15 Best (And Worst) Naruto Video Games Ever Released, Ranked

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The Naruto series became a global phenomenon early on.

Rivaling monoliths like Dragon Ball and paving the way for anime in general to go mainstream, this is a series everyone knows about.

Masashi Kishimoto’s Magnum Opus revolutionized the way anime is experienced in the West, and its influence has spread much further than the TV & film industry – it’s also made its way into gaming, where Naruto games have pioneered a new age of interest in anime-based titles.

The show’s run already ended and the baton has been passed on to Naruto’s son, Boruto.

Although doubts remain as to whether the successor will be as good as the original, it does serve to keep the flame of fandom burning.

Well I’ve decided to do my part in keeping the flame lit by putting together a look back at some of the best (and some of the worst) games in Naruto’s history.

There’s a lot here from the well-known fighters like Ultimate Ninja Storm to lesser-known forays into the world of RPGs. To give you the whole picture I’ve made sure to include a bit of everything. Believe it!

15. Naruto Shippuden 3D: The New Era (2011)

Naruto Shippuden 3D: The New Era Gameplay Screenshot

This must have been the easiest decision I’ve made in my life.

NarutoShippuden 3D: The New Era is by far the worst Naruto game ever created, and must be one of the worst on the 3DS as a whole.

It’s a 2.5D beat-’em-up reminiscent of the Ninja Council series on the GBA, except The New Era doesn’t have the excuse of limited hardware for being this shallow.

It fails at everything it tries to accomplish, which isn’t much to begin with.

The environments look horrible, the controls are clunky as hell, and Naruto only has one combo in the entire game.

Not only that, but the game features some horrible quicktime events to pad out the unremarkable story, and…

You know what? I’ll move on.

 

14. Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles (2006)

Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles Walkthrough

Speaking of shallow games…

Uzumaki Chronicles is a 3D brawler on the PS2 that follows Naruto and friends as they uncover and stop Orochimaru’s plot to turn everyone into ninja zombies to take over Konoha.

As if the story and gameplay weren’t barebones enough, the game had to be revised and stripped of several characters for worldwide release so that it wouldn’t spoil not-yet-localized plot points to Western audiences.

Despite being infinitely better than The New Era, Uzumaki Chronicles has little to no redeeming features.

 

13. Naruto Shippuden: Ninja Council (2006)

Naruto Shippuden: Ninja Council - Naruto vs Ino

Games on the GBA were quite limited by the constraints of the hardware.

Developers were tasked with creating games that appealed to modern markets with specs and a control scheme more reminiscent of the SNES than of contemporary consoles.

Even so, I can’t excuse Ninja Council’s mediocre combat and boring platforming just because the GBA doesn’t have a GTX 1080.

There are plenty of platformers and brawlers on the portable console with creative level design and good sprite work.

And then there’s… this.

The series developed with time, with improvement in regards to combat and the addition of multiplayer.

But the first one remains one of the worst games ever named after Kishimoto’s work.

 

12. Naruto: Path of the Ninja (2007)

Naruto: Path of the Ninja Game Clip

Another attempt at bringing Naruto’s charm to handheld consoles was released a year later, this time in the form of a turn-based RPG for the Nintendo DS.

Despite being originally developed for the GBA, the game has pretty solid sprite work and engaging gameplay. Even if it was somewhat generic as far as turn-based RPGs go.

One of this game’s better features is the fact that a new storyline was concocted specifically for the game rather than re-telling the events of the anime like most Naruto games tend to do.

It may not be the most amazing game ever.

But Path of the Ninja was an entertaining title, which translated into commercial success.

 

11. Naruto Shippuden: Dragon Blade Chronicles (2009)

Naruto Shippuden: Dragon Blade Chronicles Gameplay 2009

Look, I’m not against experimenting with gameplay and storylines in long-running franchises.

But there has to be a limit.

Dragon Blade Chronicles puts Naruto and Sasuke in a setting more reminiscent of Monster Hunter or some fantasy RPG as they hack-and-slash through hordes of enemies on their way to hunting dragons and bosses.

Granted, these big boss fights are pretty entertaining.

But it all feels very detached from the original franchise.

Not only that, but combat is shallow, the graphics are bland, and the game even has frame rate issues at many points throughout the campaign.

At least the character designs are pretty cool!

 

10. Naruto Powerful Shippuden(2012)

Naruto Powerful Shippuden - All Jutsu

A much better option on the 3DS than The New Era is Naruto Powerful Shippuden, based on the Naruto SD: Rock Lee no Seishun Full-Power Ninden spin-off series.

It’s not the deepest game out there.

And you can only play as either Naruto or Rock Lee. But thanks to an engaging story-mode and some interesting combat mechanics, this brawler will keep you entertained for a long while.

Plus the chibi designs are so cute it hurts.

 

9. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja (2006)

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja - Naruto vs Sasuke

The very first game in the Ultimate Ninja series isn’t the best. But it was the seed from where a veritable empire of fighting games would eventually be born.

Moreover, this PS2 title was one of the first major anime-based games to make it overseas that wasn’t complete garbage.

It wasn’t the most complex fighter around by any stretch. But the need to time your commands to achieve the best combos gave it enough depth to feel rewarding.

Plus the cel-shaded graphics were gorgeous at the time, and they have aged pretty well.

