It’s only been about four or five months since the last Naruto Shippuden game had been released for the PSP and here’s another one. This release, Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Impact, comes back to the Ultimate Ninja series of games. Like Kizuna Drive, Namco and Cyber2Connect changed up the style of the game from its fighting origins.
Dynasty Warriors….But With Ninjas - Like how Kizuna Drive took the Monster Hunter formula and applied it to its characters, Ultimate Ninja Impact takes the Dynasty Warriors formula (which is run around and beat up hundreds of enemies till the main boss shows up or you reach the predetermined number) and slaps it on itself. And you know what? It works really well. If you’ve seen the anime or read the manga, usually the characters go off and fight taking on enemies on their own, even though they are told to use teamwork.
Get All the Stories - After taking a detour in the story with Kizuna Drive, Ultimate Ninja Impact follows the main Shippuden story arcs very closely. The game covers the start of the Kazekage Rescue arc, up to the Five Kage Summit arc. Fans will have no problems jumping into the game’s story, while for those who are new to the series, this is a good jumping point to start.
Status Card Collecting - Ultimate Ninja Impact ditches the point based system of leveling up character stats in favor of a card system. This new system allows players to equip up to four cards to increase their stats. Some cards increase health and chakra, while others add status effects, such as increased defense when health is low. Some cards come in sets; equip a matching set and your character’s stats get an additional increase.
Fully Dual Voiced - With most anime games, all we get out of the voice acting is a grunt, yeah or some variation of the two. With Ultimate Ninja Impact I was surprised that every cut scene was fully voiced with dialogue from the anime. Even better, the game has dual audio, so if you prefer to hear the Japanese voice actors, that option is there.
No Multiplayer Infrastructure - This is not really a big surprise since the PSP is on its way out with the coming of the PS Vita next year, but come on. Really, after four PSP entries you would think that Namco Bandai would implement an infrastructure mode for the multiplayer.
Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Impact clones Dynasty Warriors pretty good. It takes that formula and adds its brand of action, the story arcs from the anime and then blends them into a nice package. The card collecting system and the ability to hear both languages gives the game a really nice touch. The only problem was the lack of infrastructure for multiplayer mode. This may sound like nitpicking but when other games have been doing that since the start of the PSP, there isn’t really any excuse. If you’re a Naruto fan, Ultimate Ninja Impact will be a great addition to your collection. If you’re new to the Shippuden series, this will make a great starting off point.