Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 is a game that I honestly didn't expect we'd be seeing any time soon. I enjoyed the first Ultimate Ninja Storm immensely, but as time went on without a sequel announced I began to think we'd never see another one. Well the sequel's almost here, and I'm here to tell fans of the first game that this one will blow your face off.
I was very underwhelmed by the start of the demo, as I saw a match featuring Naruto and Sakura versus Kakashi. This is the exact same match-up seen in the demo for UNS, and seemed to confirm my suspicions that this was just going to be a half-assed sequel. Not so.
The same basic fighting system is back, meaning that if you weren't a fan of the simplicity of UNS then this game isn't going to do much to change your mind. Circle is attack, and you can again modify the type of attack by holding the left stick in different directions as you hammer on the circle button. All the basic attacks remain, you can chakra dash, use chakra shurikens, and hitting square and triangle at the same time will allow you to use jutsu.
As the demo took place in what I can only assume was one of the very first battles of the game there was no Ultimate Justu attack, which was kind of disappointing. I was assured, however, that they would definitely be unlocked very soon, and that anyone who has been keeping up with the series should know what Naruto's would be.
Speaking of keeping up with the story, this game takes place well ahead of the point that the localized anime's currently at. Starting at the beginning of Shippuden with the return of Naruto to Konoha, the game will continue all the way through to the end of the Pain arc.
It's a pretty substantial chunk of story, and also assures us that the game will include some of the coolest characters in the series. As far as the roster's concerned, only Naruto and Kakashi were playable in the demo, with Sakura as a supporting character, but the full game is said to have over 40 characters, including Sage mode versions of both Naruto and Jiraiya.
Now, on to the new, game-changing portions of the demo. Much like the demo for UNS, you fight Kakashi and slowly whittle his health down using the controls we've become accustomed to. Upon decreasing his health to about 80%, though, you enter into a quick time event. These events will feature prominently in boss battles, though will be absent from any multiplayer affairs. Upon the completion of button presses, you'll then be scored on how quickly you input the command. The score you get (out of four for each quick time event) contributes to the letter grade you earn at the end of the battle.
The battle continued on to a second phase, featuring Kakashi on a raised platform as he bombards you with some pretty intense jutsu, including his signature Lightning Blade. The first game did a fantastic job at making boss battles feel intense and epic all at the same time, and the sequel seems to continue that trend.
Have I mentioned that this game is gorgeous? Somehow the guys over at CyberConnect2 have made a game that's even better looking than UNS, quite a feat indeed. This shines through during regular gameplay, certainly, but stands out even further during the jutsu and cutscenes.
Overall, as a fan of the first game and of the Naruto series in general, this game is everything I could have wanted it to be. It's still not super complicated, but it's fun and almost everything you do just looks cool. It may not seem like I have much to say other than "it's the first game, but better", but that's largely the case. They don't seem to have made any huge changes, but the changes they did make improve the entire experience.
I had an awesome time with the game, and would even go as far as to consider it one of the best games I played at the show this year. Make sure to check out our screenshots and videos, and be sure to stay tuned for more information as we approach the game's release!