Naruto Shippuden Legends: Akatsuki Rising is based upon the increasingly popular Japanese anime series created by VIZ Media. It was inevitable that due to such popularity, games be made to allow fans to become involved with the characterized world they see within their tv screens and within this new title, players will be able to assume control of a range of 10 characters taken from the series, continuing storylines similar to those seen within the Naruto Shippuden anime.
However previous titles based upon the series have failed to make their mark, providing shallow, repetitive experiences that never really fulfill or reflect on the vibrancy and enjoyment of the anime which fans have grown to love. It is unfortunate then that this further action-adventure title falls down the same immediate pitfalls as its predecessors.
The storyline opens with Naruto making a return journey to his village in an attempt to catch up with his friends after a few years on the road. Of course, such a pleasant situation doesn’t go quite to plan, as celebrations are soon interrupted by the capture of Naruto’s friend Gaara by Akatsuki’s followers. Alongside his friends, Naruto then quests to rescue Gaara which causes the storyline to become not too dissimilar to that seen within previous titles.
In progressing through the storyline, you will spend most of your time within the ‘Scenario mode’ portion of the game. Here you will navigate through a linear set of missions, that once completed will unlock further features – namely Mission mode, that will allow you to complete single missions and be rated on your performance, and Survival mode, in which you must fend off against a certain quantity of enemies. There is room for enjoyment here, but nothing ever feels particularly innovative and even long-term fans, especially those that have purchased previous titles, will regrettably be left wondering what is really new here.
It is made potentially worse by the fact that the controls have been ’streamlined’ for portable gaming. This corresponds to all attack and counter moves being assigned to the Square button meaning, yes you guessed it, rather a continuous bashing of one button throughout the majority of the game. Developers really need to begin to understand how mindlessly simple. To allow for varied combos – not doing so here just shows so much weakness.
The use of a single button also leads to issues. With the basic combo system that is in place here too. Due to the fact that to counter an enemy that is attacking you. And you must press Square just as they make their swipe. As you’ll more often than not be attacking anyway, you will counter breaking your current combo without ever wanting to. The targeting system also causes issues with the camera. When you’re faced with larger numbers of enemies – it’s a shame to see such obvious flaws.
There is a new addition in that Akatsuki Rising does feature an ‘Akatsuki mode’. Within the series as they aim to capture the Sand Village. Although this is far shorter than that of the main game. With added length would’ve provided much-needed appeal to a seemingly stale title.
As you continue through the story missions you will gather items, money, and scrolls. That will allow you to expand your available skills. The characters – there’s certainly a lot of scopes here. Which will add all the usual replayability to the title for those wishing to collect every item.
There is a great use of the soundtrack from the anime series. And the voiceovers for each of the characters are worth. Plenty of credit and graphically eac look fantastic as translations from the series. Yet it is the environments that lack any form of identity. Often being devoid of charm, and missing any sense of personality.
Fans will surely enjoy another opportunity to become involved within the Naruto world, yet even they will find that there is far too much similarity here with previous games released to portray the series. Here’s to hoping that the next, inevitable entry will take note. Seek to provide something that grants a fresh appeal rather than becoming another average title.