Review By: Brittany Vincent
|Publisher:||D3Publisher of America|
|# Of Players:||1-4|
|Accessories:||Nunchuk, Classic Controller, GameCube Controller, HDTV 480p, 16:9 widescreen|
As my Naruto-obsessed friend has shown me, the Naruto fighting titles have simply been newer renditions of themselves over and over throughout the years. This is even reflected through their titles, as there has already been a "Clash of Ninja", and then "Clash of Ninja Revolution". Now, with Clash of Ninja Revolution 2, we're getting a superpowered dose of, well, more of the same. It's apparent that in order to sell a Naruto title to fans like hotcakes, changes do not need to be made. However, that does not count of any of the series from being fun and interesting fighters that make competent additions to Naruto fans' game collections. It just means that the series seems to be stuck in a rut. But hey, if it ain't broke, why fix it?
If you aren't familiar with Naruto, it is first and foremost a manga title, spawning an anime series, card game, video games, and tons of merchandise. It follows the tale of Uzumaki Naruto, a young boy who wants to become the head honcho ninja of his village. However, he is actually the reincarnation of a nine-tailed fox who destroyed the village that the "important" ninjas had to defeat in the first place. I don't claim to know much about Naruto, but it's massively popular with both kids and adults, and it's a prime candidate, like Dragon Ball, for tens of thousands of fighting games.
The premise is simple. It's your average, every-day fighter. Characters receive sets of normal moves and special moves that can be performed via "chakra", the energy that fuels their special attacks. In team-based play, it can be likened to Smash Bros. style gameplay, and that is where the meat of the gameplay for me lies. No doubt Naruto fans will find plenty to enjoy in the fighting, as clearing only the story mode will delight anyone familiar to the series, from its explosive and frenetic matches. Even non-fans will be interested from the sheer epic scope of some of the matchups. Fighting is smooth and fluid, and without hiccups. That is, if you're using a form of control that does not involve the Wii remote.
What's special about this Wii iteration of the series is that you can choose between five different modes of play: Wii remote only, Movement mode, Wii remote and Nunchuk, the Classic controller, or the GameCube controller. It's especially important that you choose a mode of play that doesn't involve waggling the Wii remote, as movements instantly become imprecise and almost impossible to perform. There's something about the majority of Wii titles that involve the remotes never wanting to do the job just as they were intended to, and that's what really hinders the title. You have a Wii release that should bring some interesting movements to the table via its different modes of play, but half of them are nearly unplayable. Mapping combos to the Wii remote is a ridiculous notion, as it's never been practical to slog through a fighter throwing your own punches or hoping that in the heat of battle your movements will be registered properly so that you can escape death. For serious players, it's highly recommended to use the Classic controller or a GameCube controller. With anything else, you might as well be flopping around uncontrollably like a Magikarp out of water.
Despite its glaring control issues, Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 does bring a lot of content to the table. Filling out the spread of fighters to choose from, it contains 35 characters from the Naruto universe, including fan-favorites such as the most popular Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura, as well as a host of other supporting characters that fans have grown to love (or hate).
There are several modes to explore: regular vs, a story mode that brings some unique Naruto canon to the universe, mission mode, survival mode, and selections for ultimate tournament battles to take place in. Of course, those are your garden-variety options that should always be packaged with a fighter, but what really stands out in this game is the mission mode. Packaged within what would otherwise be a boring and mundane fighter you're finished with within the day, there are hundreds of missions to finish up, making Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 a nightmare for completionists. It is slightly annoying that many of the missions seem to be fetch quests or carbon copies of other missions throughout the games, but they do add to the bulk of the single-player gameplay avaiable, even though you will end up doing some of the same things over and over.
While the gameplay is smooth and relatively hiccup-free, the graphics do need some improvement. We're talking PS2-caliber graphics, here. The idea was to make them as smooth and as without jaggies as possible to emulate the anime's art style, but there are tons of jagged edges and pixelations everywhere. It would have been much better suited to the 360 or PS3, because frankly, the Wii is not the system you want if you're looking for clean, polished graphics. While there's tons of color, the jagginess and raw picture quality are a shameful excuse for a cel-shaded fighting game.
As for the sound, the anime's voice actors have reprised their roles, giving the game a more authentic feel for series fans. That of course doesn't mean they're great voice actors, as Naruto's "Believe it!" does grate on the nerves, but they bring personality to the game so that veterans will feel more comfortable. Also, some music from the show has been included so that's a plus as well.
All in all, Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 is a slight upgrade from the fighters before it. It does bring some authentic and impressive Naruto fun for the fans, but it is in dire need of a series update as well as a system change, as the Wii is just not cutting it. While it's a fast-paced and fun fighter, the control scheme for the Wii remote does not work as well as you would like, so its preferable to use the Classic Controller or the GameCube controller. The minimal amount of changes this entry has made to the franchise overall does not really warrant a new title every year. So, with that said, this should only be a purchase if it's your first Naruto fighter, or if you just have to have it, as the next game released will probably be another minimal update in an attempt to milk all fans out of their money.
Posted: 2009-03-29 13:37:17 PST