Friday, February 28, 2014

Review #98: Darkstalkers Chronicle - The Chaos Tower

 My first PSP game, yay!
 First things first: since I reviewed Darkstalkers 3 last year, and this game is more or less the same, this will be more of a comparison review so to speak. I will delve into the specifics of this game, of course, but I won't detail gameplay and what have you.
 Darkstalkers Chronicle is not just a Darkstalkers 3 port, oh no, this is more like a mash up of sorts. Y'see, you can actually choose to play under Darkstalkers mechanics, Night Warriors(DS 2 basically) or Darkstalkers 3, this translates to either two rounds, two rounds and keeping your energy gauge intact from round to round or just one battle with two life bars. Even better, you can use whichever iteration of the character you prefer under any mechanic, and if a character wasn't present in previous versions, he or she gets reworked versions of himself/herself. All of this translates to a lot of different ways to play the game, which is very, very neat.
 The game also contains every opening and every ending from each version of the game, alongside a good amount(88 pieces) of unlockable official art, which is extremely high quality and looks very crisp. Sadly, endings are hidden away in the Chronicle mode, for some reason beating Arcade mode will present you with a generic ending, so you must go into Chronicle mode if you wish to see whichever ending you unlocked, it's a minor inconvenience but it's worth mentioning. Speaking of Arcade Mode, the game doesn't have a lot of features, you just get Arcade Mode, Versus Mode, Tower and Training. All but Tower is self explanatory, Tower mode has you picking 3 characters and taking them up the aforementioned tower. Each battle has a different set of rules, depending on which rules you follow you'll take a different path and unlock a different piece of art. Your three characters restore a miniscule amount of health after each fight, so you must choose carefully how to proceed and which character to use. While there is a undeniable lack of modes, Tower mode is very fun and very replayable.
 Now, for the bad, the controls. The PSP's digital pad is not a good fit for all the complex motions required to perform the moves. The game offers a compromise in the form of "Easy" mode, which allows you to set a button to memory so that you can use any special move you set to it just by pressing it, among other niceties, but it comes at the loss of Medium Punch and Medium Kick. Speaking of special moves, there is no way to see a movelist anywhere but on the instruction booklet, very annoying, characters have loads of special moves and many don't follow the basic quarter circle forward/backward motions, a movelist would've been much appreciated, especially since trying out motions with the PSP's digital pad is annoying.
 The game looks beautiful, it always did, but coming from the PS1 version that had missing frames, this looks like a whole different game. The difference in the quality of the animation is undeniable, which makes this port look fantastic. Even better, it's uncensored, meaning that the blood is red and not white. Lastly, you can either play in full screen, which stretches the screen to match, or play with borders, but keeping the correct ratio. Honestly, the stretched image doesn't look bad at all and I chose to keep it that way.
 And that's about it, Darkstalkers 3 on the Playstation 1 was a fantastic game, but Darkstalkers Chronicle is even better. Sure, the controls are annoying, but that's the PSP's fault and not the game's, and I doubt you'll be playing tournaments on a PSP. I might've called the PS1 version the definitive version of Darkstalkers 3, I was wrong. This is the definitive version of Darkstalkers 3, and if you are a fan of the franchise, you owe it to yourself to get this version.
 8.5 out of 10.

Gundam Extreme VS Full Boost Impressions F91, Victory-chapter.

 Gundam F91
 A bit on the frail side, but then again it's a 2000 unit. I didn't play much of it on vanilla, but it's an alright unit, has tools to battle at every range, but it's a bit slow. Overall? It's alright but I don't myself using it any time soon,

Mobile Suit Victory Gundam 

 Victory 2 Gundam 
 They nerfed him! Basically, less ammo and longer reload times. Victory 2 is a unit that shines when it comes to long range skirmishes, and he really needs to, as his melee is bad and it's mobility is on the slow side. While the overall tracking of his long range weapons is fantastic, it can temporarily engage into an Assault Mode that grants him a new Beam attack, but the tracking on this one is bad and the start-up is slow, his basic long range beam gets stronger though.

