The creators of the Ultimate Storm video game series seemed to shoot themselves in the feet with UNS: Generations. This game appeared to be, at least to me, a sort of buffer between UNS: 2 and UNS: 3. The fact that Generations came right in the middle of the Storm 2 and Storm 3, combined with the lower quality of this game, makes it obvious that developers were trying to keep fans of the video game series interested while waiting patiently for the 3rd installment. Unfortunately, as a fan of the series, I was not satisfied with this game as I anticipated to be.
PROBLEM AREAS: (Sadly, there are many.)
-Lack of story mode: Obviously because developers were putting Naruto Shippuden UNS: 3 into process, and did not have the money to spend and the time to promote a more extensive game with longer game play and larger worlds. Taking away a key component of the game series - to be able to move around as Naruto, Sasuke and other characters in a story mode where one can gather items and interact with the environment - is a HUGE draw back to me. It'll lead me into my next point...
-Fixed, narrated story mode: This made up for the lack of free play. To me, the narration was inconsistent and the individuals used for narration - in the Japanese version, which I vastly prefer over the dub - did not seem to mesh well with the personalities/storylines of the characters they were narrating for. That's just an opinion, but for example, the Japanese narration for Sasuke's arc was heavy, drawn-out and awkward sounding. Not to mention that I didn't feel like sitting through a lengthy, verbose narration about things I already knew well of the characters in the game! With this new and mediocre mode, one unlocks new arcs without free play by finishing initial arcs first - if you beat Sasuke's tale, you unlock Itachi's, and so on and so forth. To me, this didn't seem challenging.
-Lack of difficulty: Again, this game did not have a difficult layout. You beat one arc, you unlock another, and if you are very bored of watching 5-10 minute narrations about things you already know [if you've watched the show or read up to date what is happening], you skip the cutscenes, head into battles we've sometimes even seen before in previous games, and then move onto another narration/cutscene. The game itself is very FLAT.
-Some CGI glitches: Just something I noticed. Movement could get awkward at times. The developers aimed high to make character movement more fluid but now and then it becomes difficult to maneuver the characters and how they move. Hopefully it will be better in UNS: 3.
-Poor concept art: I might be picky with this since I am an artist myself, but I found the art for this game - the drawings of characters as we select them for battle in the free play arena/computer vs. player, etc. mode - to be poorer than previous concept art we have seen with the UNS series. I found the new drawings of our favorite characters to be somewhat... off, and not as aligned to Kishimoto's vision. Essentially they seemed like a fan artist's version of these characters, a very good version, but not the Kishimoto version. This irked me, and seemed to reinforce that the time put into this makes it a cheap buffer game and nothing more.
-New substitution meter: For some reason, developers put in a substitution bar for doing substitutions that makes it impossible for one to do an unlimited number as we could in Storm: 2. You have a certain number of substitutions available and if the bar runs out, even if you have chakra at your demand, well... good luck! This was annoying. Substitution is a huge win factor in the Storm series. Without it, you could very well die...all the time.
POSITIVE AREAS: (Yes, this game does have some positives, but not many!)
-An attempt at more fluid game play. Stated in the above. It was a major improvement from the last game and I appreciate this despite some glitches.
-Very attractive visuals, which is always a huge plus for this game series.
-A wide range of characters to unlock and play... but perhaps too many? It's really a matter of opinion. I see the 'generations' theme they were going for though. I think that the wide range of characters could be fun for individuals who are newer to the Naruto/Shippuden series.
-Some interesting new battle areas. Not fabulous, but the effort is put in and you can tell. They were going for variety here.
VERDICT: This game is definitely a buffer game, and take that as you will. You will NOT find the high quality, free play story mode of Storm 2 and previous games, and this might make some of you out there, if you're anything like me, very frustrated. The visuals are excellent, but is that worth paying even 27 or 28 dollars for this game, when you could save up to pre-order Ultimate Ninja Storm: 3? Absolutely not. If you're a big fan of this series you're bound to face disappointment.
Don't waste the cash. Even though I was thinking of giving this 1 star, the effort put into SOME areas, like visuals, more fluid game play, and a greater variety prevented me from giving this game 1 star, but it still not worth paying the money for. It's only so-so.