Many anime series got the game versions on several consoles and PlayStation Portable is not an exception. Several anime series have appeared as games on PlayStation Portable but best-known is Naruto. If you’re not familiar, Naruto is anime series that follows adolescent ninja called Naruto in his quest to become the greatest ninja of them all. As for the series, it started as manga in 1997 and we got anime version in 2002. As for the Naruto games one series has been available on several gaming platforms and that series is Naruto: Ultimate Ninja. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja is a fighting game that features characters from Naruto series and it has achieved it debut on PlayStation 2 back in 2006. After a several sequels game has moved to other platforms such as PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable and now we got the latest instalment of the series, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 3 exclusively for the PlayStation Portable so let’s see what it has to offer.
Story mode (Master Road mode) in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 3 is focused on Naruto that returns to Hidden Leaf Village after a few years. Soon after Naruto returns his friend Gaara is kidnapped by the evil organization and it falls up to Naruto and his friends to rescue him. In Master Road, each mission is represented by a square and there are about 80 missions in this game. Interesting thing is that you can sometimes take a different path in Master Road mode and that provides a certain level of nonlinear gameplay. As you complete missions in Master Road mode, you’ll unlock new characters and moves, and you’ll also earn credits as well that you can use to purchase movies, music and artwork for your characters. As for the missions, some of them will be simple and you’ll have to lead your character from one side of the level to another, while others will include one on one combat like in fighting games. Some missions have specific objectives that will require you to reach the end of the level before the timer runs out or to defeat a certain number of enemies. When it comes to missions, there’s not much variety so after a while they just become boring.
Besides boring missions, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 3 is using weird controls. Don’t get me wrong, controls are simple enough and you can perform all sorts of moves by pressing the Circle button, and that’s it. In fact, if you want to perform a special attack you just need to press the Triangle button and then the Circle button and you’ll perform a powerful special attack. It’s simple as it can be, and this pattern is the same for all 50 available characters. There’s no depth and tactic in this game, you just need to press the Circle button as fast as you can and that’s it. Besides controls that are too simple, additional problems are non-responsive controls. This is really a bother when you’re playing Master Road and when you need to dodge something. In most cases your jumps are slow and you probably won’t manage to evade the obstacle on time. Due to the non-responsive controls and repetitive missions you’ll eventually get bored with the Master Road mode. Luckily, there are Practice Mode and Free Battle Mode available as well.
Free Battle Mode can be interesting if you’re playing it with your friends because it has ad-hoc support for up to four players. Interesting thing is that you can also invite your friend to join you in some missions in Master Road so there’s some level of co-op available as well.
As for the graphics, the game looks great with its anime graphics and some animated scenes will make you feel like you’re watching Naruto and not playing the game. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 3 might be an interesting game if you’re a hardcore Naruto fan, but other players might be disappointed with non-responsive controls, boring missions and with simple controls. So the bottom line is if you’re a Naruto fan and you enjoy in mindless button mashing check Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 3 out. If not, you’ll probably get bored with this game soon enough.