 Gun-EZ was a unit that I've always liked for support, since it can send grunts to cover his ally. Sadly, the rest of it's tools feel samey, meaning it really doesn't have much answers to different situations. Oh, and engaging Burst Mode makes Uso and his V Gundam swoop in and provide beam support! Very straight forward, lots of beams, not bad but there are better 1000 units out there.

 NEW Gottrlatan
 I don't like Katejina as a character and I don't like Gottrlatan's design, but this is a very solid 2500 unit. Has good close-range capabilities and excellent long range tools, it can cover wide or narrow areas, very nice. It's mid-range game is a bit lacking however, as it's beams have a bit of a start-up and can't be cancelled once the beams/missiles are out. Still, very solid unit.

  NEW Victory Gundam
 It can shoot its body parts as proyectiles. I repeat, it can shoot it's limbs. The V Gundam is impossibly fun to use. It doesn't have many different tools at its disposal, and shooting the legs or arms seem to function basically the same, but it's fun, plus they deal a lot of damage. Engaging Burst Mode grants it a new charge beam attack, it's slow but powerful. Lastly, while you can respawn legs and arms at any time, if you shoot a pair of limbs without respawning the other, you'll engage into a ship mode. I've yet to discover its use, as it feels really useless, and you can cancel it at any time, so what's the point of it? Fun unit, might not be to useful, but really fun.


 God Gundam
 I played my fair share of God Gundam in vanilla, and he feels just as good. The vulcans have been removed in favor of an assist, I'm Ok with it. The Burst Attack was changed, actually, he now has two Burst Attacks, I'm Ok with this as well. I dunno, I like the new changes. God Gundam, as a unit, is probably one of the faster ones, and it needs to, as its long-to-mid range combat is quite lacking. Its basic beam attack is really strong, but hard to hit with and with mediocre range, its only long range attack must be charged and the tracking is not too good. On the flip side, hitting an enemy with the basic beam attack stuns them, leaving them open for a good melee combo or another shoot. I recommend the combo.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Now Playing: Little Big Planet(PSP)

 Oh boy
 I kinda played this game by accident, kinda, and got through the first level, so I might as well do this. I was never a big fan of LBP, the three-plane system never clicked with me, luckily, it's only two planes now, still annoying though. And since it's on a portable, no "traditional" co-op, which sucks unless you know someone else that owns a PSP.
 While I'm not a fan of LBP, I can appreciate the amount of charm that SackBoy has, and customizing him might be fun. Well, let's see if after going through the game my opinion changes, though I'm not hopeful, at least it was a freebie!

Now Playing: Darkstalkers Chronicle - The Chaos Tower

 You can never have too much Darkstalkers, right?.... right?
 Not gonna lie, so far it ain't nothing special. It feels like a souped up port of the Playstation DS version, you get to pick from every mode(Every iteration of Darkstalkers), but you also get every ending... shame it's hidden under a mode, which name's I've forgotten.
 I'm still trying to get used to the directional pad, something tells me that the PSP isn't a good fit for Fighters? Even though everyone would tell me otherwise, heh!

Archile's Grab bag, Portable Wednesday edition

  Two boxes!? HAPPINESS.
 Let's cut'em open.
 Shadow Madness: I think I didn't particularly like this game, but I've been wantint to replay, and finish it, for a while now.
 Final Fantasy VIII: I loved this game as a kid, but something tells me I will find the Draw system a drag now, ah well, it has to be played again, my childhood demands it.
 Crisis Core - Final Fantasy: People say that it's good, but Squeenix track record as of late is pretty sad, still, I must play it. Please, don't ruin Final Fantasy VII anymore, they were meant to be stand alone games.
 Mobile Suit Gundam VS Gundam Next Plus: I've been a fan of the franchise since Gundam: Federation VS Zeon, so I just had to get it. Now I just need to get Rengou VS Zaft....
  Darkstalkers Chronicle - The Chaos Tower: There's no such thing as too much Darkstalkers.
 Mimana - Iyar Chronicle: I've no idea what this game is all about, but gameplay seemed interesting.
  Gods Eater Burst: Seemed like a pretty good Monster Hunter Clone, so might as well give it a spin. So many PSP games, if only I had a PSP...
  What could be on the other box?
  Kirby's Return to Dream Land: I wasn't planning on getting this one so soon, but the game's price was skyrocketing upwards, so I took a dive.