 

8. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm (2008)

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Live Game Screenshot

With a new generation of consoles came a new generation of Ultimate Ninja games, adding the suffix “Storm” to represent a departure from the classic 2D fighter mechanics.

This game was the first to allow players to freely run around the 3D battlefields. And learning how to manage this mobility became one of the core aspects of combat in this new series.

It also introduced the use of items like special kunai or consumable potions, which added to the game’s complexity and fun.

A lot more emphasis was put into making combat cinematic to mimic one of the best parts about the anime: the over-the-top Justus and epic fights.

Sure, balance was completely irrelevant in this game. And the open-world bits from the campaign were lackluster.

But this title paved the way for some of the best Naruto games ever. Totally worth playing if you’re into the series.

 

7. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact (2011)

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact Shadow Clone Jutsu

Another game that deviated from the original Ultimate Ninja formula to create something new was Ultimate Ninja Impact on the PSP.

Not only did it have some astounding graphics for a handheld device, but the fights are flashy as hell, putting those graphics to good use.

Like Ultimate Ninja Storm, this game ditched the 2D perspective for 3D battlefields, but also made the game about taking on hordes of enemies a-la-Dynasty Warriors.

Which was a match made in heaven for Naruto.

These changes plus a ton of characters and extra content not only made Ultimate Ninja Impact one of the best Naruto games ever made, but an amazing addition to the PSP’s roster.

 

6. Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2 (2006)

Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2 Orochimaru Opponent

LIt’s no secret that the GameCube is one of my favorite consoles of all time. And Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2 may have a lot to do with my emotional attachment to the purple cube.

This game was one of the first to put Naruto in the hearts and minds of many kids who had never heard about the show, let alone watched it.

It only took a couple of matches in this amazing fighter to make anyone into a new fan of the misunderstood ninja.

Beautiful graphics, cinematic battles, and easy-to-jump-into gameplay made this ideal for when you had a couple of friends over and just wanted to chill, no matter their background or level of expertise.

Plus up to four players could fight at the same time, which was both insane and incredibly cool.

 

5. Naruto Shippuden: Clash of Ninja Revolution 3 (2009)

Naruto Shippuden: Clash of Ninja Revolution 3 Longplay

While the Clash of Ninja Revolution series on the Wii has never been quite as popular as the other Naruto fighter games, the third installment to be released in the West was an outlier that has remained relevant among hardcore competitive circles to this day.

It features one of the most balanced character rosters in any Naruto fighter.

And even though the combos are simple enough for anyone to jump in and give it a go, it’s also a hard and rather addictive game to master.

It may have somewhat mediocre graphics, but with 40 characters and 40 stages to try, it’s also a game that can handle long sessions without feeling repetitive.

And that’s worth a lot in my book.

 

4. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 (2008)

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 Gameplay

Another absolute fan favorite has to be Ultimate Ninja 3 on the PS2.

“Innovative” is the word to describe this fighter, which lets you customize your character by equipping different Justus and items, introduces in-game transformations, and adds CGI cutscenes to the story-mode for the first time in the series.

There’s a lot to like here.

It also introduced a couple of changes to the combat mechanics, such as Jutsu clashes and three-part ultimate moves that have since become a staple of the series.

 

3. Naruto: The Broken Bond (2008)

Naruto: The Broken Bond - Neji's Game

Ubisoft made two Naruto games as exclusives for the XBOX 360 – Rise of a Ninja and The Broken Bond, two of the most unique titles in the franchise.

These games marry relatively simple combat with in-depth exploration of locales, puzzle-solving and a variety of other adventure mechanics that set this game apart from the rest.

Not only that, but the graphics look stunning to this day.

Some of what made this game so amazing was Ubisoft’s attention to detail, making sure to bring back the same voice actors and soundtrack from the anime to create a feeling of being completely immersed in the show.

The Broken Bond also features a multiplayer with a roster of over 30 characters, tag-team battles, and a very fluid battle system.

 

2. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations (2012)

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations 2012 Gameplay

The Ultimate Ninja Storm series has established itself as the main outlet for Naruto gaming. And it’s easy to see why.

They focused on cinematics, flashy combat, and making players feel powerful while playing.

They also focused on bringing as many characters in as they could, which in the case of Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations offers up to 72 playable fighters. Wow!

The reason I’m giving Generations the second spot is the fact that it introduced the substitution gauge, which limits how many times per fight players can dodge attacks with a substitution Jutsu.

This changed combat dramatically, considering it used to be based solely on skill and timing.

Also this was the first Ultimate Ninja Storm game to feature team ultimate attacks, which are incredibly badass.

 

1. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (2016)

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 - Naruto vs Tobi

UNS Generations would have gotten the top spot for sure if it weren’t for UNS4 on the PS4 and Xbox One, which features the biggest character roster to date at over 100 fighters.

It also has some of the most over-the-top special attacks and the most intense cinematic the series has seen to date.

Playing this game looks a hundred times cooler than the actual series.

Which is a lot to say considering some animated masterpieces like the final fight against Pain and the like.

Despite the game coming out with several glitches and FPS issues, which I don’t easily forgive, the development team took fixing these problems seriously. And after a couple of patches the game was running like a charm.

The Road to Boruto expansion featuring several characters from the successor show is just the icing on the cake.

This has to be the ultimate Naruto game ever made – we’ll see what Boruto can do to top it in the future.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.