Naruto: Path of the Ninja Preview
Naruto: Path of the Ninja box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Tose 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: D3 Publisher / Tomy 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 23, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
A brand new Naruto!

by Amanda L. Kondolojy

June 21, 2007 - The Naruto RPG series is one of the biggest selling franchises in Japan and has spawned three different games on the Nintendo DS. The second one, Naruto RPG 2 Rasengan vs. Chidori, is being ported over to the US as Naruto: Path of Ninja, and will hit stores sometime this fall.

Naruto: Path of the Ninja screenshot

The biggest boon for this game is that it will be something completely new. The Naruto franchise has been extremely conducive to complex fighting games like Clash of Ninja and adventure-based gameplay like in The Uzumaki Chronicles. But Naruto: Path of Ninja will delve deeply into the Naruto storyline and offer both Naruto fans and RPG fans a fantastic and character driven experience. You'll be able to pick from six playable characters to begin with, and then you'll be able to form a primary party with two other characters, and a secondary party with up to three other characters. And all your favorites will be here from Sasuke to Ino to Kiba, and of course your main man Naruto.

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The gameplay will be mainly conducted through the DS's touch screen and will involve strategically placing characters on a 4x3 grid and then executing attacks and special moves from there. Of course, your opponents will be mobile as well, so you'll have to keep up with the enemy and stay close enough to cause damage and far away enough to avoid damage. The action, in true RPG style, will be controlled by a turn based system that will enable you to move and perform actions in a singular and strategic style. So it would behoove you to think before you act. You could say it's really about brains instead of brawn this time, which may be a welcome change among Naruto fans looking for a deeper gaming experience.

Naruto: Path of the Ninja screenshot

And of course, like most RPGs the story won't be exactly linear. Sure you'll have your goal in sight, but extra missions will be available, and you'll have a whole host of extraneous characters and villagers to talk to. I only mention this because it shows that there's definitely a good amount of depth to this game, which has been somewhat lacking in several of the Naruto games (particularly the handhelds) thus far. And once you go through the game once, you'll have a good amount of unlockables available to you, including new characters, music, and different sounds from the game.

Graphically, some early screens show this one to deliver some pretty standard DS graphics. Characters are represented as sprites, and the environment is decidedly 2-D. They're nothing really earth-shattering, but hopefully the unique gameplay will assuage any complaints about the potentially sub-par graphics. And of course, one must remember that this game came out in Japan more than two years ago, when the DS was barely even coming into its own as a legitimate handheld.

Naruto: Path of the Ninja screenshot

Not too much is known about what's going into the sound content and whether any of the voice actors will be used in the game. However one thing that is known is that much of the background music will be directly ported over from the anime. And since the anime features some really kickin' tunes, this is definitely a good thing for game audiophiles.

So all in all, I think Naruto Path of Ninja is going to be a really good game. Not only does it take the Naruto franchise in a whole new direction, but it does so in a smart way, by introducing an ultra accessible, yet challenging, form of game that is sure to delight fans, and at least catch the interest of others who aren't really interested in the series.

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer

Features:

  • NARUTO: Path of the Ninja will be the first Role-Playing Game (RPG) for NARUTO in North America and will offer original content and scenarios that have never been seen before!
  • Based on episodes from VIZ Media's hit anime series SHONEN JUMP NARUTO the new game will feature a unique time based combat system in which players must determine each characters strengths and use them accurately to help them defeat the enemy.
  • Choosing from six available characters, players will be able to explore the Village Hidden in the Leaves and the world of Naruto as you roam across forests, fields, rivers and mountains.
  • Along the way players will encounter bosses and enemies that they must use their special techniques to defeat.

  • Screenshots / Images
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