Gundam Extreme VS Full Boost Impressions ZZ, Char's CounterAttack-chapter.

 Qubeley Mark II
 Very much improved since vanilla, Qubeley(Puru) is an excellent long range 1000 unit, has plenty of annoying proyectiles to keep the enemy at bay, plus, it's pretty bulky and fun to use.

 Feels a bit faster than it's vanilla counterpart. Most of Qubeley Mark II's long-range options a gone, but it definitely has a better close-range game. While it's fun to use, there are way better 2500 units out there.

 NEW Zaku III Custom
 A fun 1000 cost unit to use. At the outset there's nothing special about it, but after about 10 seconds you can engage in a Power Up mode that reflects beams and enhances melee for a short while. Plus, it gets a stunner with a huge range. Still, I think it could've used a couple more long ranged options besides the Beam rifle and the supports.

 Char's CounterAttack

 Nu Gundam
 Even though it received a new move, it feels very much the same as before. It's a great all around unit that can fight at any range effectively and it's pretty straight forward to use. The beam shield is pretty useful!

 Finally became a 3000 unit! The Sazabi is pretty fun to use and a great long-range unit with plenty of tools and options to cause havoc. What's even better, even though his melee is a bit too slow and might leave him open for enemy beams, he can cause some damage up close! Still, he is better at long range-mid range, but shouldn't be scared to engage head on.


Berga Giros
 Berga Giros suffers from having a good melee. 1000 units are supposed to be support units, that stay away but aid the more expensive units. Berga Giros has a pathetic main gun that deals little damage and has poor tracking, he also has missiles that are easy to dodge unless used at mid-range. His stronger long-range option is his support call, but these don't recharge until respawn. Sounds pretty bad, but he has a couple of moves that stun and have pretty low charge/reload time, these can help him get up close and deal larger damage or let the other unit engage safely. As a whole, I don't believe he is of much use, but dunking enemies with the drill is fun!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gundam Extreme VS Full Boost Impressions Z-chapter.

 I'm liking Full Boost so much, that I wanna write my impressions on all the units. I talked about most of 0079 in my Now Playing entry, so I won't be covering them, instead...

Z Gundam
 A good, all around unit, I didn't notice anything particularly different from vanilla Extreme VS. I didn't hate it, but I don't see myself using this unit any time soon.

Hyaku Shiki
 My favorite Mobile Suit in the Gundam universe. A 2500 unit, it feels a bit weak amongst it's 2500 brethen. The Ion Cannon is as useless as it was on Vanilla, since the start up is too long. I dunno, I know that I used the hell out of this unit in Vanilla, but this time it just didn't click with me. I will be retrying it after I'm done, since it is my favorite mobile suit.

 The giant cannons on its back make it look bulkier than it is, even though it is quite a tall unit. It's an OK unit with a fantastic long range game and a decent melee.

 New Units
 This was actually DLC in Vanilla, but since I didn't buy it, this unit is pretty much new to me. As one would expect from this four-armed(He has two tiny arms hidden in it's battle skirt) behemoth, its long-range game is pretty weak, and his Beam Rifle takes a while to recharge, so make each weak hit count. It's melee, however, is quite fantastic, he can make some pretty long and strong combos with devastating results. When I first tried it, I hated it, coming from the Messala, but after getting used to it, he became quite fun.

  The Hambrabi has both decent long range game and decent close range game, making it quite versatile. One of his attacks has him calling Dunkel and Ramsus, in their own Hambrabis, working alongside Yazan for a long while. Unlike other supports of their kind, Dunkel and Ramsus are invulnerable, so they'll remain alongside Yazan until their time is up. Not only do they provide a nice buff to the Hambrabi's long range damage, but they allow it to use the three-pronged attack that they used on the show! Very nice unit.

Gundam Mark II/Super Gundam
 One of the units I liked the most, so far. It's got a decent mid range/close range game by default, and it can call the G-Defender to transform into the Super Gundam for a short while. The Super Gundam takes a hit on close-range, but gains super beams to aid it in mid-to-long range skirmishes. It's all around fun and pretty decent.


