First off, anything with Naruto I normally am automatically subscribed to. It’s one of my favorite things period. Secondly, I hate things that are not canon and fortunately, Dragon Blade Chronicles is not.
Naruto is about a young ninja who is rejected because he has a demon trapped inside him that killed a lot of people and ruined his village years ago. As he grows, he comes to terms with the demon and he starts to befriend other ninjas that once rejected him as he works toward the goal of being the head ninja of the village (Hokage). Naruto and his friend/rival Sasuke end up splitting ways after the first segment of the show as Sasuke grows power hungry and has found a dirty way to get more. Naruto then mourns his friend leaving and soon is attacked by a group called the Akatsuki, who are hunting the people who have demons inside them. It all comes full circle because Sasuke is hunting his brother Itachi, who killed their entire clan in a separate set of lore and Itachi is now hunting Naruto because Iachi is with the Akastsuki, while Naruto is hunting Sasuke to bring him back.
If I haven’t lost you, bear with me, you need to know those facts before we get into the game.
The game opens with a 4/10 stars animated cut-scene with a bunch of the Naruto cast fighting a ton of monsters and a guy who we can presume to be the main antagonist with a bunch of dragons (wow). It even throws in Sasuke and his brother and adorns everyone with new outfits for the sake of the game. As you actually get to start the game, you open with Naruto training until an earthquake hits his Village, and he runs back to see what is happening. Naruto is greeted with odd, new monsters attacking a nun looking girl with a ceremonial dagger. After reaching the current Hokage, the gang is attacked by the a giant Earth Dragon, and after the girl gives him the ceremonial dagger (spoiler alert, its the Dragon Blade) and Naruto uses it to slay the dragon terrorizing the village. They find out that the girl, Akari, and her brother hail from a clan that has dragon like qualities and abilities, and it turns out her brother has gone rogue and is trying to summon 5 dragons to destroy the earth and bring it back anew where humans can’t live. Where do Sasuke and Itachi fall into this? Well the Akatsuki are looking for power to take over the world, and these dragons sound like a newly attainable solution. Where Itachi goes, Sasuke will follow, but these will all tie into separate story segments through the game.
Now for something besides non-canon story line. Playing the Dragon Blade Chronicles is actually not a bad time. It’s a beat em up relatively simple in terms of combat, though you do need to pay attention to the tools you use to fight. Each of the bad guys will come in one of five elements: water, fire, wind, lightning, and earth, and they can all defeat each other in that same cycle, water beats fire, fire beats wind, and so on. As you beat each dragon you get a stone that you can infuse with your dagger to give it a new fighting element. With you beating the earth dragon in the village, you start with the earth element and an advantage against water. It can be a bit of an inconvenience to have to change your element every time there is a different group of enemies because you would have to open your menu for every different colored enemy, so they included jutsus, ninja abilities that allow them to do moves like shoot fireballs or shoot jets of water, expanding Naruto’s attacks from elemental melee to different elemental ranged.
Fighting the enemies will get monotonous because even though they all have different elemental associations, they do not vary too much in shape or challenge. A humanoid, a giant, and a pterodactyl type are 90% of the game apart from the dragons and other bosses. Even playing as Naruto loses its shine, so you will have segments where you play as Sasuke as he looks for his brother in the caverns and areas with the Dragons. Once you actually get to fight the dragons is where the challenge truly begins! Instead of being on an open plain where you run around and fight, you are placed before this huge dragon that can destroy and alter the environment and all you can do is run left and right to try and avoid the oncoming assault. The final boss and a montage of fights through his forms are pretty fun too but a lot of it is obligatory fan service for Naruto fans.
If you read my review on Code Lyoko, then you may see familiarity with my following statement: this didn’t have to be a Naruto game. I feel the voice acting was the same, if not very close, the 3D animation isn’t too pretty compared to the anime itself or the anime cutscenes within the game. They paid good respect to the personalities of the characters, Naruto and Sasuke both act as they would and the supporting cast don’t stray far from their roles in the show whether it is as mentor or comrade. But, this could have been any sort of game where the protagonist hunted dragons with elements and it would have been good, but I felt the Naruto aspect was really just to push a product for the name instead of the quality. It may be a small qualm, but its one that always is in the back of my mind with these licensed games and whether or not it’s a genuinely good game. Dragon Blade Chronicles was an okay game, but I really feel the anime games should stick with canon, and let offshoots be for the movies.