First, a confession. I've been playing Naruto: Rise of a Ninja on Xbox 360 the last couple of days. I can assure you this was not part of the original plan.
No, the plan was to just give it a go, because I believe everything deserves a fair chance. Except maybe chloroform or blunt head trauma. I don't have anything against anime - I think it's great, actually - but I could never summon the desire to give a flying crap, or half a flying crap, about Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z and, of course, Naruto.But Rise of a Ninja so effortlessly combines role-playing with the kinky flavours of Street Fighter II and, oddly, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, that I've had to change my seat covers twice because I've been subconsciously, and gleefully, wetting myself.
This kind of thing happens to everyone, or so my quickly-diminishing group of friends keeps telling me.
Even more surprising, other than my case of Euphoric Bladder Syndrome, is that Rise of a Ninja is straight out of Ubisoft Montreal (the guys doing Assassin's Creed, for those of you who, evidently, shouldn't even be reading this blog). Add cel-shaded graphics to this already tantalising cake, and you'd have to be daft to pass on the game simply because it's based on a children's anime, or has insufficient icing.
I'm currently saving 90% of my RPG attention span for Mass Effect, as I have a feeling I'll need it, but the other 10% has been happy to indulge Rise of a Ninja. I recommend you do the same with you 10% (or more, if you have crazy Naruto love).
In fact, Rise of a Ninja almost perfectly fills the hole in my life left by the Oz delay of Assassin's Creed.
Feel free to share your experiences with games that looked bad, but played all good-like.