Full Armor ZZ Gundam/ZZ Gundam
 While I didn't particularly like it in Vanilla, FAZZ was my go-to mobile suit in Mission Mode, when the missions got harder and I needed more fire power. Compared to its vanilla counterpart, it seems a bit weaker when it comes to damage output, but it keeps the same start-up as before. Full Armor ZZ Gundam was made for long range, as his movement speed is slow, and his close-game is pretty sad. Long-range is where it shines the most, until you purge the armor and turn into ZZ Gundam. ZZ Gundam gains more speed and a better close range game, bit it should still aim to stay in mid-range.

Now Playing: Tales of Destiny II

 Seems the copy I've got had one scratch too many, as plenty of Farah's lines would skip... so I migrated to the PS3, and the PS3's reader did the trick. Technical issues aside, so far it's alright. Maybe I hyped myself for this game too much, as it's the Tales game that always eluded me, but I dunno, I like it, no doubt about it, but it wasn't "WHOA OMFG THIS IS AWESOME". Hopefully it picks up, I mean, I only invested about one hour...
 Voice acting is hilarious(In a bad way), graphics are plain, although some of Farah's sprites' expressions are very endearing. As for the engine, I like the new sprite style, Phantasia and Destiny used Super-deformed sprites, but this time they have more appropriate proportions. Combat itself is very Phantasia/Destiny-like, not a bad thing per se, but the new 3D Tales of have evolved oh so much. Reid, like the protagonists from all the classic 2D Tales of games, can use Axes, Lances and Swords, but I found it funny how people kept referring to him and his sword, yet his starting weapon is an axe.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Review #97: Wild Arms 2

Oh boy, another game from my youth. And it's another RPG to boot.
 It's no secret that I adore Wild Arms 3, it's one of my favorite JRPGs out there, but my first dip into the Wild Arms series was the second entry. Truth be told, I had never finished Wild Arms 2, but I finally put an end to that, I have finished it and am ready to write about it.
 This game is set on the Spaghetti-Western inspired Filgaia, you have your gallows-like-bars, cow boy styled NPCs and the music is very cowboy-ish, there's plenty of firearms and the main character's last name is Winchester. However, that's about where the influences go, the rest of the game features plenty of out-of-place technology and a bayonet wielding main hero! Just like in Wild Arms 3, at the start of the game you get to pick from one out of three characters, even though you have to go through all three of them, which will have you play through a small introductory chapter. When all three characters finally join together, ARMS is formed, a team of warriors that seek to bring down the evil group Odessa, that aims to place the world under their rule. There's a lot to the plot, and like every JRPG ever holds plenty of twists, all while seeking to answer the question of what is a "Hero". Sadly, the game's translation is pretty darn awful, at times the dialogue will be making sense, and bam, a totally dumbfounding line follows that makes no sense what-so-ever. Liz and Ard, two secondary characters, are a particularly bad example, as in the Japanese version they'd speak in proverbs.... which were translated in a very literal way, needless to say, their dialogue makes no sense, and it gets worse when the party follows suit. You can get the gist of the story, luckily, but be prepared to go through plenty of lines that make no sense in their context.
 Gameplay is easily the best part about Wild Arms 2, in a sea of me-too JRPGs, Wild Arms does it's own thing both in-battle and while exploring. For starters, towns and dungeons in the overworld are hidden at plain sight, you must douse your surrounding area and hope to find it. It sounds annoying, but you always get plenty of hints, and the places where things are usually have a slight decoloration, it hardly ever becomes an issue. Plus, later in the game you get a radar that shows nearby hidden items and town. When it comes to braving the dungeons, they are filled with puzzles. Each character gets three different tools that they must use in order to fulfill certain tasks or solve puzzling, tools range from Throwing Knives to Kicking Boots, Bombs, Fire Rods, Dashing Boots and a Grappling hook, among many others! Solving puzzles is very fun, and sometimes they can be quite the headscratchers.
 Combat is also very entertaining, as the are many factors to it. First of all, every character attains their Skills in a different way: Brad and Ashley must find cartridges that bestow them with new skills, and these skills consume bullets that must be replenished at stores or via-items, however, they can upgrade these skills. Lilka gets hers by finding hidding Crests and then engraving them with spells for unlimited use, Tim must slay a certain number of enemies while wearing the corresponding Guardians, Kanon's are unlocked as she uses her skills and Marivel must steal them from certain enemies. Furthermore, in battle there is a gauge called Force Points, which rises as you hit and get hit, and starts at the level you are in(Say Ashley is level 31, then at the start of every battle, his FP will start at 31). These skill require you having a certain FP, but do not consume it. However, each character has 4 unique Force Powers that do consume FP. Finally, bosses usually have different parts to them, defeating each part grants bonus experience points and gold, plus, disables some of their attacks(Not necessarily their strongest's). All these options make combat pretty entertaining, getting into fights was just fun.
 There's also a bit of customization in the form of Personal Skills. Every time you gain a level, you also obtain a point to spend on Personal Skills. Points invested can't be taken back, so you have to think carefully. Spoilers: HP UP is the most important skill in the game, and you must start spending points on it as soon as possible, as it makes you earn more HP per level up, this will mean the difference between surviving an attack or dying in one hit, it's easily a must for the optional bosses. Then you have about 12 different Guardians, some earned as the story progresses, but most must be found on optional dungeons. These guardians provide a passive boost to characters stat and grants them a unique special command to use in battle. Did I mention optional bosses? The game has a ton of secrets and hidden sidequests, plus eleven really tough optional bosses, these are incredibly challenging and fun to battle, and they, in turn, grant you the best items in the game.
 Graphics are pretty decent, on the overworld and dungeons, the characters are 2D sprites on 3D backgrounds. The backgrounds are alright, but the sprites are fairly plain with not a whole lot of expressions to them. Battles are fully in 3D, and while character models are quite chubby, it makes them quite charming. Monsters look quite good, and there's a lot of variety to them, you probably won't see them all in your first playthrough, even after trekking through the optional stuff. Music is nothing short of great, and while I wish that there were more tunes, what's in is really good, and used in all the right places. The last boss, for example, is extremely memorable thanks to the music that plays alongside the context and what happens during the battle.
 RPGs aim to rich and involving narratives, and maybe the original version had it, but thanks to the translation, the story and dialogue is one of the things that would put you off playing this game. The gameplay is so rewarding and fun that it pulls through, and there is a lot of hidden things to find and do, the dialogue may be terrible, but the gameplay is not.
 8.0 out of 10.

