Preface: I got to attend X07 held here in Toronto this week. Gave some initial comments here. Had hoped to get in more tonight, but unfortunately I haven't had time to get in much video editing, so we'll kick things off with Naruto: Rise of a Ninja.
Techniques activated by hitting left trigger, dual-analog sticks are then set in certain combos to active powers. Very slick. All known techniques from the series seem to be included.
Konoha (home city) mapped out entirely,
- All major locations from the series are present.
- Rooftop cable riding for fast travel around the city.
- Mobility is easy with wall climbing, sprinting, high jumping and water walking.
- Good 3D positional arrow (Kunai) leads you between important locations.
Massive Gameplay Crossover
- RPG (Stats, Items, Equipment, Techniques, Leveling)
- Open World Platforming
- "Street" Fighting
- Mini games in the fighting when special techniques are used.
- Crazy-Taxi style side missions.
- More unannounced.
GTA style structure to the missions.
- Ninja Missions: Progress the storyline.
- Social Missions: Side Quests for better stats, techniques and loot. As well as helping reputation with the populous of your village.
Multiplayer was quite deep, this could have just been released as a fighter title.
- Good number of combo moves.
- I saw almost all the major characters from this point in the storyline.
- Each character has unique techniques (I believe some can be shared).
- High end techniques always give the other player mini-game chances to escape damage.
- When attacked by Neji, for example, the mode switches so the attacking player was trying to manually strike my Chakra points, while I was able to swerve my body around to mess him up. It was on a timer.
- When Naruto performed Shadow Clone Jutsu, I was able to quickly hit a set of 6 buttons at the beginning. Then as the attack was performed out, the buttons would come on one at a time, and it was a contest to see if the attacker or defender could hit them first.
- "Rage" meter fills up based on damage taken, and when activated allows for temporary invulnerability. This gives the losing player a chance to make a comeback.
Style. This game has it in spades, beautiful art design all around. From the textures, maps, character models and the interface. The music was good too (from what I could hear).
Language options are unconfirmed, it's still being decided if Japanese will be present. (Though strangely, there's Japanese everywhere so far, just not on the character narrative.)
Follows episodes 1 through 80 (*Possible spoilers*) of the anime, meaning it will cover (select to see through spoiler tags):
- Team 7 training story arc.
- Zabuza story arc.
- Chuunin Exam / Forest of Death
- Konoha Attacked
- Hokage vs Orochimaru
Enjoy the demo video I recorded, unfortunately I was having too much fun doing the mutliplayer and forgot to record any of that.
Youtube didn't like the size of the file, so you all get to download the full version instead. Enjoy:
(Note: Any chop in the video is SOLELY the fault of my camera not being able to encode fast enough, as the game was a smooth as butter.)
All said, the game plays very solid and has "A" level production value put into it. This is by far the best game created for the series (trust me, I've played many of the Japanese ones), all it took was a North American developer to do it. The gameplay is great, the characters bang on, the humour is present and accounted for, and it's just plain fun.
The only incident of note throughout the entire demo (which was not caught on tape) was during the pause screen in multiplayer. I noticed the rage bars continued to wear off. The Ubisoft rep, Danny Grondines (though I didn't catch his title, I see he's been a "Coordinator" on past titles) made a note of it the issue. Thankfully they're in the bug-busting/cleanup stage of production.
For people who know nothing about the show, this takes you off right from the beginning and through all the major initial story arcs. For fans, you'll just plain love it. For anyone, this game should bear a rental at the least, don't miss it in the holiday rush.
I had my worries beforehand, but now it's settled, I can safely put this on my purchase list.
Naruto: Rise of a Ninja goes on sale October 30th.
Anything I've missed, feel free to ask, I may just be forgetting tidbits.
Coming up for Part 2..maybe we'll see some Kane and Lynch, Turok, or the surprisingly interesting Blazing Angels 2, who knows?
I have a friend that thinks the world of Naruto but I've never gotten around to sitting down to watch the series. The fact that this game basically gives you the Cole's Notes version of the series makes it very tempting for a Naruto Noob like myself.
Good writeup Mr. Tracky. I'll definately give the game a rent whenever it hits.
"This computer is so slow that I'm having framerate issues with Dwarf Fortress!"
- Me at my in-laws.