Hey guys! Mod Syrup here with another review! Today I’m reviewing Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3!
Ultimate Ninja 3 was a game for the PlayStation 2 that came out in 2005 in Japanese and in 2008 in English by the developers CyberConnect2. As the third installment in this game series, it had to be careful to not be like Ultimate Ninja 2 which repeated the first game only to extend it to catch up with the anime storyline.
Luckily, this game went above and beyond, and it is my favorite Naruto game to date. It was also the last popular game before the Ultimate Ninja Storm series on the PS3 and PS4. (I say popular because there was also an Ultimate Ninja 4 and 5 for Naruto Shippuden that I hadn’t heard of and I would’ve. But I’ll find them and play them).
Now, like most anime based games, Ultimate Ninja 3 went through the summary of Naruto, adding on where the 2nd game left off.
But, unlike the other two games, it had its own little story in the Ultimate Contest which is an RPG style mode. In this mode, Naruto must enter a contest hosted by Tsunade to collect many different crystals. Whoever has the most crystals gets to be Hokage for a day.
You get the option to explore the Leaf Village and some neighboring areas in order to do side quests or fight other ninja to obtain the crystals.
To promote this part of the game, they even animated an OVA episode for the anime to feature this challenge!
What is also nice is that when you finish the contest, you still have to option to roam around the world and work on upgrading your equipment and leveling up your characters!
This part gets an easy 8.5/10. The anime story summary was rushed to not allow the game to be too repetitive. Honestly, the saving grace is the Ultimate Contest!
Like any anime game, I judge the characters by how well the game developers stayed true to the original portrayal of the characters in the anime.
Now, I’m going to be judging characters based on how the developers depicted them in Ultimate Contest mode because the other story mode is in line with the anime plot.
I found that the developers did an excellent job with keeping the characters in character! They even had some mini games that fell in line with the characters. One of them is TenTen’s weapons practice where you aim and try to hit more targets than her and another is when you do different exercises with Might Guy or Rock Lee.
Reactions of the characters when you win or lose is very on par with how they’d react in the anime.
I give the characters a 10/10 for being so close to the anime characters.
Visual & Audio:
The developers used many songs from the actual anime in the game, which was refreshing for a fan such as myself.
As for the visuals, it has certainly aged, but it’s not bad for its era. Though, I still enjoy how the developers handled the graphics. For the dialogue, they had a headshot of the character speaking in a 2D anime format, but for the fights and the Ultimate Contest, it’s all a 3D animation.
Quite like InuYasha: Feudal Combat, I find that Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 did an excellent job converting a 2D anime into a 3D graphic game.
Visual and Audio get an 8.5/10 just because the graphics are clearly aged, and I know it’s possible for the PS2 era games to have graphics that could compete with today’s graphics (look at Final Fantasy 10).
As for the gameplay, I’m going to focus on the fighting aspect (since that is the majority of the game). Unlike the Ultimate Ninja Storm series, the Ultimate Ninja series plays as a 2D fighter rather than a 3D one.
What’s the difference?
The characters can move left to right and go up and down. Unlike a standard RPG or Naruto Clash of the Ninja, where they can move in almost a circle.
The Ultimate Ninja series did an excellent job in making this game feel like a 3D fighter though by having the characters be able to use a transportation jutsu to move to the front or back of the arena.
One thing I hate about this game’s gameplay compared to previous ones is that you only get to choose one ultimate during combat. Previously, you could choose 3 and performed them depending on which chakra level you were and how many times you pressed circle. Apparently, this was changed due to come complaints about the difficulty of CPUs in Ultimate Ninja 2, but it’s a feature I wish stayed.
What also changed on this was you being able to choose whether to use Mash (press certain buttons) or Spin (spin the analog stick) to perform the ultimate.
Other than the changes, the gameplays the same. You collect chakra from breaking items or hitting your enemy. You also have the chance to reduce the ultimate’s power if you can beat or match the other player’s Mash or Spin.
Probably my biggest complaint is how hard it is to defeat the giant Shukaku as Naruto. It can be done, but they make it extremely difficult. I do believe it was easier in this game than Ultimate Ninja 2.
Overall I give the gameplay a 9/10, mainly because I miss the ability to choose 3 ultimates.
Final Score? 9/10. I adore this game and I feel it did justice to the anime. The graphics were great and the added RPG mode was a fantastic idea! If you haven’t played this game and you own a PS2, I STRONGLY suggest it!
– Mod Syrup