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Reviewed: Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: December 12th, 2006
Page: 2
Players of other Naruto titles will be a bit confused - every other title spawned out of the Naruto universe onto home consoles (excluding the handhelds) has been a fighting game somewhat in the line of the Dragonball Z titles; fast action and over-the-top moves.

Uzumaki Chronicles bills itself as an RPG, but it's got an interesting way of going about it; instead of running around the village finding tasks and contacts, every "mission" is set up by selecting it from a list at home base (Hokage's office). Interaction, except for fighting and a couple of "training game" locations, is built on in-engine cutscenes that players watch to get the storyline. Experience and battles are much like a Naruto fighting game, but without a two-player option, what the game really does is throw massive numbers of enemies into a predefined arena.

It's a very simplistic approach, and one that could definitely use some strengthening if they create a second game.

Combat scenarios in the engine are limited to a few types; hunt in an area for a particular item (while enemies attack), fight a group of enemies, and fight a group of enemies who are trying to break something else on the field. Naruto's fighting style, meanwhile, is limited to predefined "combos" and three special attacks, though improved special attacks can be purchased with experience points later; the challenge in the fights is to learn what attacks will and won't be blocked by a given enemy, or to overwhelm them with special maneuvers.

The main strategic portion of the game comes in setting up special abilities; rather than having equipment, the game requires players to purchase skills and improved abilities, and then try to fit them into a puzzle-like grid. This forces players to choose between improved physical power and an extra Clone image or two, which may make a difference for the individual player.

Graphically, the game looks about as good as a PS2 game can; the memory limitations of the hardware hurt, but as long as you're not trying to blow it up to a huge screen, it's enjoyable.

Will Uzumaki Chronicles be a good title for older gamers? Not at all. Lack of depth really hurts it. Will it be good to hand to a young kid who enjoys Naruto titles? Probably.

Added:  Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/3

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