When Namco Bandai Games announced that they were releasing Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles (known as Naruto: Uzumaki Ninden in Japan), I was surprised since the game was so far into the storyline compared to where the North American dub is. Just how were they going to fit it in the storyline? During the interview with the localization team they were pretty quiet about what changes were being made. Now that I have spent sometime with the North American release I can tell you guys that Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles really does fit in where the story is currently… sort of. Since I don’t want to spoil anything for all the loyal dub watchers check past the jump to see how the build of Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles fits into the Naruto timeline.
Ok first let’s answer the burning questions. The rasengan (spiral wave) is called “power strike” perhaps not be a spoiler. Sasuke has chidori in the game and it is called chidori. Tsunade is not the Hokage and the Third isn’t in the game at all. Instead of cutscenes with Tsunade and Shizune explaining the missions, a simple menu pops up in front of an empty chair in the Hokage’s office. This is probably done to prevent any spoilers and the Third isn’t around since there was no model to use. The story in Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles is a little flimsy, as it was stated in the interview it is an original side story around the time of the chuunin exams. Since Orichimaru has been distracting the Jounin and other upper class ninjas, the rookie genin have to fill the shoes of the higher class ninja. Think of the placement somewhere between the preliminary matches and the final bouts. Also it is never explained how Naruto has the power wave attack, but he has it.
Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles is not a fighting game. It is more similar to a brawler where you punch and kick your way through hordes of inane ninja. Naruto has a quick five hit combo by pressing square repeteadly and two wide range attacks mapped to the triangle button. His ultimate combo is the “heavenstrike attack” where you do a four hit combo with square and finish with a flip kick by pressing triangle. The heavenstrike attack can be used to juggle enemies if timed correctly. Naruto also has his special custom jutsu attacks. Pressing R1 summons shadow clones to fight and charging R2 powers up the power strike, which is a deadly straight forward sphere of energy. Naruto has one more technique, the sexy jutsu which is done by pressing both R1+R2 and that stuns a group of enemies. While you’re playing Naruto for the bulk of the game you do have allies by your side. Naruto will get to team up with Choji who has his human boulder attack that tramples enemies and breaks boulders. Shikamaru can use the shadow possession jutsu to freeze three enemies at a time. Neji has the 8 trigrams palm rotation to hit a group of enemies and the 8 trigrams 64 palms for to take out a single opponent.
While the game is an action game players can level Naruto up by collecting yellow virtue orbs that appear after an enemy is defeated. These orbs can be spent to directly increase Naruto’s health and chakra stamina or they can be spent to by skill chips. Skill chips are typically cheaper than direct upgrades, but you have to fit these chips in your skill plate. Filling up your skill plate is a geometric puzzle. You’re going to have to squeeze in as many triangles, diamonds and parallelograms as you can to max Naruto out. If you fill up an entire skill plate you’re given added bonuses to Naruto’s stats. Red chips are taijutsu chips, which can increase Naruto’s health and attack. Blue chips increase Naruto’s ninjutsu skill by maximizing his chakra stamina and ninjustsu attack. Then there are green special chips that can give Naruto new abilities like an air dash and powered up jutsu attacks such as the Naruto Uzumaki Barrage.
Since Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles is mission based were going to give you guys a taste of Naruto’s first five missions.
Mission 1: Delivery Service (D rank)
Naruto needs to defend a cart of supplies to Tanzaku town from outlaw ninjas. All Naruto needs to do is make sure the cart reaches Tanzaku in one piece.
Mission 2: Shop Assistant (D rank)
Karin’s shop is in desperate need of customers. She requests a mission to advertise her shop by defeating outlaw ninja and throwing flyers about her ninja tool store after they are defeated. The mission requires Naruto to fight a certain number of random battles on the map. After this mission is complete Naruto can trade tools at Karin’s shop to get new items like explosive fire kunai, rations to instantly recover his chakra and flash bombs.
Mission 3: The Missing Tamasaburo
Goons are controlling a mountain with honeydew, one of the ingredients to make the sweet treat known as Tamasaburo. Choji accompanies Naruto on this mission and his human boulder move is going to be key to finding where the honeydew is, but is can Choji really be trusted with a mission about food?
Mission 4: Fragile – Do Not Break
Another cart guarding mission. This time over a longer distance, with more ninjas and a weaker cart. The secret to completing this is charging up the shadow clone jutsu so you can hit more than one enemy at a time.
Mission 5: Sensei for a day
With all of the upper class ninja on missions Naruto and the other genin help Iruka sensei out by training students in the academy. Naruto gets paired up with Konohamaru and they have to find twelve hidden seals in a timed exercise. After Naruto completes this mission Neji antagonizes him and the two fight it out.
That is all for now, but we will have more coverage on Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles in the near future. Some of the changes will probably surprise you guys, they sure surprised me. Namco Bandai really tried to place this game in the current anime arc instead of 50+ episodes in the future. The result is a contextually different title, even though the gameplay and missions are similar to Uzumaki Ninden.