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Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2

Score: 77%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: D3
Developer: Tomy Ltd.
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: RPG/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:

Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 has quite a few improvements over the previous title, but in a market that is already flooded with similar games, there are only a few aspects of Path of the Ninja 2 that make it stand out.

Unfortunately, the game's graphics isn't really one of those things. While all of the characters do a fairly good job of representing their anime-counterparts, they still feel like they heark from a time with far less graphical capabilities. This is rather odd considering that, unlike the first Path of the Ninja title, this one isn't a port from a GBA game, it originated on the DS in Japan.

Sound also comes through about on par as well. While the music definitely has a Naruto feel to it (which is expected since the main theme from the show appears in the game), the little voicework present is okay at best, and repetitive at worst. Quite frankly, the audio aspects of this game don't really lend a lot to the overall experience, so the game can be played just as well with the volume down.


Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 actually has quite a few improvements in this department. Not only does this version have way more playable characters than the last one (this release boasts more than 30 characters), but there are a few new mechanics that actually add to the game's strategy aspect.

For one, you can now pick one of your party members as Squad Leader. Each character has certain stats that will affect the rest of the squad. One person might enhance the speed of the squad, while another increases their initial health. For the most part, each character's enhancement comes with a fairly predictable detriment. For instance, Naruto as your Squad Leader will increase your team's attack power, but at the cost of defenses.

The other system that really adds some depth to the game is Ninja Tags. These are attributes you can pick up throughout the game and apply to various characters. With this system, not only can characters learn Jutsu that aren't normally in their repertoire, but they can also gain stat boosts like resistance to Fire Jutsu. Also, you have to be careful how you allot these Tags because each character has only a certain number of slots, and the more powerful the Ninja Tag, the more slots it takes up, but at least you gain more slots as your character levels up, so it tends to balance out nicely.

So what's the story for Path of the Ninja 2? Well, it takes place after Sasuke has left the village, but before Naruto leaves to train with Jiraiya, so, like many games are doing right now, it's the perfect place to put unique storylines instead of trying to stick to the TV series. Here, a band of rogue ninja are trying to wake up an ancient evil to destroy the Hidden Leaf Village. While not exactly a shocking storyline, it is fairly fun and compelling enough to work your way through the game, plus there are various points (via flashbacks and what not), where you will get to go through some of the bigger fights from the series like the fight between Sasuke and Naruto, so that's always a plus.


Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2's difficulty hasn't changed much between versions. Like last time, keeping your characters leveled up is key to making it through a lot of the bigger fights, and the game seems to do a pretty good job of throwing the right number of enemies at you to get you about where you need to be in order for the boss fights to be tough, but beatable. Of course, you can always work to level up your characters a bit more, or figure out the best combination of squad members and Ninja Tags in order to improve your chances as well.

Unfortunately, last game's problem of not having a way to easily see what your mission is still exists. Once again, if you are in the middle of a mission and you have to stop the game for any length of time, it can be a bit of work trying to figure out where you were supposed to be going or doing when you do finally get back to playing, which of course can lead to some frustration if you don't really have a lot of time to play. Seeing as this is on a handheld, developers shouldn't really expect you to play too long in any given sitting.

Game Mechanics:

Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2's controls are a place where this game has made some major strides over the previous title. Besides the previously mentioned gameplay mechanics that really help make the game feel like more than a basic strategy-RPG, the controls are a lot tighter, and having to use the DS' various input devices to maximize the effects of your Jutsu really improves the overall experience.

Similar to Naruto: Ninja Council 3, when you initiate a Jutsu, you will have to perform one of several types of actions in order to increase the move's power. For instance, using Naruto's Rasengan requires you to rub the screen real fast (which is similar to Naruto spinning the chakra in a small ball), while another one will have you tracing a symbol on the screen as closely as possible.

While Path of the Ninja 2 still seems to blend in with other games from this genre, fans of the show should still be pleased enough in the improvements over the previous game. Quite frankly, there isn't really anything wrong with Path of the Ninja 2, there just isn't a whole lot that will make the average player (aka non-Naruto fan) want to pick up and play it, even if they are already a strategy-RPG player.

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

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