Well, it’s that time of the month again. Yes, that’s right: It’s the time when all the broke readers of GameCola look to The Poor Player’s Paradise for their temporary amusement until they have enough money to buy actual games.
Before I start this month, a brief word of advice to anyone who read last month’s Inside the Guide and was interested in playing Déjà Vu 2. Google it, and it will quickly turn up for easy downloading. Or if that’s too much work for you poor people, you could go here to download it.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get down to this month’s free game. Just in time for the new season of Naruto for any of you anime freaks, which I certainly am not, is Naruto Arena! Naruto Arena is a fighting game featuring characters from the popular anime. Matches are played against other people with teams of three ninjas from the show. Starting off, there are 16 basic characters to choose from, each with four techniques derived from their repertoire of attacks in the show. One technique for each character makes that character invulnerable for one turn, so you really are only left with three unique techniques. In addition to the 16 basic characters, there are 12 more that are currently unlockable through the completion of various missions and seven that are currently being developed.
Gameplay consists of picking three characters and clicking “Start Ladder Game.” The play proceeds in turns, starting with the person who has a higher rank. For balancing purposes, the starting player only receives one chakra point on his first turn. After the first turn, each player receives chakra points equal to the number of surviving characters on his team. There are four types of chakra: taijutsu (green), bloodline (red), ninjutsu (blue), and genjutsu (white). Each technique requires chakra. Stronger techniques obviously require more chakra and greater specificity in the type of chakra needed. Many techniques require a combination of a specific type and a nonspecific chakra point, which can be satisfied with any of the four types.
The use of the chakra system creates a game combining luck and strategy for the players. Not all the techniques are simply attacks. There are techniques that prevent the use of skills, techniques that prevent characters from defending, techniques that make the whole team invulnerable, techniques that drain or remove chakra, and techniques that boost attack damage. In many cases, the player with the better strategy will come out victorious, thereby advancing in rank.
Players are ranked in the game on a ladder system, starting at about 100,000. Advancing up the ladder can occur rapidly. Only having played the game a month, I was able to advance to a rank under 1000, attaining a title on the ladder system which only goes to the top 2% of players, according to the Web site. I had attempted to reach the number one position, which is given the special title of Hokage, but sadly, not having enough time to devote to playing the game, I was unable to attain that position since the ranks at the top change fairly quickly. However, I still saved my player card from the other day to show all of you.
Playing the missions occurs during the course of normal gameplay, provided you have fulfilled the rank and, if there is one, the preliminary mission requirement. The missions consist of beating characters with a certain character(s), winning a certain number of fights with that character(s) in your party, or winning up to five fights in a row with that character in your party. The additional characters are unlocked through the completion of missions. As of this writing, I have unlocked seven of the twelve unlockable characters. The missions can make this game both annoying and fun, as many people simply beg others to let them win so they can finish the mission. Others quit matches prematurely since you aren’t using the appropriate characters for the mission, which, although boring, does advance you further along the ladder system. In my case, though, I like challenging matches, so those people really annoy me.
I advise putting on some background music while playing the game as the game currently lacks any during the actual game (there is a melody that plays while you select your characters and wait for the system to find your opponent). Other negatives to this game include the inability to play against a specific person (the system pits you against the person closest to you in rank currently available) and frequent crashes of the system caused by too many people signing on at once. These problems are currently being addressed by the designers of the game; in fact, they just recently received new servers and are in the process of setting them up. They also recently released an updated version of the game with new backgrounds and a surrender button (which decreases the amount of time you wait to find out the other person quit). These updates addressed some of the concerns I myself had about the game, so I am confident about the staff’s willingness to listen to suggestions and address the concerns of their players (previously, the game only had one background…VERY old to look at after a while).
Anyway, as it is still in development, some flaws are to be expected. Whether or not you decide to play is up to you. If you do, let me know. I may even reset my account to increase my chances of fighting against you, at least until they develop a method for selecting your opponent. Expect further news from me as this game develops. Hope to see you on the battlefield!