"Powerful Ninjas, Powerful Laughs"
While a mostly serious series, Naruto isn't above providing a few chuckles here and there (especially in the anime), though the video games, action-oriented as they are, haven't explored its comical aspects as much. If that has bothered you, Naruto Powerful Shippuden should more than make up for it, as comedy is the axle this game spins around.
Making use of the super-deformed style of the series' anime offshoot Naruto Spin-Off: Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals, Naruto Powerful Shippuden offers many an opportunity for laughs between its two storylines, which set you in the role of either Naruto Uzumaki or fan-favorite Rock Lee. Playing as Naruto will give you a chance to re-experience the majority of Naruto Shippuden's story (up to his mastering of the Nine-Tails Chakra Mode), while Lee's story consists mostly of non-canon scenarios designed to tickle your funny bone.
Both do that very well (amuse, that is), and if screwball comedy with a touch of Japanese sensibility sounds like a good time to you, you will have a blast with NPS. Between gameplay, the simple "talking heads"-style cutscenes deploy all sorts of gags, jokes, and fourth wall-breaking on the characters' parts. From Lee forcing his team to dress as female J-Pop stars, to a humorous spin on Naruto's battle with Pain that incorporates a wish-granting demon, the game never takes itself seriously. This is good, as it makes the narrative part of NPS, which could have gotten away with rehashing of Naruto's plot as previous games have, stand out from the rest.
Much as the comedy lends to the experience, it is easily pushed back in prominence by the gameplay. Played from a 2D perspective, unlike the Ultimate Ninja Storm games, Naruto Powerful Shippuden tasks you with helping Naruto and Lee complete missions. These missions benefit from a strong combat system that is very accessible yet pleasantly deep. At nearly any point during gameplay, you have a multitude of melee attacks that you can weave together, long range ninja weapons, teammates (usually of your choosing) to summon upon in a moment's need, a dash and escape ability, and a multitude of chakra-consuming ninja techniques. Add to all that new modes that become available in time, such as Naruto's Sage Mode and Lee's Eight Gates Mode, equipped with their attacks and techniques.
The combat is Naruto Powerful Shippuden's greatest asset, as it provides enough depth to the action so as to raise it above simple button-mashing, and it allows you to employ some strategy into how you fight. At the same time, it gives you leave to button-mash, if that is your preference. It's also very responsive, which helps a lot since the action on screen can get pretty hectic when multiple enemies are employing their own special techniques at the same time.
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A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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