Ace Gamez Review - Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3

Ace Gamez: "The Ultimate Ninja series has generally been well received, even if the fact that this is the third game to be released in less than two years might well worry many a punter - and I can't say that I blame them. Most series released within this kind of short time frame are often rushed affairs, with little, if any, change to the formula. To be fair to Namco Bandai though, while the combat may be very similar to that of Ultimate Ninja 2, with an almost identical menu layout to boot, the inclusion of the Ultimate Contest, the core aspect of the single player experience does attempt to flesh out the tried and tested formula of shallow but extremely polished beat 'em up action.

In what may seem like an attempt to follow in the hugely successful footsteps of the outstanding Naruto: Rise of the Ninja on Xbox 360, Ultimate Contest introduces an open world, RPG-lite expansion to the combat-centric gameplay of previous titles. This may look like a cynical attempt to repeat the success of the Ubisoft developed title, but Ultimate Ninja 3 was actually released in Japan before Rise of the Ninja even got out of the starting blocks, thus making Ultimate Ninja 3 and Namco Bandai the first to take the brave first steps into a new era of open world gameplay for Naruto.

As bold as these steps are, however, they simply can't be compared to the outstanding level of immersion on offer in Rise of the Ninja. Blame it on processing power or blame it on an insistence to keep the combat at the forefront of the experience; the fact remains that your exploratory, RPG style trip around Hidden Leaf Village is probably the weakest aspect of the entire game, and about the only time that Ultimate Ninja 3's presentation fails to be anything other than exceptional."

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