Is Naruto Online Worth Playing in 2022?
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “What the actual heck are you playing, Stix?” And you know what? I don’t want sass today. Okay? I love Naruto.
Okay, well.. past tense. I used to love Naruto back when I was a kid. I genuinely teared up a little when Haku turned Sasuke into a piñata.
(.. from laughter, maybe, but that was an incredibly emotional moment in the series for me.)
Today, we’re taking a look at a Naruto MMORPG.. yes, Naruto apparently has an MMO. Don’t ask me why, but I decided I wanted to stream it. And given the fact that there were over 400 of you watching for the entire thing… evidently you were all, at the very least.. intrigued.
This is one of multiple MMORPGs set within the Anime-to-MMO-verse. MMOs that were developed by taking a popular Anime series, and… well, doing this to it.
Now where do I even start with this? I guess let’s just start at the beginning. I noticed there were various different MMOs that were based on pre-existing Anime series: Naruto, Bleach, Fairy Tail, One Piece. So I kinda just YOLO’d it and went with the first one that came to mind.
I had expectations. Very low expectations, but expectations nonetheless. I’m a pretty big Anime fan. I loved all of the aforementioned Anime series – at least at one point in time. Man do I hate fillers though, those kill me a little inside.
So I had certain expectations: I wanted the main Naruto cast to be present, I wanted to be able to traverse the world, especially Konoha, and I wanted to be able to customize my character.
2 out of 3 of those requests were better than nothing.
So, this is a different type of MMO than I’m sure most of you are used to. I don’t know how many of you have played browser MMOs in the past, but that is exactly what this is. A browser MMO. Although it required I download and play it via a client as opposed to via the browser, so.. I guess it isn’t entirely anymore?
Browser MMOs are typically a much lower quality MMO than what we’re generally given. They all follow the same formula: They’re always from a top-down isometric perspective, have copy-pasted gameplay – auto-pathing, auto-combat.
This was no different, really. On the one hand, combat wasn’t automatic. Your characters would automatically engage enemies on their own, but you had direct control over your abilities. This gave you a level of interaction while in combat, which – interestingly enough, was like an old-school turn-based JRPG.
You’d navigate around the world and encounter various different Shinobi. Some were story-characters, others were just random fluff NPCs you could fight to fill the areas a little and prevent the world from feeling too empty.
The world was segregated, meaning that to move between areas, you’d go through little loading portals interconnecting everything.
I went through quite a few, admittedly. Each area was fairly small and consisted of a handful of objects or NPCs. The zones outside of Konoha, however, were larger. They had an actual mini-map, and diverging pathways to provide a little in the way of exploration.
I can appreciate that, but at the same time the game still felt very linear. The additional paths were merely small little off-routes that would take you to a treasure chest. Or a more difficult fight.
Yet it still felt very.. Naruto-ish. Running around Konoha was actually kinda cool. The areas felt like they were screenshotted from the Anime and pasted into the game.
I can’t imagine how much fun this could’ve potentially been had it been designed from a traditional third-person perspective.
Graphically, the game utilizes sprites for the characters present. They look pretty detailed, as do the abilities the different characters use.
Although the game definitely shows its age. I mean… I’m gonna be real here, I’ve seen mobile games that look substantially better than this. And they’re built for little mobile devices.
I feel like this would’ve potentially done better on mobile devices as opposed to being released on PC, this is further illustrated by the fact that I had to download an entirely separate client to play it, a client, mind you, that wouldn’t resize to my actual resolution.
So I had to use OBS to increase the size by.. roughly 175%? Just so the game would be visible to the extent it is currently.
Yet even taking all of this into consideration, playing through the game as an outsider, and watching everything unfold.. the story slowly progress, the characters interact. It was a little nostalgic.
Yes we’re given the option of choosing our elemental affinity, and while we have no further customization than that, it was a little fun watching the Anime play out with our character being partially involved.
I mean, yes, certain liberties were taken with respects to the narrative. Interjecting an extra character into any of this would’ve made things play out very different after all. Maybe we could’ve stopped Sasuke from leaving. Maybe we could’ve taken ‘ol Orochimaru during the Chuunin exam.
✔️ If you’re a fan of Naruto, and wanted to play a part in the story.. then this is definitely going to pique your interest.
❎ Yet if you’re not, there’s nothing really worth investing time into.
❎ The combat is mostly auto-play, with the only interaction from you being when and what ability to use before going onto cooldown.
❎ The narrative is.. loosely adapted, and poorly translated so it can seem a little out of place at times.
❎ The graphics don’t look terrible, but could’ve been so much better, especially given the competition these days.
❎ Everything about the game felt like a poor-quality mobile title. From the upgrading, to the currency, to the Gacha-style recruitment of characters.
Ultimately, I only spent approximately 2 hours in this game. But.. having played various other types of not only Mobile MMOs, but also browser MMOs, I can tell you that this feels EXACTLY like what I’ve played before.
At least games like Black Desert, Final Fantasy XIV and The Elder Scrolls Online all feel contrastingly different from one another. I’ve yet to encounter a browser MMO that felt… significantly different to its competition.
Is Naruto Online a bad MMO? No. Well, yes. It’s a bad MMO, but not a bad browser MMO. It’s bad when compared to full-fledged PC MMOs, yet about what you’d expect from a browser title.