Another Clash with Naruto!
Although games based on the Naruto mythos have abounded this year, few were as highly anticipated as Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution. This title has been in the works for quite some time, and has undergone a complete overhaul as a result of an extensive localization process.
The original Japanese version of the game (Clash of Ninja EX) featured characters from Naruto Shippuden, which is a saga that is yet unknown to American audiences. So the developers had their work cut out for them when they decided to re-formulate this one for the US market. They had to go in and change every single character, as well as some of the stages. And just for the heck of it, they changed some of the gameplay mechanics which had earned Clash of Ninja EX some flack abroad. So now that you know how much work went into bringing this game into your hot little hands, I’ll bet you want to know how it is. Well, it’s a little more than a mixed bag, but this one definitely sticks to the Clash of Ninja formula, and the repetition is starting to show.
One thing the Clash of Ninja franchise has been famous for is an extremely satisfying arcade-style fighting experience. And I’m happy to say that this game does not disappoint in this respect in any way. As long as you expect the formula. There are several arcade-style modes to choose from including the standard Vs. CPU mode, the character mode, survival mode, and multiplayer mode. The Vs. CPU mode has you picking a favorite character and testing your skills against the almighty A.I. Survival mode, as you may expect, has you trying to beat up as many foes as possible before getting a single KO. Multiplyer mode lets you face up to four of your human (and CPU) friends in a battle royale. The character mode has you picking a character and going through about a dozen battles. Even though all these modes sound great, I really feel that they’re all too similar. Even the character mode, which you might expect to have some sort of story or connective device, is nothing more than survival mode with continues. This will no doubt please arcade traditionalists, but I feel that a game series that has five entries owes itself some growth in the gameplay department.
One area where this game really does grow, however, is the control department, which features some really cool options. Much like the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Brawl, there will be several control schemes that you can use for this game. For traditionalists, you can use an old GameCube controller, the Classic Controller, or the Wii-mote alone. But if you’ve fully embraced your Wii’s motion sensing glory, you can also use the Wii-mote and Nunchuk combo. I tried out all of these options (with the exception of the GameCube option), and surprisingly they all work well. Each one takes some getting used to, but they’re all fairly easy to pick up and play with. The classic controller affords those who live by the button-mash their glory with face buttons for basic, strong, and chakra attacks. The Wii-mote style has you flipping your controller NES-style for some more button mash fun. But the best control scheme had to be the Wii-mote and Nunchuk combo. The combo works by having you move around using the Nunchuk’s thumbstick to roam around, flicking the Wii-mote for a standard attack, hitting the A button for a strong attack, and using the D-pad to initiate a chakra attack. And although these controls sound a little complex at first, once you get into the swing of things you’ll find them quite natural. One thing about the motion-sensing controls that especially impressed me was the integration of motion sensing and button mashing. Games like Bleach: Shattered Blade, which relied solely on motion sensing attacks, suffered greatly from a lack of button-based gameplay. The motion-only controls lead to an unchallenging battle system that gave you one heck of a Wii elbow the next day. So kudos to Naruto:Clash of Ninja Revolution for incorporating the motion-sensing controls without relying solely on them.
Another arena where Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution shines is the audio department. The game’s score is a mix of tunes from the anime with a few original compositions, and really captures the youthful, energetic feel of the Naruto series. The voice acting is also very well done, and I was very pleased with the amount of effort put into the voice work of this game. All too often voice actors get boring or lines from the original show get recycled resulting in a boring and dreary-sounding game. But the dialogue here is refreshingly brought to life, and I can’t commend the voice actors enough for the great job they did in this game.
However, not all the facets of the game received such large upgrades. One area that remains largely the same is the look of the game. The Wii is definitely not known for its cutting edge graphics, but a little upgrade would have been nice. Of course that’s not to say that this game looks bad per se; it looks pretty good with nicely rendered cel-shaded characters and vivid environments. But if you look at some of the former Clash of Ninja games (which looked excellent on the GameCube), you’ll notice that most of the visuals remain largely the same.
Overall, I enjoyed playing Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution. Sure, it’s not a big deviation from the Clash of Ninja franchise formula, but I can appreciate it for what it’s worth: a good time. And this good time is only enhanced by the superb control options and excellent arcade-style gameplay. I still wish for a little more substance, but something tells me there’s another Clash of Ninja just around the bend, waiting to (hopefully) surprise us with something new.
racing action is captured in cinematic style and players are rewarded for showing off their skills a
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.1 Graphics
The game’s overall look largely resembles its GameCube predecessors, but the stylized cel-shaded technique still looks great. 4.7 Control
With a multitude of control schemes to choose from, there’s one you’ll like. All work very well, although the Wii-mote and Nunchuk style gives you the most complete experience 4.6 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Very good voice over and great music give this game audio distinction. 3.9
Very extensive arcade-style modes and minigames make playing this game casually a blast. But the lack of any real story mode makes it seem repetitive during extended gameplay.
4.2 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.