|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Takara TOMY||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: TOMY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 15, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
The Naruto franchise certainly has plenty of sub-series. From the monster Clash of Ninja and Ultimate Ninja to the portable Ninja Council series, Naruto fever has definitely taken over the video game world. Last year, another Naruto sub-series entered into the already crowded fray: Naruto: Ninja Destiny.
This title was a rather simple brawler that had a basic story mode that took players through the beginnings of the Naruto franchise. A year later, Ninja Destiny has returned and is tackling the newest chapter in the Naruto saga: Shippuden.
The game starts off with Naruto returning to Konoha after his training sabbatical with Jiraiya. The game wisely skips the Kakashi Gaiden prequel and heads straight into the action with the Gaara retrieval arc. However, I have to say that the way this game handles the story is a little weird. It presents story evens with very brief text-based plot scenes that give players an idea of what is going on before a battle. However, the game skips over some important story elements and never goes into any detail about the reasons behind the events, often skipping vital plot points in order to move on to a direct battle scene.
For this reason, it would seem that Ninja Destiny 2 would be accessible to longtime fans of the series, as newcomers wont be able to follow the scattered events of the story. However, Im not sure if hardcore fans will be that enthralled with the story, as Ninja Destiny only encompasses the beginning of the Shippuden saga, which has been covered in other games. Still, if you dont mind the repetition, the story is competent enough, and youll be able to relive scenarios with some of the series most nefarious enemies, including series favorites like Deidara and Sasori.
Although battling these well-known foes certainly sounds fun, Ninja Destiny 2, much like its predecessor, has a weak battle system. The game has three types of attacks, light, medium, and chakra. These attacks can be chained together, but there are no explosive combos or advanced moves. And while the chakra attack does need to be powered up, the game doesnt feature tiered chakra attacks like those found in the Ultimate Ninja series. Each character has one chakra attack they can perform, and these attacks arent even interactive. You just hit the X button, wait for the animation to play, and then resume fighting. The chakra attack system is way too simple, and it actually disengages the player from the battle.
Aside from the too-simple chakra attack system, the game also suffers from homogenous character attributes. Aside from each characters unique chakra attack, there dont seem to be notable differences between them in regards to speed, power, or agility. All of the characters control nearly identically, and it was disheartening that a normally speedy character like Rock Lee would move in the same way as a character like Gaara, who is typically slower. I should point out that the battle system in Ninja Destiny 2 isnt the most horrible Ive ever encountered, but the fact is it just doesnt measure up to other fighters, particularly those within the Naruto franchise. While it is competent, especially as the only Naruto brawler on the Nintendo DS, I am not sure if hardcore fans that have played other Naruto fighters will enjoy the severely toned-down battle system.
In addition to the main story mode, Ninja Destiny 2 also includes a single-player mode where you can play as your favorite character and go up against CPU-controlled opponents. The games roster includes 34 playable characters, many of which have to be unlocked, including Kabuto, Deidara, and True Sasori. In addition to Shippuden characters, Ninja Destiny 2 also includes characters in their past forms from the original Ninja Destiny game. While the single-player mode can be interesting for awhile, the monotonous battle system just torpedoes the replay value of this mode.