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It’s tough to slag on a game as robust as Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2. It’s got more than 30 fighters ripped straight from the beloved anime/manga, it supports a four-player battle royale mode that’s a blast, and the single-player story mode has really nice variety. You’re not just pounding an endless line of other ninjas in the face; you’re teaming up with two other ninja against a nigh-indestructible boss one moment, taking on two enemies at once the next match, and always wondering what’s going to happen next because the story is all new.
It looks spiffy enough and moves smoothly while you’re playing (cut scenes aren’t all that hot, though) and the combat strikes a nice balance, being both easy to grasp and deep enough to keep fighting fans busy. There’s a foreground and background to every level, which makes the levels more strategic than those in a typical fighting game. And there are a wealth of possible control configurations, which is nice because we’re not really into the default, waggle-happy scheme.
However, there is a problem: too little evolution. This game has been released almost exactly one year to the day (in the US) after the first Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution, which itself was barely different from the series’ GameCube predecessors (which, of course, play on Wii), the two Naruto: Clash of Ninja games. That’s why the game plays so well and seems so balanced; it’s been made four times now.
Aside from some new characters – there’s a full list halfway down this page – a few new stages, the re-twigged story mode and support for 16:9 480p televisions, there’s just not much new stuff here. For instance, where’s the online play?
Defendants will say, “But it’s only been a year! That seems like plenty of new stuff to me!” And that’s the problem. It’s only been a year, so instead of getting a new game, we just got another game. Thus, as well as it plays, we can only really recommend a purchase to players who don’t have the last three. For everyone else, it’s a rental.
Nov 25, 2008