''Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 marks the latest entry in the popular fighting series on the PlayStation 2. The basic formula hasn't seen much change throughout the series, and the same holds true with this title. The roster is definitely bigger, and the story line is new, two factors that should keep the die-hard Naruto fans happy. However, does the game hold up as a fighter, or is it too bogged down in the role-playing elements that it tries to emulate? In truth, it succeeds as much as it fails, and we'll go into that in a bit.
First, however, if you're not familiar with the popular universe of Naruto, I'll give you a bit of a rundown. Naruto stems from a popular shounen (boys) manga in Japan that currently has a mega-popular anime that runs on Cartoon Network in the U.S. If you venture into a Hot Topic store, you'll notice that there is Naruto merchandise all over the place, a testament to how popular the series has become. In Japan, there have been a series of Naruto games, ranging from action-adventure titles to simple fighters, all across various platforms. Ultimate Ninja is one of those entries, and it's seen quite a bit of popularity in the U.S.
In Ultimate Ninja 3, the main mode featured is Ultimate Contest, which revolves around a festival being held in Naruto's hometown, the Leaf Village, and the village elder has decided to create a tournament for the village ninja. The game takes place prior to the TV series' current plot, but it's current enough to include Naruto's new teacher, Jiraiya, so the roster is pretty up-to-date with the series.''