Review by Xevnest24
"Not the revolution I was expecting, but still a fun, solid fighter that many will enjoy."
When I picked up Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2 for the GameCube, I loved it. The graphics were bright and smooth, and the fighting, while a bit shallow, was still fun. I passed on Ninja Revolution for the Wii, but when I saw screens and gameplay of Ninja Revolution 2, I got pretty excited. I picked it it up on it's release date. How is it two years later?
Graphics: 6.5/10. This is the aspect of the game that I'm most conflicted and confused about. Clash of Ninja 2 on the GCN looked sharp, colorful and bright, and the framerate never dipped below 60, even with four players on the screen. It looked even better with progressive scan. Now, Revolution 2 actually looks worse than Clash of Ninja 2 I think. It looks like the characters have a few more polygons this time around (it's hard to tell with cel-shading), but the game runs at a seemingly low resolution, causing the outlines and textures on the character models and the backgrounds to look somewhat choppy and blurry. They look really good up close, like during their super attacks, but from the normal gameplay view, they look just OK, even with progressive scan turned on. The colors look a teensy bit washed out, too. Now, in the story mode, this game actually tries (key word: TRIES) to pull of some real-time cut-scenes. This is a cool idea; I'd much rather see the actual character models moving and interacting in a real 3D scene than the bouncing paper-cut out slide show-like scenes we've gotten until now. It's a cool idea, however it's executed quite poorly here. The characters and backgrounds look much choppier and shaggy in these scenes than during gameplay, even though they run in real time. Now, this could be forgiven if the characters actually would MOVE during these scenes. All they do is stand in one space, flapping their mouths the entire time, with an extremely occasional short action performed every now and then. I mean come on, if you're gonna have real time cut-scenes, you have to make the characters move, or we just might as well go back to the slide show style scenes. During the actual fighting however, they look pretty good, with smooth animations and nice bright effects to highlight their moves. On the other hand, all of the returning characters still use tons of recycled animations and moves, going as far back as the first Clash of Ninja.
Sound: Music: 8/10. SFX: 6/10. I gave sound 2 different ratings because the music is awesome, but the sound effects are not. I'll start with music. The high energy Japanese tunes are as awesome sounding as ever while doing a good job of portraying the feel of the stage they play in. The only problem I have here is that the returning stages all use the same tracks that have been recycled from as far back as Clash of Ninja 1. The sound effects on the other hand, I have a few issues with. The sounds themselves are pretty good, but there are almost no original sound effects, even when it comes to the character's voices. The characters that haven't been in past games have original voice work, sure, but the returning characters all do the same yells, taunts and grunts we heard in Clash of Ninja 1. That's my main beef with this game, it recycles too much content. On a side note, there's a weird bug that rarely occurs: Sometimes during a fight, the sound effects will randomly go silent, but the voices and the music will keep going. I noticed it most often happens in the first part of the "Leaf Village-Night" stage. Now, this may very well be a result of me spilling a milkshake on the disc, but I cleaned it and everything else works perfectly.
