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Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 Review

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Developer: Tomy Publisher: D3 Publisher
Release Date: October 14, 2008 Also On: None

I like turn-based RPGs, although some days I do not quite know why I do. Now, I’m not talking about newer ones like the newer Final Fantasy games where every maneuver is greeted with a two minute attack animation. I mean older style RPGs that are more about strategy than flashiness. Still, some newer ones are not too bad either, so I was intrigued when I received Naruto: Path of Ninja 2 to review. I should make a disclaimer, however, that my only prior exposure to the Naruto license is reviewing Naruto: Ninja Council 2 for the GBA a couple years ago. As such, I’m not sure if the plot follows a story arc seen in the cartoon or if it is original.

Graphically, I have at least seen screenshots of the Naturo cartoon enough to know that the graphical style and the appearance of the characters in this game is consistent with the cartoon on which the game is based. That, to me, is more important in a licensed game than would be an effort to maximize the graphical capabilities of the system if doing so would detract from the consistency. Therefore, I have no major gripes about the graphics. Everything on that front seems to work very well.

Naturally,since this is a DS game, the cutscenes are handled with textboxes, but there are some one-liners in this game, particularly when characters are beginning their turn or executing their chosen maneuver. These sound fairly authentic to the cartoon so far as I know. The music and sound effects, likewise, are nice, although they aren’t anything that I would rush out and buy a soundtrack CD of the game for by any means. Still, the sound is quite good for a licensed game, and that shows that some real effort was put into the game by its developers.

In terms of gameplay, Path of Ninja 2 is primarily a traditional turn-based RPG. There are, however, elements to the game that are somewhat unique. For example, I have seen RPGs where you can reset a character’s position between battles between a front column, a middle column, and a back column, the choice made affecting a character’s battle capabilities. However, I had not seen one where the characteres could not only change columns in the middle of the battle whenever it was their turn, but could also change rows.

Yes, that is right, a character can move to any open spot on the player side of the battle arena when it is his or her turn, and both the row and the column that the character is in affects how their move plays out. It should be noted, in addition, that the enemies that are fought can also change positions whenever it is their turn. In the end, then, the effectiveness of a character’s move is determined by both their location and the location of the enemy they are trying to do something to. This adds a lot of strategy in multiplayer battles where you face each other, but in the main story, moving characters a lot is little more than a waste of time and an unnecessary thing, with the possible exception of some boss battles.

One other somewhat unique thing is the ninja card system. In this system, each charactere gets points with each level up with which they can equip ninja cards to themselves. Some of them grant elemental resistances while others may allow them to have summon creatures that they can call or use other spells. There are also ninja cards that affect a character’s base stats or do other things to them. Some can be used by anybody, but others are only equippable by a certain character.

Speaking of characters, by the time you get to the end of this game, there are going to seemingly be a ton of them in your party. Only the four which are involved in a battle gain experience, however, so you are safe for the story mode just picking the four you want fairly early on and going with them rather than bothering to level everybody up. In many cases, even though the added characters do come into the group at decent levels, they will often be levelled below where your primary four will be if you go through the entire game with the same group.

For this reason, only those serious about playing online and wanting different character group options for different strategies would have a reason to level up more of the characters. However, each character does have his own unique set of weapons and spells, and most of them have some unique ninja cards as well, so I am not saying that the extra characters are completely pointless.

In terms of difficulty, this game is both short and easy, clocking in at a little over ten hours if you only are worried about going straight through it. If you utilize the online play and sidequests, however, the game can last a lot longer than that. For example, there are some sections of the game where you will go through a brief section that is akin to a 2D platformer. You cannot lose in these sections, but there are scrolls and frog icons to be collected in each of them. The frog icon is a matter of once you get it you do not need to get it again, but the scrolls are there every time you go into that section. The first time you collect all twenty scrolls and the frog icon you will get a special prize, and you will get normal items depending on how many scrolls you pick up every other time you go through. So some players might take the time to win at all of these, while others won’t. This is probably the most obvious sidequest in the game, although there are others.

If you enjoy the online battling, this game has the potential to last a while, but otherwise it is not that long of a game and the plot is somewhat formulaic with only the most obvious of plot twists in it. Still, if you are a fan of RPGs and are looking for a good one on the DS to kill a little time with, you would be wise not to completely overlook this one.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.4
Written by Martin Write a User Review