Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations is a good gateway into the world of fighting games. As with previous games in the Storm series, Generations' core combat mechanics are accessible enough for a large audience to enjoy while still rewarding practice and proficiency. This series has a beautiful visual style and an aggressive combat rhythm uniquely its own. But while the core mechanics remain intact, Generations drops some features found in its predecessors and offers shallow alternatives.
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Watching a match of Generations is a lot like watching --it appears complicated but is quite simple. For Generations, matches are fought between two opponents until one side runs out of health. The face buttons control attacking, dashing, throwing shurikens, and manipulating chakra. Chakra is the currency of special attacks and can be used in conjunction with any of the other three functions for enhanced results. For instance, using chakra and dash together lets you move farther more quickly, while chakra and attack together produce devastating special moves.
These special moves are the main point of distinction between this game's 72 playable characters. Generations, like previous Naruto fighting games, focuses its efforts on providing interesting outputs rather than inputs. There's no need to master complex combo timing or to study the particulars of a light punch versus a medium kick. The vast majority of fighters use the same style and tactics. Proficiency steams from mastering the fighting system, rather than individual characters. Whether you're a novice or a veteran, the fights are still fast-paced bouts filled with fireballs, tidal waves, and more.
The backbone of Generations' combat system is the substitution technique, which lets a character teleport behind his or her attacker. This mechanic drives the flow of combat, which, at its most basic, follows a rhythm of strike, teleport, strike, teleport, and so on until one side cannot teleport further. The challenge is manipulating that flow so your opponent exhausts his or her substitutions before you do. This gives the game an overwhelming focus on aggressive, rush-down tactics and doesn't leave much room for different fighting styles.
In addition to being the game's backbone, the substitution technique has received significant changes. Previously, it depleted the chakra gauge when used, which led to some unintended exploits from skilled players. Now, this technique has its own dedicated gauge that is divided into four sections. Each section affords one substitution and refills automatically. The window for performing a substitution is larger in this game as well. These tweaks make each substitution extremely valuable and lower the skill barrier by de-emphasizing precise timing and instead focusing on resource management. They maintain the core strategy of substitutions while making the technique more accessible.