Naruto Shippuden Legends: Akatsuki Rising Review

The Naruto manga and anime franchise has been a worldwide phenomenon, serving as a testament to Japan’s unusual but effective media blitzkreig. While mostly targeting niche markets of otakus and Japanophiles, it is nearly impossible to turn your head without getting a glimpse of the protagonist’s spiky blonde hair on top of the distinctive headgear. Masashi Kishimoto, the creator of Naruto, has gained quite a bit of renown as he continues to produce chapters for the manga — the fuel that feeds the roaring blaze that is the storyline.

As for promotional material and other media that continue to feed the fans’ enthusiasm, there have been console games which have been quite excellent. These titles are 2.5D fighting games that have gained quite a bit of success in the market due to its dynamic and entertaining combat system that goes along with the diversity of characters and their distinctive fighting styles. That is how they’ve performed in consoles, so they should do well in the handheld gaming market with the amazing capabilities of the PSP. However, this is not the case.

Naruto Shippuden Legends: Akatsuki Rising has got to be another misstep for Namco Bandai, who have been hit-or-miss in the handheld gaming market. It seems that they have not gone with their usual formula, as illustrated in their Tekken games for the PSP. They have recently added Soul Calibur Destiny to their handheld roster, which was an immediate success. However, as with the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series, they have not translated this success to the Naruto games in the PSP.

Perhaps it is because they tried to incorporate the storyline of the manga into these games too much that they have obscured the need for solid and dynamic gameplay. The Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series, for example, was a dismal collection of minigames and occasional fight scenes that only propagated repetition. Naruto Shippuden Legends: Akatsuki Rising is an improvement as they went for a third-person action adventure approach. Perhaps they tried to create their own version of Onimusha or Ninja Gaiden here, but it certainly lacked the pepper that is a sophisticated combat system. It is certainly not like the console fighting games that had made Naruto franchise an initial success in the video game market.

While fun at first, Naruto Shippuden Legends: Akatsuki Rising degenerates as you spend more time with it. While the degree of customization, the number of unlockables available in the game, and the Akatsuki Mode are enticing, the gameplay itself will start to make you yawn. The camera and targeting system are frustrating as combined with the boring combat system that lets you do the same attack sequences over and over again like a deranged kung-fu movie. The graphics could have been better, which defeats the purpose of buying an aesthetic display that is a Naruto product.

It should have been a full-on fighting game. That is what Naruto fans want for their PSP, and they are not getting it. Naruto Shippuden Legends: Akatsuki Rising is just another encephalitic seizure for Namco Bandai’s handling of the Naruto franchise. When will they get it right for the PSP as people should start pronouncing the name “Uchiha” correctly?

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  1. It makes me wonder how much they earn, to produce so much anime based games.. And how many fillers are they planning to pour into this anime..

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