A storm is coming...
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations sees the return of ambitious ninja Naruto Uzumaki, star of the world-famous Naruto manga and anime series. This time around, you're free to enter Naruto's world and experience his adventures as any one of over 70 playable characters. You can even choose between a young Naruto and an older, more experienced one.
Whether you're a newcomer to the series or a long-established fan, it's great fun to be able to follow Naruto's boyhood dreams of becoming the head ninja of his village. Afterwards, you can join the hero in adulthood as he hooks up with Sasuke Uchiha to form the roving band of ninja heroes known as Team Seven.
And that's not all: by following the stories of Naruto and Sasuke, you can unlock the tales of many of the game's supporting characters too. Each has a unique history and path to follow, peppered with loves, losses, battles and betrayals. At the eye of the storm stand Naruto and Sasuke, friends and rivals – but can their allegiance survive the heat of their ambitions?
One of the beauties of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is that it's entirely up to you how you enjoy it.
The compelling Story Mode combines stunning cinematic cutscenes with frenzied battle action, as step by step you unfold the intersecting tales of the many playable characters. It's magical, mesmerising and superbly evocative, not least due to the involvement of Studio Pierrot, the talented team behind the Naruto anime series.
If you fancy dipping in and out more spontaneously, choose a Free Battle to custom build a one-off fight, a series of survival matches, a tournament or a training session. The latter is a brilliant way to get to grips with the different characters and their various abilities before heading into the non-stop action of real combat.
The more you fight, the more collectible items and abilities you'll unlock, all of which can be easily viewed from the main menu. You'll also earn Ryo currency, which you can use to purchase new skills and Ninja Info Cards – all you need to give you the edge in future battles.
Fast, frantic and gleefully explosive, NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations closely resembles the manga and anime series that inspired it. The visuals are immaculate, the animation is fluid and – most importantly – the action is extreme.
Dozens of colourful battlegrounds await you, from snowy pinewoods and stony ravines to Naruto's own childhood home, Hidden Leaf Village. You can engage in manic combat in any of them and you'll want to discover them all.
Every battle is filled to the brim with the kind of outrageous cinematic flourishes that give anime movies their incredible impact, and it's a joy to perform an attack that sees your character spiral into the air like a demon before hurtling back to smash a stony crater in the frazzled earth.
The key to success is Chakra, a mysterious energy that can be topped up throughout each encounter and used to unleash Jutsu and Ninjutsu attacks of awesome power. It takes time to replenish your Chakra, and enemies won't hang around politely waiting for you to do so – so use your reserves wisely and you'll prove to be an unstoppable fighting force.
Be the best
Once you feel you've mastered the over 70 characters and fought your way to the top, the only way to go is higher – and that means going online to face off against fellow Naruto fans around the world via PlayStation Network
Online battles take the form of Player Matches, which don't affect your ranking, and Ranked Matches, which do. You can organise one-off battles, fight an endless series of opponents or join four or eight-player tournaments where the winner takes all.
Certain Ranked Matches are preceded by Ninja Info Card battles, so it's well worth stocking up on these special collectibles before you head online: if your Ninja Info Card trumps your opponent's, your character's abilities will be drastically increased in the bout that follows. And if you've used some of your Ryo to purchase a Replay Ticket, you can upload and replay your triumph to others – so it's worth winning in style. The question is, will other fans see your skills as a warning... or a challenge?