Naruto: Ninja Council 3 (DS)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, June 21, 2007

Graphics: 7.75
Sound: 7.00
Gameplay: 6.50
Replays: 5.00

It’s time once again for another Naruto Ninja Council game, this time on the Nintendo DS. As seems to be tradition with this series, the third entry in the series has a different developer from the past two. This time around Eighting is at the helm (developer of the Gamecube Clash of Ninja series), and rather than being a platformer the game is closer to Jump Superstars. Unfortunately, this change in gameplay style can’t keep the title from being any better than its predecessors, due to lackluster single player.

This time around the single player consists of around 60 missions that deal with various battles and situations that were in the anime. However, there is no real story and these missions basically act as a way of unlocking all of the secrets and achievements within the game. In addition to this, many of the missions can be breezed through within a matter of minutes and quite a few of them can be beaten on the first try. Because of this the game lacks the depth that it needs to keep people playing for long periods of time.

While we’re on the topic of missions, many of them are just a little too similar. Most of them revolve around collecting a certain amount of items in a certain time, beating up a certain number of enemies, hitting a character with a specific attack, or just beating an opponent in a one on one match. There are over 20 characters to the show to choose from, but all of their base moves are the same. What makes up for this is the special move system. It is possible to mix and match different characters with specials, and each one uses the stylus in various ways. It is a nice little touch, and helps Ninja Council 3 avoid being too repetitious.

The star of the show seems to be the multiplayer mode, which offers 4 player action (but it requires multiple carts). This proves to be a lot of fun (and is admittedly very close in nature to Jump Superstars), but because it requires multiple carts not everyone will be able to experience it. Aside from this and single player, that’s about all there is. This is a shame, as a traditional one on one mode would’ve at least added something else to do.

Graphically Ninja Council 3 looks alright, but a lot of elements have been recycled from the last game. The backgrounds and character sprites will make some gamers feel as though the developers took a GBA game and simply ported it to the Nintendo DS (which is very likely). One new addition is that anime cutscenes now play after a special move has been pulled off, and these look great. And although the assets are reused, they do truly capture the look and feel of the game. Ninja Council 3 sounds somewhat similar to the show as well, and there is some minor voice work that gets the job done.

Overall, Ninja Council 3 is a competent title for fans of the anime, but once again not the perfect choice for those looking for a deep experience. While the multiplayer may be worth playing, it’s not worth buying the title for. Eighting needs to go back to the drawing board and work on a stronger single player next time around. As is, this is another average Naruto title for a handheld system, but shows that the series is still trying.

Overall Rating: 6.50

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