Review #96: Soul of Darkness

 For five bucks, you could do much worse.
 Gameloft is a Company known for their Mobile Phone games, which rip of various, often popular, games. Such is the case with Soul of Darkness, it's a Castlevania rip-off through and through, and isn't even ashamed of it. While Mobile Phones were the home of this game, it received a DSI port, which is the one I'm gonna be tackling.
 Remember how Dracula loves to take the Belmonts' betrotheds into his castle and having said Belmont get to the Castle, then taking him down? Same deal here. Except that the main character is named Kale and the Vampire is named Ritter. The story does pull a bit of a twist later on, but it's no biggie, story isn't the focus of the game, and it's just a means to an end. Curiously enough, you can actually take pictures and place real faces on the character's portrait, to often hilarious results.
 Soul of Darkness plays like a simplified, watered down Metroidvania. The game is divided in eleven, very short, stages. Even if the stages are pretty small, you do get a Metroidvania styled map on the bottom screen, but you won't really need it. Each level houses a couple of hidden Life and Magic Orbs, collecting four of either extends your Health and Magic bars respectively. The variety of stages is pretty nice, and puzzles while not hard at all, are decently entertaining, they usually involve using Magic, like the Ice Spear to create footholds or the Fire Sword to destroy fragile platforms. The game is pretty easy, as a whole, and the checkpoint system is very generous, it saves after you enter each room, and dying makes you restart at the room's entrance, with refilled health and magic bars. It's also a bit of a necessity, the game failed to load an event after clearing all the monsters, thankfully you can choose to "restart" from the checkpoint at any moment, after restarting and clearing all the moments again, the game proceeded as intended.
 Kale has access to two different weapons, an Ice Lance and a Fire Sword. You can switch weapons at the tap of a button, and each one has it's own combo and magic attack. As previously stated, Magic Attacks are usually used for puzzling, but the affinity of each weapon can sometimes deal extra or less damage on certain foes. Furthermore, defeating enemies or breaking certain objects produces purple orbs that can be used to upgrade your weapons. The game is fairly exploitable on this regard, as you can exit/enter rooms and completely make everything respawn, so that you can farm more purple orbs.
 While the game looks quite pretty on screenshots, the animation is actually quite choppy. The style they used is very Castlevania-like, which is a huge plus in my book, but in motion, it just doesn't look too good. Music and sound effects sound... cheap, as if not much care went into them, which makes sense as this game has roots on the Mobile Phone. Lastly, the game lasts 2 hours at most, with an unlockable hard mode. The presentation is easily this game's weakest aspect, luckily the gameplay makes up for it, as simple and shallow as it is.
 What can one make of Soul of Darkness? It's not terrible, it's fairly functional and at times entertaining, but there's nothing that sets this game apart from other Metroidvanias, it's also fairly short and uninvolved. But hey, for five bucks you could do much worse!
 5.5 out of 10

