In Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, the game tracks your relationship with various characters by a set amount of heart icons signifying how much that character likes you.

While specific events throughout the game effect your relationships, the game lets you know pretty early on that it is possible to acquire specific items to use as gifts to improve your relationships with specific characters. The game also hints that certain events will only take place if you are friendly enough with specific characters.

So far I have only come across two gift items, the "Ninjutsu Reference Book", which I have successfully given as a gift to Guy, and some item from the flower shop (I can't remember what it was at the moment. Some sort of bouquet naturally). I have been left with many a question regarding these gifts:

  • Can a single item be used as a gift for multiple characters, or should I ignore it once I "figure out" what character it works with? (I see that I can buy multiple Ninjutsu Reference Book, but they are very pricy and I'd hate to buy one in vain).
  • Can you gift a single character with the same item multiple times? If so, is there some sort of cool down?
  • In the event that certain characters require several gifts to reach the best relationship level, how often can you gift them? Is this simply limited to the rate at which new/different gifts become available?
  • Do you need gifts to get the best relationship level with all characters, or do some characters just end up liking you naturally through events/sidequests?
  • Do all characters have specific locations in which they appear when you are between missions? The only opportunity I've seen so far to give a gift is to go up to a character and talk to it, but that would naturally be impossible if they can't be found anywhere.

After playing this game quite a bit, I believe I now possess answers to all of the questions I had:

  • There are only two gift items, the Ninjutsu Reference Book available at one of the two item shops and the Flower Bouquet available from Ino's flower shop. The books can be gifted to any of the male characters while the flowers can be gifted to any of the female characters.
  • You can indeed give a character the same gift multiple times (as there is only one viable gift for any character) and there is no cooldown.
  • Most character do require at least one gift for the maximal friendship level. With the maximal friendship level marked by five heart icons, you can gain one heart for any character by completing a side-mission associated with that character (though some of these show up really late in the game). Once you have one heart for a given character and have unlocked the ability to send letters (this happens once you finish the main plot) that character will then send you a series of three letters for you to answer. A correct answer nets you one extra heart, to a total of three hearts if you get all the responses right. This means that without spending any money on gifts you can go up to four hearts and will need to finish it off with a single gift (though if memory serves, very few characters actually have a pair of missions that make them like you, so you could theoretically not give them any gifts at all)
  • All characters have a specific location where they can be found so that you may give them a gift, but as the plot advances some characters might be temporarily absent from their regular spot. Just advance the plot to get them back there (or if they've gone to some other location and are waiting for you to come along so that they can give you a side-mission, go ahead and perform that side-mission).

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