For the most hyperactive ninja in the world, it would make sense for him to have quite the hyperactive game. Naruto really isn't one to go slow-paced. It is always full-steam all the time. He burns bright and he burns fast. His latest DS title showcases his energetic nature. Naruto Shippuden: Naruto vs. Sasuke is a fast-paced DS title to play.
After their climatic battle at the Valley of the End, Naruto and Sasuke went their separate ways. Sasuke went to Orochimaru with hopes of gaining the power to kill his brother and avenge his clan, while Naruto went to train with Jiraiya in the hopes of becoming strong enough to bring back his wayward friend. Jump ahead two and a half years, Naruto and Sakura have defeated the first member of Akatsuki and have returned to the village of Konoha to receive some news: Their team is getting some new members. Naruto vs. Sasuke tells the tale of the events from the formation of the new Team 7 all the way to Naruto and Sasuke's reunion. For a very little chunk of story, it is quite amazing how the people at Atlus put quite the content into the game.
Progression of the story is quite linear. Players are dropped in stages and must run from one side to the other. This game is a platformer in its core with light-action spread throughout the stages. As you progress, the stages become more complicated by adding in hidden platforms to activate and doors to open to gain further access into the levels. Once you get to the end of a stage, you must then fight a boss to complete it. These boss fights are quite fast-paced, entertaining action sequences and interesting to overcome. There was one boss fight where I was being chased by a giant clay-dinosaur and if I didn't beat it in time, it would explode and take me with it.
There is quite some replay value to be had for this game that will have obsessive gamers coming back for more. And it is quite needed for this title. You can easily breeze through this title's story mode in roughly three hours. When you complete a mission, you can return to the village of Konoha and speak to your fellow village ninjas. Some of them will seek your help, such as retrieving certain items in missions and defeating certain opponents. Once you complete the task for them they will agree to assist you as becoming a playable character or a support character that gives you special bonuses such as doing extra damage or massive heals for a character. For extra replay value certain playable characters you unlock will be able to unlock certain doors with their jutsus in stages that open up all new stages and new bosses to fight. This gives you some extra incentive to help out your allies. There are also additional modes such as Free Mode that lets you play any level as any character you have unlocked. There is also a Boss Rush stage that has you fight every boss in the game.
Sprite animation looks good on the DS. The game can accommodate quite a lot of sprites on screen for the title. When you perform a special jutsu, the sprite animated cutscenes look good and once again add to the replay value as you'll want to see which teammate combinations unlock special tag-team moves rather than just the generic knock them in the sky while you knock them back to the floor. However, for some unexplainable reason, the frame-rate suddenly dropped. It would be no surprise if it dropped during a heavy-action sequence, but it dropped when I was the only person on screen. It really made no sense.
While the platforming stages do have ninjas and other enemies to topple, it seems these action sequences here weren't really necessary. It slows down the pacing of the level and the fighting here wasn't fully fleshed out. The game does have a combo counter, but there are things that the game missed. Each character can perform a thrust up attack that launches an enemy into the air, but once they are in the air, that's it. No more hits will register on the enemy. It is a very blatantly missed opportunity on the developer's part that could have further expanded the combat experience.
Naruto Shippuden: Naruto vs. Sasuke is a good DS title for what it is worth. The story is quite short, but it does make up for its length with modes and extras to unlock. While the platforming and boss battles are fast-paced, fighting in the platforming stages could have been thought out more. Still, Naruto fans will enjoy the experience.