|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|
Aside from this, the game has a few interesting little quirks that attempt to add some depth to the suffering battle system in Path of the Ninja. Chemistry between characters, which can be upped by completing side quests and participating in random events (such as eating a meal together) can help your team out in a pinch by allowing two characters to attack simultaneously. Such little additions are few and far between, and besides, they don't add much at all to the game.
The game stumbles with its gameplay mechanic, but it falls flat on its face when it comes to graphics and sound. The game was made in Japan for the GameBoy Advance, and it certainly shows. The graphics lack detail and are generally quite mediocre. Environments are weak, and character renders are poorly animated. The one thing the game does to slightly alleviate this problem is to insert some beautifully done cutscenes in the game. They are, in fact, quite well done, and look very nice.
The music is just as bad as the graphics for two big reasons. First is the fact that there's very little variety. There are quite literally only a few tunes throughout the entire course of the game. Second is the fact that the few tunes aren't even good. They're monotonous and boring, and don't add anything at all that somehow improves the game. It's a pity, really, but you'll likely play through most of the game with the volume off.
Surprisingly, the best aspect of Naruto: Path of the Ninja probably is its story. It may be surprising that the plot is the best part of a predetermined children's series, but it's the storytelling that really makes Path of the Ninja fun to get into. The cutscenes are inserted at key moments around important battles or plot events, and greatly enhance the overall quality of the storytelling. And it may be shocking, but the writing in Path of the Ninja is actually very well done. There are some clever parts, so downright funny parts, and the entire thing is very realistic -- nothing at all too cartoony. Even though fans of the series may already know what's going to happen (the game sticks pretty strictly to the plot the TV shows), they'll still enjoy the writing present in this game.
Overall, while there are a few decent aspects to it, Naruto: Path of the Ninja is just not a very fun game. Sure, the battle system has a few neat aspects to it. And yes, the storytelling is surprisingly good. But all in all, there are just too may important things lacking here. The gameplay mechanic is simple, and as a result quickly becomes monotonous and boring. The graphics and music are absolutely horrendous, and are inexcusable after some of the fantastic visuals that we've seen the DS is capable of. Hardcore Naruto fans may want to pick this title up; the rest of us, however, can find far better RPGs with which to spend our time.
CCC Freelance Writer