Its been a while since I've picked up any anime based titles, let alone a fighter. But I must admit, for being over 2 years since it was originally released in Japan, this game holds up quite well.
The first thing about this game that should grab the attention of the hardcore NARUTO fans is that this title offers the option to change the voiceovers to the original Japanese cast, a BIG plus for fans like myself who cant stand the dubbed cast. (I'm not sayin that they "suck", but I MUCH prefer the original JP)
Gameplay wise it is quite better than the older Ultimate Ninja series. (Although since I've skipped UN2 no one hesitate to point out any of my mistakes, etc.) Unlike the original in which you go from match to match to complete the story mode, in UN3 they offer a bit more interaction with the gaming enviroment. You're allowed to explore parts of Konaha village (albeit that its not that large of an environment) to search for goods, etc for events. You also get to interact with other characters from the series by handing them gifts and going through character specific events to learn new jutsu, etc. They've also included a handful of fun mini-games into this title. Albeit that its not something that you'd spend hours playing, its certainly a fun way to pass time when you dont feel like battling.
The main change I've noticed is the character customization. By this new system you can actually select a jutsu from the ones that you've learned by leveling up your characer or aqcuiring them through events, etc. to the set commands. Unlike the older UNs you only have one set Ultimate Jutsu rather than having "Levels" of it that you can choose in battle. Some Ultimate Jutsus will change your character's parameter such as ATK, etc or even lower it. Also the Ultimate Jutsus require specific items for you to be able to use them, so you must go throught the Story mode and acquire them.
With around 40 charachters to choose from and all you're given a lot of customization options and play patterns. On the plus (or the negative, depending on if you like future spoilers and such) side there arent almost any characters that'd spoil any future events for the people thats been keeping up the US airing of NARUTO on CN's Toonami segment and the manga releases. UN3 goes right up to the Sasuke retrieval mission arc and ends there so there arent any "surprises" for those of you thats been keeping up. Otherwise I say that this game is a great way to get caught up on your NARUTO storyline and facts. But as for the people that are either in Japan or watching fansubs,you might wanna go look on ahead to the other titles...
Graphics wise they havent made any drastic improvements from the previous titles but they've certain made the character movements a little more "flowing". The anime-ish shading resembles closely to the anime directly yet it offers something a tad bit different. There are also a handful of CG scenes that are quite a treat for the fans. As for the in-game music...well, dont expect much, thats all I have to say. Its not bad enough to dissapoint yet its not good enough to get excited about.
So, that was my thoughts on the game overall. Feel free to add any thoughts, comment, etc. Just keep it relevant and EXPLAIN your thoughts, etc.