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Now Playing: Soul of Darkness

 For a rip-off, it's halfway decent.
 This game doesn't even try to hide the fact that it's a bare-faced rip-off Castlevania. From the style of the sprites themselves to the environments. However, beauty is only skin-deep, as the animation is pretty choppy, from what I could gather, it's a Mobile game port. Gameplay, however, is actually pretty freakin' decent, I had quite a bit of fun, all twenty minutes I invested. The game is also pretty easy, infinite lives plus the game saves every time you enter a room, so you can restart at the start of the room, but it's also a must, as once the game failed to trigger an event, so I had to restart that section. Exploiting the levels for orbs, to enhance your weapons, is pretty easy as well.
 Well, for such a shameless copy, it's pretty alright, no where near as good as a Castlevania game, but a nice diversion.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Now Playing: Gundam Extreme VS - Full Boost

  Finally, I've been waiting for so long, and... so far so good. Impulse Gundam was the one I was looking forwards the most, and he is so fun. Surprisingly, the Gian, a Mobile Suit I don't particularly like, is so much fun to use. Arcade Mode seems to be harder, I raged so hard, yet loved it so much. I love this game. Melee, as a whole, seems to have received a small boost, as the window for the melee combos seems much more generous. I spent over 3 hours on this beauty, and of the new suits, I tried: Impulse, Gian(I didn't buy the DLC, so it's a new unit for me) and the Zeong, the Zeong... I didn't like too much, he seems a bit technical and long-ranged, both attributes that I dislike.
 Speaking of dislike, I have a couple of issues with the game as a whole. First, let's start with the thing I hate the most about last gen: DLC. There were a bunch of DLC units leaked pretty soon after the release, and while they are 100 yen cheaper than Vanilla's DLC, they are all clones. Yes, clones, they took existing units, swapped the pilot, altered it's stats(Usually weaker versions) and called it a new unit. There is one or two completely new models, but they are the exception. Vanilla EVS had more expensive DLC, but you could tell work went into it, they were completely new units and they brought a new season of DLC units a year after the game was released, work went into this DLC, even if the second batch of DLC were units from the then Arcade-Only Full Boost. Also, Single Player, Vanilla Extreme VS had over 100 different missions, this game has about half of them, and people are saying many are copy paste from those. True, this game thrives on Multi-Player, but the other game tried! One thing that didn't sit well with me, is how you don't earn medals anymore on the Arcade Route, getting a Gold always felt so good.
 Regardless, I am loving this game, and two out of the three new Unit I tried were extremely fun to play with. Definitely loving it.

Archile's Grab-bag : Early, lazy Saturday!

  I've been waiting for this package, waiting endlessly... AND IT'S HERE.
 GUNDAM EXTREME VS FULL BOOST IS HERE! YES. Context: Gundam Extreme VS is one of my favorite PS3 games, second only to Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Lollipop Chainsaw and Journey(Yeah, maybe not "second", but pretty high up there). AND NOW IT GETS EVEN MORE UNITS, 95 OUT OF THE BOX PLUS 3 FREE DLC UNITS. Still... Well, I'll save opinions for the First Impressions, heh.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review #95: Naruto Powerful Shippuden

