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A PSP Video Game Review: Naruto: Narutimate Hero – Mugenjo no Maki (NARUTO-ナルト- ナルティメットヒーロー)

The first Naruto game on the PSP console is enjoyable but may be a bit too tedious for others!

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Naruto: Narutimate Hero – Mugenjo no Maki (NARUTO-ナルト- ナルティメットヒーロー )

PLATFORM: Sony PSP

DEVELOPER: Artdink

COMPANY: BANDAI

Many fans of the anime and manga series “Naruto” have been awaiting a PSP version of the “Naruto: Narutimate” line.

With quite a number of releases for the PS2, Gamecube, GBA, DS and Wonderswan, the PS2 Narutimate games featured awesome levels, many characters from the anime series but most of all, a combo system that when successfully pulled off, it would give a beatdown that surpasses anything you may have seen from a “Dragonball Z” or even a “Project Justice” game.

But with the PSP release, there have been a lot of rumors of what kind of game it would be. Especially from eager fans who have played the imports and are expecting a PSP release similar to the awesome third Naruto PS2 game.

How does this game fare? My first impression of the game was a bit so/so.
What is the game about? Something weird is going on in Konoha and out of the clouds comes a dark and evil tower. Naruto and friends (and rivals) go towards the tower to uncover is mystery.

Your main goal is to advance up the tower with each floor featuring 4-8 sections (or squares) which you can earn items, earn level ups and even earn more characters that can be used in versus mode.

To advance from square to square in each floor, you must utilize a variety of scrolls that allows you to play various mini-game and earn points or puts your character(s) in a battle with characters from the series.

Along the way you will face obstacles but fortunately, you start out with four people in your team which will grow as you advance further in the game.

In versus mode (against computer), characters earned in story mode can be utilized as you can practice or battle the computer. You can play against other players via wireless (AdHoc).

In NaruP, this is where the points you earned in story mode can open up a plethora of bonuses which range from art, music and video which can be viewed in the main menu.
As I continued to play this game, I was drawn into the gameplay and the storyline. It’s hard to put down because you want to have all 23 characters and possibly leveling them up..

If there was one draw back, its that the story/RPG mode can be very tedious. You have to replay the mini-games (scrolls) over and over to advance. Some quick and some long but fortunately certain characters have the ability to change types of scrolls.

The game looks beautiful and sounds great and sure, the game is a bit more simplified than the PS2 version and may not have the same (or all of the) move sets of certain characters but there is still enough there to really enjoy this game.

As far as replay value goes, after you beat the first story mode featuring Naruto’s storyline, you access a second story mode featuring Jiraiya’s storyline. After completing a storyline, all characters in the game are at your dispoal and you can level them up or earn more points to obtain more items.

“Naruto: Narutimate Hero – Mugenjo no Maki”overall is a an enjoyable game.

By not even thinking of the PS2 games and comparing it to current fighting games on the PSP, you realize that it’s actually a very cool game, with really cool graphics, quick loading system, sound is done very well and a good fighting system (of course, not close to the PS2, third game but still awesome) and extra bonuses. It really is a very cool game and has more to offer than what many fighter games currently on the PSP have to offer.

I do knock some points down because I don’t see why the combo system and certain parts of the game were simplified for the PSP release. I also wish there was more utilization of full animated video (instead of videos with still pictures with animated leaves floating around) in this game and it does get a bit tedious in story mode of having to replay the same scrolls over and over again.

All in all, this is the best Naruto portable game. If you played the GBA, DS or Wonderswan version of the game…in my opinion, this PSP game surpasses many games out on a portable system and even some games out on the console.

Sure, it comes nowhere near greatness of the third Naruto game on the PS2 but for a portable game, what I played was much better than I expected for a first release. And knowing how each Naruto release on a console has gotten better and better from that first release, I look forward to the potential of future Naruto releases on the PSP.

PROS:
+ Many characters from the anime series are on this game.
+ Cool graphics, cool new music and voice acting
+ Controls are easy to use and the game loads quickly

CONS:
– Some characters and their movesets from console versions may not be in this PSP game.
– Combo special moves have been simplified or not as numerous or lengthy as in console version.
– Story mode can be tedious by playing the same scrolls over and over again.

Reviewer’s Score: 8/10