Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 is Woefully Bad

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 could have easily taken features of the previous installment and improved them. Instead, they decided to implement an open-world mechanic that drags the game along as bad as the Anime filler episodes. Hopefully, the next installment is much better.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 is an action-adventure game taking place during the first half of the Naruto Shippuden Anime/Manga. The player controls various characters while battling even more foes. But is it an improvement over the previous game? Or is it less enjoyable? To preface the review, I am playing this on the Nintendo Switch. Click here for a review of the previous game.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 The Plot

Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 follows mainly Naruto’s journey 2 years after the events of Storm 1. Naruto has trained under the watchful eye of Jiraiya. And has returned stronger but still very gullible and not very smart. His goal is to bring back Sasuke and defeat the Akatsuki. An organization hidden in shadows.

Naruto shippuden ultimate ninja storm 2 - new team 7
Sai, a new member of the team.

All the other characters have also grown and matured in their own ways. Sakura is as strong as Tsunade but still as useless as ever. Apart from a battle with one of the Akatsuki and the Pain Arc. Sasuke has grown considerably in strength hoping to be able to first exact revenge on his brother. Then beat Naruto.

If you haven’t either read the manga or anime up to the Pain Battle Arc, and you have an interest outside of the game, then don’t play this until you have caught up. This title has been sitting in my backlog purely because of this. If this game didn’t contain its own filler, I would have recommended playing this game instead.

Be A Slow Ninja

Outside of battle, the player controls a character moving around the world of Naruto. Instead of being a truly open-world game, the player moved the characters via corridors that split into other directions. Like Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII. The difference between Storm 2 and the Final Fantasy games is there are no random battles.

The corridors are beautiful and rendered in the same style as the Anime. But they feel very empty and rather pointless. If the developer had stuck to the same game flow as the first game, it would have been a much better experience.

Naruto ultimate ninja storm 2 - naruto, kakashi, and sakura
Team 7 almost reunited.

The battle system feels like a copy and paste of the old Storm 1 system. However, there are some new additions. Such as quick time events. These take place during story battles and make for epic centerpieces. If you miss the buttons, the game restarts right before the last command. Which is a blessing as having to restart the battle again would be painful.

Hitting the buttons in quick succession results in a better score. And by finishing battles with higher health and in a quick time results in a lettered rank. Score a B, C, A, or S-rank and you receive a multiplier bonus to your storm points. Storm points are Ninja Storm’s currency and can be used to buy recovery items, music, and video clips. Great fun for the completionists out there.

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If you haven’t played the first game. The combat takes place on a 3D battlefield with a viewpoint that is usually behind your character. By combining Chakra attacks with normal combos, you can get the upper hand. But if you allow the enemy character to get too many combos on you, you more than likely fail. You can dodge these attacks by pushing the shoulder buttons on the Switch. Though you need Chakra reserves. Chakra reserves become depleted when using special attacks and can be restored via eating or standing still while channeling your chakra.

Overall, the gameplay was mediocre at best. There were some side quests, but I never felt the need to complete them. Combat is easy once you fight an enemy a few times. The gameplay outside of battle is boring. If the traveling could be skipped, then it would make the game far more enjoyable. The quick time events though frustrating are probably the best moments in the game. Which doesn’t bode well for the game.

Straight Out of the Anime

Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 looks like it comes straight from the Anime, except that the characters are rendered in full 3D. Each character looks exactly like they do in the Anime. Even the environments look like they have been copied and pasted into the game. However, they too have been rendered in 3D. It’s a shame considering how empty the World feels.

The animations are also very well put together. Especially during the quick time events seeing the grand scale of each battle really hits home how powerful each character really is. Especially Naruto who could easily level a city in his Tails form.

Naruto shippuden: ultimate ninja storm 2 - battle between kakashi and the enemy.
Come on Kakashi!

The soundtrack and the sound effects of Storm 2 feel like they belong. Nothing special and sometimes I forget it’s even there. But that isn’t a negative by any means. A good soundtrack should blend in with the game, and not be noticed.

No Slow-Downs on Performance

Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 on the Switch works very well. During the many hours I invested in the game the system did not suffer from any frame rate drops or graphical glitches. Considering the graphics are anime-style this is to be expected. And shouldn’t be a problem even for a handheld.

Game-Pad is a Must

If you are planning to play this game on the Nintendo Switch. I would recommend playing it using a gamepad. Especially when doing the quick time events, as the buttons are in closer proximity to your hands. This would be my recommendation for any game when playing at home.

Verdict

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 feels like a step back from the previous title. In a bid to make the game feel bigger the developer has made the game feel artificially longer with no payoff for the player. Naruto and Co are ninjas able to travel immense distances quickly, but the game makes you run at a slow jog. The combat has only slightly improved. But the game feels like a painful slog. I would only recommend this game to a fan of Anime/Manga. If you want a beat ‘em up there are plenty of better choices.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2
Naruto shippuden ultimate ninja storm 2 cover

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 could have easily taken features of the previous installment and improved them. Instead, they decided to implement an open-world mechanic that drags the game along as bad as the Anime filler episodes. Hopefully, the next installment is much better.

Operating System: Nintendo Switch

Application Category: Action Adventure

Editor's Rating:
3

Pros

  • Graphics look better than the anime
  • Get to relive the Pain Arc
  • Decent Quick Time Events

Cons

  • Gameplay is a long slog
  • Open-world that is barren
  • Combat is stale

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