Gameplay: 8/10. This is by far the best part of Ninja Revolution 2. There's 4 ways to play: A Wii-Mote, a Wii-Mote and Nunchuck, the Classic Controller, and the Gamecube Controller. I've only used the Gamecube controller, so I can't comment on the other controller types. The fighting is just like any other Clash of Ninja Title. You've got your typical physical attacks, and special moves. For your special attacks, you'll need chakra, which you gain by attacking and guarding against your opponent. When the gauge is full, you can pull off one of 2 super moves, though the conditions in which you can perform them varies from character to character. If your chakra gauge is at least 3 quarters full, you can pull a "substitution jutsu", where you tap either the L or R buttons (again, on the Gamecube controller) when you are hit to teleport behind your opponent. This adds a nice element of strategy; first off, tapping the R button will make you teleport behind your opponent and attack at them. However, if this attack misses, it leaves you vulnerable. Tapping the L button when you're hit teleports you behind your opponent without attacking, giving you a chance to start a combo. This is a nice feature that gives players a better chance of surviving to fight longer, though it happens a bit too often. It's rare that you or your opponent will ever be able to pull off a full combo on each other unless you're purposefully not using the substitution to conserve chakra. So the strategy here is: do you want to use your chakra to avoid swallowing a big combo, or do you take the combo and conserve your chakra in hopes of finishing your opponent with an ultimate move? It adds a nice amount of depth without feeling gimmicky. A new addition to the fighting is the Paper Bomb attack, where you use some chakra to toss a paper bomb at your opponent, or set them in the ground or attach them to objects. They explode if touched by the other player. Another new addition are the hand sign techniques, which can power you up in various ways. Since this feature is only available for the Nunchuck and Wii-Mote Control scheme, I can't comment on how it works. Objects and stage transitions, 2 elements introduced in Ninja Revolution, can now be turned on or off, which is a very nice option. Now, the characters themselves feel different and unique while still being very nicely balanced, so you never really feel like you got your behind kicked by a cheap character. (Though I will say, it seems to me that One-Tailed Naruto, A.K.A Ultimate Nine Tailed Naruto and Second State Sasuke are particularly good at finishing things up.) A new addition to the Clash of Ninja series in this game is a 2 man squad battle option, in which you and your opponent pick 2 characters each, and tag them in and out during battle.This is probably my favorite game mode. In this mode, you can activate a team based ultimate attack, by hitting forward and X (on the Gamecube controller) when both your character's chakra gauges are full. Some characters, such as Naruto and Jiraya, Sakura and Tsunadae, Gaara and Rock Lee, Shino and Kiba, Neji and Hinata, Sakura and Ino, Kakashi and Sasuke (among a few other combinations) have special team attacks in which they use their abilities together in a really nifty and cool scene. If you pick 2 characters that don't have much of a relation (i.e Choji and Itachi) there's a generic team attack that any 2 characters can do together. When played alone, the game can be fun, but the enemy AI is predictable, even on the toughest setting. As with any fighter, this is best played with others. Along with the traditional 2 player mode, there's a 3 to 4 player mode which has been in the Clash of Ninja series since number 2, in which all the players share a battle field and duke it out in either a free-for-all or a team battle. This is nice if you have a bunch of friends itching to play, though it has a few problems. Even though there's four players, you can only lock on to 1 other player at any given time, and you fight on a 2-D plane just like in the 2 player modes. Also, since you can't freely move around in 3 dimensions and the control scheme is still geared for a 2-D plane, things get a little wonky when the camera is directly behind or in front of you. It's a nice idea, but this game was designed to be a typical 2-D fighter, so it doesn't work so great. Personally, I think allowing four players to be able to cooperatively play in the two man squad mode would've been a great idea. There's also a mission mode, in which you pick a character and engage in fights with special conditions. This is where you unlock characters. Also there's no online mode, which is kinda lame.
Control: 8/10. Like I said, I only use the Gamecube controller, so I'm not gonna comment on the other control schemes. This game controls just like every other Clash of Ninja title out there. They're responsive enough, and work fine.
Story: 7/10. This game features a totally original story in the Naruto universe, which is really nice. Basically, The Leaf Village is under attack by some sort of mind control that makes friends turn on each other. It's up to Naruto and his buds to find out what's goin' down. The formula of this mode is you see a cut-scene, then you fight. However, many fights go beyond just defeating your opponent. Some require you to defeat a slew of Ninja, others may have you against two other fighters, and some are very specific, like in one fight where you, as Rock Lee, must use your Ultimate attack to defeat Guy-Sensei. Some of the fights are very frustrating, but all together, it's a nice addition to the game, though it doesn't serve much purpose, since you unlock characters via the Mission mode.
Replay Value: 8/10. 2 years after I got it, I'm still playing this game regularly even though I play it mostly alone. There's something addictive about the solid, balanced feel of the fighting that keeps me engaged.
IN CONCLUSION: A well made, solid fighter that is easy to learn, and can appeal to pretty much any fighting game fan, even if they hate the Naruto anime. I'd recommend it to any fighting game enthusiast.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/27/10
Game Release: Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 (US, 10/21/08)
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