This morning, the Naruto: Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Demo was released on Xbox LIVE and PSN. My impressions are based on the Xbox version, which requires a 2.08 GB download.
The demo begins with a four minute, narrated cinematic of the Nine-Tail Beast’s attack on the Leaf Village and the hero that risked his life to protect it: The Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze. Unfortunately, Minato is confronted by The Masked Man and is forced to retreat from his battle with the tailed beast. No longer being controlled by The Masked Man, the Nine-Tails returns its focus to the village, causing The Third Hokage and Leaf shinobi to retaliate. This is where the gameplay starts.
The first battle of the demo is an intense boss battle between the Third Hokage, Leaf Village shinobi and the Nine-Tailed Beast. As the Third Hokage, the player must jump from building to building to avoid being hit by the beast, and will receive a prompt as to which buildings to attack from. Although pretty easy, this battle kept me on edge because my primary focus was to attack the beast, which resulted in me taking multiple hits; I was forced to change up my reckless strategy and carefully watch its movements. Throughout the battle you are able to receive support from powerful shinobi within the Leaf Village, activating Interactive Actions (basically a sequence of button presses) to deal more damage to the beast. Finally, the village will launch a pretty awesome all-out attack on the Nine-Tails, leaving me with nothing short of satisfaction.
The second, and final battle of the demo is The Fourth Hokage vs. The Masked Man. After a brief exchange of words, The Masked Man immediately attacks. This is a really fun battle, as Minato dashes around the forested stage, attacking The Masked Man from every direction. With Minato’s Instant Awakening (which can be activated at any time) the player moves even faster, hitting The Masked Man with lightening fast attacks and a barrage of Rasengans. At some point during the battle, a “Secret Action” icon appears which requires you to perform a certain attack that will trigger an epic Interactive Action scene. I won’t spoil the required attack, but once you figure it out you’re in for a real treat. When the battle is over, Minato completely seals The Masked Man’s control over the Nine-Tails and the demo ends with a preview of what the full game has to offer.
Overall, I am very pleased with the demo and I plan to play it multiple times before launch to see what else I might be able to discover. The music during battle is very fitting, the graphics are as beautiful as they’ve ever been in a Naruto game and the controls are quite simple; anyone can manage some damage regardless of experience. Based on this demo and various gameplay videos, I can honestly say that this game has the potential to be the best in the series. Look forward to Naruto: Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 in the US on March 5, 2013.
Check out the latest trailer here: