Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 - first look

The Naruto: Clash of Ninja series has been a mainstay of Nintendo systems since the GameCube, with the format staying the same across consoles: 3D cel-shaded fighting between two to four people, tons of characters, multi-tier stages and plenty of flashy combos and special moves. Revolution 2, the second Clash title for the Wii, brings a few notable differences to the table, including new gameplay mechanics (tag team fights!) and motion controls (hold C and Z, and then input some simple motion commands with the Wii remote to boost your super move bar instantly).

There’s also a brand new storyline written specifically for the North American audience, featuring plenty of characters never before seen on US shores, a few that have never appeared in any Clash of Ninja game in the US or Japan, and even some totally original ones the dev team created themselves (don’t worry, they’re totally legit – they’ve been certified by the official guardians of Naruto lore).

Counting the built-from-scratch originals, Revolution 2 adds 15 new characters on top of the previous game’s roster of 20, bringing the grand total to 35. Eight of them are appearing in the US for the first time, including Yugao Uzuki, a purple-haired, no-nonsense member of the ninja black ops unit known as the Anbu, and supposedly the fastest character in the series to date. Unlike most of the hand-to-hand brawlers of the Naruto-verse, the Anbu aren’t shy about bringing a sword to a fistfight – Yugao’ll slice you up with a sleek-looking katana. A couple other characters debuting in Revolution 2 also aren’t shy about their exercising their Second Amendment rights, but we’re obliged to keep them under wraps – a ninja’s gotta have its secrets, right?

Above: Cute mask, lethal slice. Yugao’s one of three Anbu appearing in Revolution 2

Conveniently enough, you won’t have to try out each new character one-by-one to get a taste for all of them, as tag-team fighting will be making its series debut in Revolution 2. Just like in the Dead or Alive or Marvel vs. Capcom series, you can tag in your partner in the middle of a combo to extend your string of attacks, with some fairly devastating results. There are also special animations and attacks for different combinations, and certain teams might work in different ways depending on the personal histories of the characters involved.

Also new to the series are Paper Bombs. Certain characters can throw these pieces of explosive paper glued to daggers to knock opponents off the stage onto the level below (all stages are tiered in the Clash series), or even use them as proximity mines. You can even use the Wii Remote to point and aim at the screen to fire them off. Those who can’t use Paper Bombs get counter-measures, like the ability to defuse mines, which will hopefully balance out the disparity.

Above: Explosive paper? The prank shop in Leaf Village must be set to blow