Creating the Perfect Naruto game
By owner/editor-in-chief Furious Francis
I am a huge Naruto fan. I’ve been watching the show since 2007 and love every bit of it. Unfortunately the Naruto video games do not touch the level of quality the anime displays. Sure, if you’re a Naruto fan, playing Ultimate Ninja 2 is going to be fun, but the games lack the depth and strategy other fighting games have. Even a party game like Smash Bros has more skill involved with the battle system than most Naruto games. The Clash of Ninja Revolution games do a decent job of building a Tekken or Street Fighter type of game but ultimately fall short because of balancing, shallow depth, and button mashing tendencies. In this article, were going to discuss my vision for a perfect Naruto game. This Perfect Naruto game will not only be accurate to the anime, but will also have deep fighting game mechanics that actually takes skill to master.
Reduce the number of characters
- Naruto games tend to focus on how many characters there are instead of balancing those characters. This is strictly to please the fans of the anime. However, if the Naruto games ever want to evolve into a serious fighting game, reducing the number of characters and focusing on the balancing of the available characters is a must.
Every game must come with a practice mode
- This seems like a given, but believe it or not there have been multiple Naruto fighting games that shipped without a practice mode. Naruto Rise of Ninja on the Xbox 360 and Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, were both missing practice modes. Any serious fighting game needs a practice mode and the Naruto games over the years have occasionally missed that mark.
The suggestions above are just the cosmetic changes that need to be done. Below I’m going to detail how I want to see the Naruto games built from a battle system/mechanics standpoint.
Authentic character fighting styles
- Pleasing the fans and creating balanced characters in no easy task. Some characters in Naruto are just stronger than other characters. However, my perfect Naruto game would focus on the strengths of each character in order to produce a balanced fighting game. Yes, Itachi can probably wipe the floor with Shikamaru, but Shikamaru is insanely smart. My Dream Naruto game would take into account how smart Shikamaru is and build his combat around that. Naruto Clash of Ninja Revolution has the idea with Shikamaru’s “thinking stance”, but it needs to go further in a open ended style combat game like Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm. Characters like Naruto and Kisame have insane amounts of chakra, but the current games fail to represent this because alternating the formula of how chakra works would break their respective games. Finding the right way to balance chakra is key, which leads to my next idea.
Chakra and health bars should be one
- In the anime, when someone runs out of Chakra they will also die. Chakra is precious and should be used wisely cause it will be intertwined with your health. Characters with large amounts of Chakra will have more health, yet at the same time be using it to do jutsu’s and shadow clones. This could create a multitude of strategy of when you do your jutsu’s, what level of jutsu you do, doing more taijutsu to conserve your chakra/health. Of course this would need to be balanced to the upmost, but it’s a idea that’s guaranteed to enhance battles with a more strategic element to it. Chakra in the previous Naruto games is just charged up like DragonBall Z. Naruto characters don’t “charge up” they have a certain amount of chakra and use it. I hate the fact that Chakra just regenerates in Naruto games. There should always be a set amount thats authentic to each character.
Shadow clone system needs a overhaul
- The shadow clone system in Naruto UNS (ultimate ninja storm) and Naruto CONR (clash of ninja revolution) both suck. In UNS you have to time the button press which leads to spamming the button when you get caught in a combo. In CONR, while better than UNS but you MUST take a hit before you can shadow clone. Some Characters can create shadow clones or water clones, but the clones can’t be used for any significant amount of time due to the Chakra bar rapidly declining and the games overall mechanics. Both systems are flawed and need a overhaul. Inputting a combo for a shadow clone before you’ve engaged your opponent then activating it whenever you want could prove for some tricky battles. This way, when your fighting your opponent you won’t take actual damage when you get hit. Plus it gets rid of the spamming the dodge button to time the press just right. Inputting a shadow clone combo even when on the offensive could work if you’re expecting a counter attack and want to be a step ahead. How this could be balanced is by making shadow clones cost a lot of chakra. So if you’re expecting a counter attack and input a shadow clone combo and it doesn’t happen you wasted that chakra/health.
Environments must play a roll
- The surrounding in the anime play a vital role in the outcome of battles. Kisame is much more deadly in water, Kazuku and Hidan work much better in large open spaces. These factors have to come into play in a perfect Naurto game. Being able to hide behind trees then send out shadow clones is a must.
Combos that take skill to execute
- Pretty much every Naruto game is a easy ‘spamfest combo button layout’. Anybody can pick up the game and master its simple combos in minutes. This is my biggest complaint about Naruto games. Yes, there are some intricacies in the battle system but every Naruto game has one attack button that does all the combos. In my perfect Naruto game combos would need skill and practice to execute. A combo layout similar to the new Mortal Kombat would be ideal. Simple button press with directional input would do just fine. A punch, kick, and special button should work. I’m sick of opening up Naruto games combo lists and laughing at how easy every single combo is.
The 2 Gamepad Wii U support
- In 2013 Nintendo will start rolling out Wii U games that use 2 gamepads per one Wii U. No game could benefit more from 2 gamepad use than a Naruto fighting game. Having your own screen where you can hide after shadow clones, quickly navigate jutsu, and bust out touch screen based finishers would be awesome.
That is my dream list for a perfect Naruto game. I want to hear what your suggestions are? Anything you would change on my list? Please list them in the comments below.
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