NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Dragon Blade Chronicles

Review

posted 3/4/2011 by Matt Mirkovich
other articles by Matt Mirkovich
One Page Platforms: Wii
These game names are starting to get a bit ridiculous. Naruto Shippuden: Dragon Blade Chronicles is the latest in the ninja adventures of Naruto and his never ending fight to prevent the Hidden Leaf Village from being destroyed. This time around a member of a persecuted clan, known as the Tatsushiro, has sent out powerful dragons called genryu out to destroy the world. It's up to Naruto to put a stop to this, with the help of members of the Hidden Leaf Village, and even a few unexpected allies. A company known for stellar translation work, Atlus has done a fine job in getting this side-story of the Naruto universe to the hands of Wii owners. Unfortunately though there was not much they could do to save this game from one of the slowest ramp-ups in both storytelling and gameplay. Dragon Blade Chronicles suffers from a very slow introduction that makes playing this game a chore even in the best of times. Best described as a light version of God of War, Dragon Blade Chronicles has all the makings of a clone of that vaunted franchise, some platforming elements, some initially weak combat that eventually picks up to be surprisingly deep, and a story that adds to an ever expanding universe.


Developer Eighting seemed to have little idea of what they wanted to accomplish with Dragon Blade Chronicles, and a few key flaws keep the game far from being considered among stuff like Broken Bond, or the recently released Ultimate Ninja Storm 2. One of the big things being the graphics, which might not sound fair after being spoiled by Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, but I fault this more on the weak graphical capabilities of the Wii. Characters look decent enough, but at a distance the black outlines for the characters suffer terribly thanks to lack of anti-aliasing on the Wii, so the jagged edges combined with flat and repetitive textures make this game look at times hideous, and passable at best. There are also matching sets of animation used during story bits for the characters ambient movement, which looks kind of silly to see characters moving in time with each other in the same manner as if they were synchronized swimmers. All in all the game just isn't very attractive, even enemies, called mugonhei have what looks to be the same model just with different colors and sizes, and having too many on screen causes massive amounts of slow-down, bringing the framerate down to a crawl. The actual characters look pretty snappy up close, and are the high point in this otherwise disappointing display.


Gameplay consists of completing chapters that switch between Naruto while he attempts to destroy the genryu, and Sasuke as he attempts to track down his brother, the leader of the Akatsuki. It's not really that interesting a side story to the Naruto Shippuden line, as it has little expose and doesn't seem to accomplish more for the stories than a movie would, and since it's not part of the main canon you know you're not going to get the resolution at the game's end that you're hoping for. The other weakness here is just the presentation isn't frequent enough, with events functioning as a bookend between chapters. It does however comes across well with quality voice acting that the series is known for, but if you're looking for a Japanese language track be warned that the game only comes with English, though this really shouldn't be a deal breaker.
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