Naruto Uzumaki Chronicles 2 - first hands-on

We're only slightly kidding with that strapline above: with three separate publishers riding the little orange-clad money train, there are far too many Naruto-based games coming down the pike. However, Naruto Uzumaki Chronicles 2 is unique in some important ways. First off, it's on PS2, which means it looks cruddy and old (though improved from the first Uzumaki game) but will be available on what is still far and away the most-played home console in the current market.

Secondly, it's a third-person beat 'em-up rather than a pure fighting game. This means you'll be going on missions that have objectives other than "smash that one other guy in the face and soft organs until he's pummeled into unconsciousness." Granted, they're still simple tasks: escorting someone here, teaming up with another player to punch large propane tanks (which probably don't hold propane, but it's the closest visual comparison), beat up 30 guys instead of just one, and so on. So we're not talking high strategy. But it's a nice change of pace just the same.

Thirdly, you're looking at an all-new storyline, complete with new villains (though we did see one group who looked suspiciously like sand ninjas). That's definitely worth something for those of us who'd rather not pound the snot out of the same schlubs in the same order.

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