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Platform

PSP

 

Genre

Fighting

 

Publisher

Bandai Namco

 

Developer

CyberConnect 2

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

June 24, 2008

 

 

- Lots of gameplay modes and options

- Good graphics that stays true to the source material

- Excellent replayability

 

 

- Multiplayer is ad-hoc only (no online)

- Progressing through character dialog can be tedious

- Not a huge step from the first Ultimate Ninja Heroes

 

 

Review: Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2 (Wii)

Review: Ultimate Mortal Kombat (DS)

Review: Soul Calibur IV (PS3)

 

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Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 2 - The Phantom Fortress

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

“Believe it!” – this title has entered into the race for the longest game title in history but I’m happy to report that the repetitive audio phrase from the yellow haired ninja has at least changed. Now, at random times I hear “How’d ya like that?” rattling around in my brain.

 

naruto ultimate ninja heroes 2          naruto ultimate ninja heroes 2

 

The latest Naruto offering comes packed with several game mode options. New to the series is the Mugenjo mode which actually offers a story to go along with the fighting.

 

It’s unique, melding together the classic dungeon crawl style of moving through the fortress with fighting. You can only progress using scrolls which you choose, which invoke either a fight or a mini-game. Once complete, the scroll bridges the gap between rooms allowing you to move forward (or upward) throughout the fortress. The mini-games consist of riddles or other small challenges (climbing a tree

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as fast as possible for example). Although limited, these break up the fighting elements quite nicely and I found them a good game mechanic to move the story forward. On the downside, the story part of Naruto will slow things down as characters say their piece. If you’re a big fan of the series you’ll enjoy this part—if not, it will annoy you. Both voice and text are included and although you can skip the voice part it still takes many button presses to skip

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this part of the game.

 

The Heroes mode lets you create a team to pit against another with various RPG elements along the way and the VS mode is standard one on one battle that you would expect from a fighter. You can choose how to upgrade certain characters and also decide the order of your team that fights. Strategy is key here as the beginning battles are easy but the later ones get tougher and your decisions will have great impact on how you do.

 

The wireless mode of the game makes it seem like you can fight someone else online, but in fact it’s only for systems that are nearby you. On the upside, the other person does not require a copy of the game but if you planned on showing your fighting prowess around the world, I’m afraid you are out of luck here.

 

The Ninja Road lets you take your ninja points (gained from winning battles and other challenges) and progress down the road unlocking images, photos, and movies. You’ll have to enter Naruto’s house to see these items but it’s a unique way of unlocking items as you progress. I found that I received the most points in Heroes mode so if you are anxious to unlock some extras, skip the story mode and start there.

 

naruto ultimate ninja heroes 2          naruto ultimate ninja heroes 2

 

Another nice touch for the game is the choice of having English or Japanese voiceovers which (when combined with the English only text overlays) might give you a more authentic Naruto experience.

 

The game does have a few pitfalls. The combat system is not particularly deep – although you certainly need to have good timing at points I often found that I could corner opponents up against a wall and keep kicking them until they were defeated without much resistance. The game at its core is still a 2D fighter in a 3D world and although this is not necessarily a bad thing, keep it in mind while you are playing. The environments are detailed and good looking – if you have the time to notice.

 

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 2: The Phantom Fortress is a really good game. If this is your first time with the series, I would definitely recommend picking it up. If you own the first one you might be slightly disappointed with the improvements but there’s enough here to keep anyone busy for quite a while. You can definitely believe that. So “How’d you like that?” – just fine, thank you!

 

- Syd Bolton

(September 30, 2008)

 

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