 Ain't nothing powerful about this one.
 Naruto is a popular franchise, so popular that it spawned it's own spin off, Rock Lee and his friends. So popular in fact, that the spin off spawned a video game of it's own, developed by Inti Creates, the people that developed Megaman Zero and ZX, sadly, the result is not as stellar.
 The game lets you play as either Naruto or Rock Lee, you'll have to play as both in order to progress however, and it more or less follows the story up to the Pain arc, with a couple of extra stages featuring latter events. Regardless, it's a very loose retelling, in a more "humorous" fashion, however, it falls flat on it's face most of the time. Gags are very formulaic, usually one of the boys will act in a ridiculous manner and one of the girls will explain why it's supposed to be funny, but it's not and rarely ever is. This is supposed to take after the Japanese humor routine of the "Funny guy" and "Serious guy", the girls always taking the Serious guy's place and the boys the Funny guy's, but the game is rarely ever funny. There's a lot of crossdressing humor and the kind of jokes they'd pull on filler episodes to retain their younger audience. Still, there are a couple of jokes that might make you smile, but they don't make up for the rest of the game.
 This is a more or less straight forward action game, you have your standard life bar and energy bar(Chakra), and you get your typical attack, jump and block buttons. If you press block right before getting hit, you'll actually dodge the attack, at the cost of some Chakra, and there are a couple of unblockable moves that must be dodged this way. The X Button serves as the special attack that consumes a little chakra, pressing it on it's lonesome executes an special attack, but stringing it during weak attack combos produces different effects, like a pop up or a knock down attack. You also get Super Moves, like the Rasengan that are pulled of by pressing Block and Special at the same time, and these cost a little more Chakra, both Lee and Naruto also have access to special forms that boost their stats. Finally, you can bring up to three support characters, when allowed to, with you that have their own unique attacks and effects.
 First, let's go over the good things about the gameplay, experience points. Beating each stage grants you Experience Points, and before each stage you can actually take "Personal Challenges", there's about six per stage, but you can only attempt one per go, that multiply the experience points gained, and there is no penalty for failing them. Now, these experience points can be spent on a pretty nice variety of parameters, be it your level(raises HP and attack power), resistance to status effects(Poison, paralyzed, etc), skills or even one-time use bonuses. Even better, you can reallocate points however you see fit, except the ones you spent on one-time use, those are gone for good.
 As for the bad... the game is incredibly repetitive. They tried to alleviate it with different kinds of stages, there's the straightforwards go right and beat anything on your path stages, as well as "defeat every enemy" survivals, stages in which you must find a certain number of a certain item or find a certain number of certain enemy and defeat it, but they all feel very, very repetitive. Even though Rock Lee and Naruto have different storylines, the stages feel very samey between both characters. What adds to the repetition is the combat itself. You see, human enemies like to dodge or block a lot of your attacks, so you have to wear down their Chakra, by forcing them to Dodge until they run out of Chakra, this doesn't make the gameplay any tougher or deeper, it just makes really slow and boring, it isn't even all that hard, just tedious. The game is at it's best during boss fights, as the draining the enemy's Chakra does make sense then, and it's much more fun against this one, tougher opponent. And you'd better enjoy them, as there is a total of 6 stages for each Boss: The original stage, a Harder version, Easy and Hard Boss Challenge versions for Naruto and Easy and Hard Boss Challenge versions for Rock Lee. Did I mention that missions feel very samey? They do.
 The game's best feature, by far, are the graphics. Animation is pretty smooth and charming, and the characters look impossibly cute. The style they used for the sprites makes them look as if they were ripped straight from a TV show, this game is pure eye-candy, plus, turning the 3D on doesn't affect the framerate in the slightest. Sound is alright, music is the usual filler music they use for this kind of licensed games, and each character has a couple of voiced lines, and that's about it.
 The game lasts a solid 6 hours for the core content, then you unlock Endless Battle(Read: Infinite Boss Rush) and the Boss Challenge stages for both Rock Lee and Naruto, clearing these unlock a couple of newer stages. There is plenty of content in the game, it's a shame it's such a drag to unlock it, and not worth it, as the game is not much fun. As with most games that look pretty, the gameplay is pretty lame, unless you are a hardcore Naruto fan, just skip this one altogether.
 4.0 out of 10