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Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution

Score: 88%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: D3
Developer: Tomy Ltd.
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Fighting

Graphics & Sound:

Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution is Naruto's first chance to tackle the Wii and its different control scheme. So how well does it transition onto this console?

The first thing is the graphics, put simply, look pretty good. I did find all of the characters looked just like their anime counterparts, but even on the GameCube, this series didn't have a problem replicating the visual style of the series. Visual effects like the lightning racing around Sasuke whenever you activate his Sharingan, or the various particle effects found throughout the game really add just the right amount of polish to the game and make it enjoyable to watch.

Audio-wise, the game isn't really lacking either. There isn't anything super fantastic about this aspect of the game, but what it does have is solid. The music matches up perfectly with the TV series, which really helps to give you the Naruto feel and the various comments said by characters, mostly heard in fights, are also very fitting.


Gameplay:

Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution's Mission Mode (the story) consists of a series of fights that follows Naruto as he prepares for the Chunin Exam finals and goes all the way to the end of the search for Lady Tsunade (the soon-to-be Fifth Hokage). Most of the fights in this mode have some special win condition like using only Taijutsu or beating your opponent when their health bar is flashing, or finishing them off with a particular move. Overall, there are 19 missions that will take you through the show's story, but like most anime-based fighting games, most of the story is lost, so unless you are already familiar with the events, you might not know exactly what is going on.

By working your way through the game, you will eventually be able to play some 20 characters including Itachi (Sasuke's brother), Kisame, Might Guy and Tsunade. Then, of course, there are the old standbys like Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, Kakashi, Rock Lee, Gaara, Orochimaru and Jiraiya. What I liked about this game's roster is that it doesn't try to fit in every single character that has had some part in the series. I like having variety, but I prefer few, but deeper characters as opposed to many similar and generic feeling ones.

Playing through the game's story not only unlocks characters to play as, but also Mini-Games (found in the Menu option of the same name). My favorite of these games was the Shuriken Throw where you aim with the Wii-mote to fire shuriken at pop-up targets. Each miss takes points away and each knock-down adds points. This was just a good bit of fun and a nice distraction when I got frustrated because I wasn't meeting the win conditions.

As you would expect, Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution also offers both Single-Player and Multi-Player modes that let you go head to head with either CPU or human driven enemies.

Training is just a mode that lets you practice with a particular character and set your opponent A.I. to various levels of interactivity. This has been seen in many other games and there isn't really anything to mention here except for the fact that the game doesn't offer a mode that lets you familiarize yourself with the game's various control schemes in a more structured manner. What this mode does offer that I'm pretty sure I haven't seen before is a one-button reset. If you are practicing a particular move because you need to be able to execute it in Mission Mode (the main reason I came to this mode), then being able to try out the move, and immediately tap a button to reset the world made it really easy to get a lot of practice in instead of waiting for the character to fall or for you to finish the wrong Jutsu.

While the gameplay has quite a few gems in it, there is a lot about it that really doesn't feel polished. Whether it is the quick Mission Mode or the lack of help as far as learning the various controls, something just doesn't feel quite right about it.


Difficulty:

I have mixed feelings about Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution's difficulty. The fights that you are forced to do in the Story Mode aren't all that hard and typically end quickly. Progressing in the story itself is a different matter. Pretty much every fight has some special win condition, so while you might win the match, you won't complete the mission and not progress to the next battle. The most frequent of these special conditions that held me back was the "finish your enemy with a particular Jutsu" condition. These conditions are there to make the fight feel more like the events from the show (for instance, finishing Gaara off with the Chidori during the Chunin Exam), but if that isn't the move that finishes your opponent off, you have to repeat the match. Unfortunately for Clash of Ninja Revolution, this caused much frustration for me (especially Gaara and Sasuke's fight in the forest) and really hurt my opinion of the game's fun-factor.

Game Mechanics:

If there is one thing Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution gives you, its controller options. When I first picked up the game, I grabbed the Wii-mote and Nunchuck and tried it out like that. While this was the most "Wii-like" control scheme (in other words, lots of motion sensing and waggling of controls), it also felt the loosest and hardest to control. In that mode, shaking the Wii-mote does your weak attacks, the (A) button is your strong attack, tapping the Right D-pad button executes a Jutsu, you use the analog stick on the Nunchuck to move your character and the B and Z buttons are used to strafe towards or away from the camera. It took me quite a while to get used to this, but even after a few hours, it still felt like I was doing the Wii equivalent to button-mashing (you know, just waving your hands around).

The other modes include just the Wii-remote where you turn the controller sideways and use it like a more traditional controller... sort of. Most of the buttons are in just about the right spot for experienced fighting gamers and is probably one of the easiest control schemes to just pick up and play. I felt like I just didn't have quite the level of control I wanted (and definitely not as much as the Remote and Nunchuck scheme). Ultimately, I found the most comfortable scheme was with the GameCube controller (or the Classic Controller attachment for the Wii-mote). With that controller plugged in, it was just like playing the previous versions of Clash of Ninja.

There haven't been that many fighters for the Wii (the only other major one I can think of right now is Dragon Ball Z: Budokai: Tenkaichi 2), and the biggest hurdle for that genre on this system is the controls. Well, Clash of Ninja Revolution seems to have solved that problem simply by giving you a lot of options. I am fairly confident that any gamer will find a setup fitting their personal style, which makes this game a great find for Naruto fans and general fighting fans alike.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Microsoft Xbox 360 Classic Speedball II Nintendo DS Naruto: Path of the Ninja

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated