Posted: February 5, 2014
[SPOILER FREE] Very, very good game - Not so good port.
If we were to focus on the porting of the game rather than the game itself then we'd get nowhere, as there's not a lot to say and not much of it good. So instead, I will focus mainly on the game itself from my experience with the Console editions, and later tie that in with the PC port.
So, as anyone who has played a game in the STORM series knows, it is the go-to series for a true-to-the-anime experience. Everything is there; the beautiful graphics, the original voice actors, the story, everything. Even the tiny details you wouldn't normally catch (Such as Tobi's subtle and goofy taunts), are present. It's really what the anime would look like if it were real.
STORM 3 was a massive step up from its predecessor, Generations, in that it took the new mechanics and elements brought to the table and refined them further, and over a year after release there are still new mechanical tactics being discovered or used in entirely new ways. There are more ways to fight in STORM 3 than there were before; many viable combinations of characters and playstyles. Although it seems at times that some are more useful or practical than others, typically it lies down to individual cunning to overcome what is ahead of them.
The story is faithful to the anime (Up until a certain point, however the anime hadn't got to this point yet so it's understandable), and really makes you feel as if you were in the Naruto universe. My main gripe is the endless chains of cutscenes, with no option to skip them all, as there is a loading sequence between each one. I love the cutscenes as they are stunning, especially with Full Burst's revamped graphics, but they lose their impact if you're replaying the story mode. It would be nice to be able to skip them all without loading up each one.
Aside from the main story, there are side missions aplenty, allowing you to learn a little more about the other characters in the universe that still tie in to the main story. Very good for anyone who enjoys the other characters and want to see more of them.
The soundtrack to the game is reminiscent of the anime and equally as awesome. No complaints what-so-ever about the audio, as it's been spot on in all of the STORM games and I'm a huge fan of each OST. (My personal favorites were STORM 2's "White hot battle at the summit" and "The Uchiha Hideout" stage music.)
Another reason people are drawn to the series is for the multiplayer. Sadly, with exception to the new roster and mechanics, STORM 3 did not bring much new to the table that was exclusive to the multiplayer, however they did take what was already there and make it just that bit better. For example, whilst there are now thousands
of possible ninja info card and title choice to choose from, none of this is visible to other players unless it's a 1v1 fight. It subtracts a lot of the motivation to unlock these cards and then spend time personalizing it when there are only two modes in which people can even see it, and even then it's only for a few seconds before both players prepare to begin character selection.
As for the non-1v1 modes, Tournaments or Endless, Both modes had a new feature added, but neither of them were really that interesting.
Nobody plays elimination Endless (A mode where you keep playing until you lose, at which point you are kicked from the lobby) because people join endlesses to play mutliple matches with a group of people over a period of time, and being ejected from the lobby for losing, or having your opponents ejected when you win, is just like playing 1v1 modes except with a waiting list.
As for Perpetual tournaments (Tournaments where each match has two stipulations that affect both players), they can still be interesting, however the feature just wasn't taken advantage of. There could have been countless possibilities for different rules and options. They could've made it so one player is affected by one rule whilst the second player is only affected by the second one. They could have also added in many more rules, too, however you'll usually have seen it all after your 3rd or 4th tournament.
The Ranked mode has also gotten considerably worse; CyberConnect2 sacrificed a lot to try and keep the game balanced, and ultimately it went to waste as there are still the small stable roster of characters and supports you'll see in the majority of your matches (Looking at you, Kimimaro and Neji.) however unlike the past games, balancing patches have been brought out to try and quell this, however most players still stick to the familiar "meta" teams.
Disconnections (Or Ragequits) were an issue CC2 attempted to address, however there still seems to be literally no penalty for people disconnect often, as there are players with thousands
of disconnects and people still play against them. Some people actually take pride in their disconnection frequencies now that they have no limit.
Essentially, CC2 is concerned about punishing legitimate players who accidentally disconnect, however that's exactly what's happened now; I'm still getting disconnects just like someone who ragequits. If they would just give disconnecters a loss and, or heck, even JUST give the other player a win, then nobody would be bothered by disconnections at ALL.
But not all multiplayer must be online - The offline multiplayer is fantastic. All of the tournament features are available for offline use, and with addition of Full Burst; there are plenty of challenging missions which actually net you some nicely-made wallpapers. Each battle has unique stipulations, which further begs the question of why they didn't include them in the tournament mode.
Another unforseen but very welcome addition only possible due to the PC port is the inclusion of mods. Sadly is there no official support for mods - yet (wink wink) - however the community has still managed to bring some incredible content to the table, such as unlocking characters that were once unplayable and actually caused CC2 to recieve a bit of backlash for not including. There are new costumes, new stages, new characters, new movesets, you name it.
Sadly that's where the good news stops when it comes to the PC port. On launch, the game was plagued with a terrible bug that rendered the online mode nearly unplayable. It took a rather long time to fix, but it was eventually fixed. There were also many crashes during the story mode, however one still remains as of writing this. It appears that CC2 is eager to co-operate with its community though so I expect that these issues shan't persist forever.
Another problem were the very high system requirements. Although understandable for such a stunning and complex engine, it was rather disappointing to many people that the game simply couldn't run, especially due to the very little amount of graphical settings available to the user.
With that being said, here is my conclusion;
+ Brilliant graphics.
+ Perfect OST
+ Faithful to the anime
+ Very easy to pick up and play
+ Huge and active fanbase
+ Mountains of content of all kinds
+ Community-driven developers
- PC port was rather disappointing
- Too much focus on a "balanced" online mode which didn't end up being balanced, often at the sacrifice of other, much more enjoyable features
- No official support for mods despite a thriving modding community
- poorly optimised
Overall, I love this game, and this series. I have put thousands of combined hours into the entire series on PC and consoles.There are definitely glaring issues or places where they could've really put some work in and made something incredible, however everything else that is expected of the STORM series is met in spades. I cannot wait for the next STORM game and can only pray that CC2 keep up their level of community interactivity and keep on improving on constructive feedback.