Namco Bandai Games America Inc.’s Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 for Sony Corp.’s Playstation 3 and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 is a solid entry in the fight franchise that includes new inventory options and epic battles against a strong storyline.

Developed by CyberConnect2, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 begins with a Prologue during The Nine Tails Attack. The title then transitions to present day with Naruto and friends involved in a political conflict stemming from the Nine Tails incident and beams to different factions to allow the player to take on numerous character roles.

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3New features in Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 include Ultimate Decision, which allows users to choose between a Hero Route and Legend Route, each of which will accumulate points to make an Item Pallete grow to receive stronger Ninja Tools. Hero and Legend each contain specific Ninja Tools to allow users to customize their inventory. In addition, users can initiate the Awakened form of each character at any time during the match.

In battles, users can unlock new playable characters and items. Battles are similar to prior entries and include new epic boss battles which can toss out the standard fight system for a specific platform control system to better relay the battle in cinematic terms. Also, the health bar stays unchanged from the end of battle to require users to use an item or eat at the village to regain health.

Like previous entries, the control system is solid with attack, melee and jump options to pummel opponents smoothly. Users can still option assist attacks with triggers and perform epic attacks by building Chakra.

Between battles Naruto can traverse the village to talk to townsfolk, eat ramen to fuel up between battles, purchase items and save.

The graphics engine is stellar at 30 frames-per-second. CyberConnect2 has perfected the cel-shading engine to blur the lines between traditional and digital animation to allow users to control a living, breathing episode of the series. Boss fights are exceptionally choreographed and allow users plenty of control through traditional platforming and interactive events. The sound engine is solid with traditional orchestral tunes and strong voice work from the Naruto cast.

The final game includes an Online Battle to duke it out against online opponents and Free Battle Mode to play with the large cast of characters. Online battle options include user-created tournaments, ranked, player matches, and the ability to view customized player cards.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is a solid entry in the fight franchise with a strong story mode, refined fight mechanics and online fight options for a full-featured and dramatic battle royale.

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