya, Kakashi, Asuma, and many others, which add a slight bit of variety. As for the story mode, it's insanely chatty, but rather than opting for a full set of FMV sequences, there are text bubbles (accompanied by voice acting) that play out using in the in-game engine.

The downside to all of this is that this cannot be skipped. The FMV sequences that CyberConnect2 has included are of high quality, and with essential QTE presses they ensure that the player watches through them. The QTE button presses are much more forgiving than in the first title, though, which required fast, precise input. Purists will appreciate the level and depth the story mode has gone into, which faithfully recreates many of the large set-pieces from the source material, although others will get tired of the mundane conversations being had.

Another improvement from the original is the inclusion of an online mode, alas not one player could be found online while in lobbies during the review process, something that may change over time.. or it might just get progressively worse. This could be potentially compounded even further by having less people playing when Nintendo introduces its paid online service in the latter part of 2018.

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Final Score
Strides ahead of the original, [i]Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2[/i]'s chaotic quick-time FMV sequences are stunning, and as the game focuses on a fan-favourite arc, the source material is stellar. The salient story is let down by the trudging of a back and forth around the world map, which serves no real purpose aside from stretching the game out. Its visual prowess has been somewhat blurred by its Nintendo Switch release, but it still plays excellently for those who want to try it. The fighting system has been improved by its own successors, though, so it can only really be recommended to pick this up based on the story arc represented in the Ultimate Adventure mode, otherwise it might be worth getting the latter instalment.



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