|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: 8ing / Razing||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: D3||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: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Even though it's been a little over a year, it feels like it has been forever since we have been treated to a good Clash of Ninja game. Well-known for its engaging and complex gameplay, the Clash of Ninja series put you right in the middle of the action and featured enough distinctive gameplay to keep even the most critical players engaged. And now all the action is back in Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution for the Nintendo Wii!
It is important to note that this game was originally released earlier this year in Japan as Clash of Ninja EX and featured characters from the Naruto Shippuden. While fans who keep up with the Japanese series may have been totally ready for a localized version of Shippuden, there is just too much space between where the American version is now and the Shippuden series. So, needless to say, all the characters and plotlines have been totally redone for this game. And to a certain extent, the gameplay has also been altered. But that might not be such a bad thing. Naruto EX has been subject to sharp criticism across the Pacific for its weak multiplayer modes and simplistic gameplay. But since the title is being massively reworked for American audiences anyway, there were some areas that definitely benefited from a second look by American developers.
So, what all can we expect from Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution? Well, we have learned that there will be 16 playable characters, and the events in the story will take place from the Chuunin exam up until the Tsunade arc. All your old favorites will be there, like Sakura and Gaara, but the series promises some all-new characters that have not yet appeared in a Clash of Ninja game. It is unknown at this point whether the story will be completely new or another itineration of the events in the anime. In addition to the story mode, there will also be some very generous multiplayer modes that allow for up to four players to duke it out in a battle royale. Those who've played the previous Clash of Ninja games know all about the four-player melees that the series has come to be famous for. And for the most part this mode is intact with some significant upgrades. These upgrades include making the battle animations more fluid, upgrading stage levels, and creating a more action-oriented camera system.
But one of the coolest things we've learned about Naruto Clash of Ninja Revolution is its customizable control system. 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 or the Classic Controller. But if you've fully embraced your Wii's motion sensing glory, you can also use your Wii-mote and Nunchuk. And if you do decide to go with the latter option, then you'll be privy to some pretty cool motion sensing moves. To perform a basic attack, you'll be shaking the Wii-mote in the direction of your enemies. For a stronger attack, you use the A button. And then there are the Chakra attacks. Those who are familiar with the series know all about the special attacks that are the staple of Naruto gameplay. To perform a chakra attack in Naruto Clash of Ninja Revolution, you activate your Chakra with the D-pad on the Wii-mote and then do a number of hand gestures with the Wii mote in accordance with some instructive icons on the bottom of the screen. It's very similar to the system used in Super Paper Mario when using an item. So for all those who struggled with the button mash chakra attacks before, this is great news!
Even though this game is loosely based on the Japanese title Naruto EX, there's so much new to this game that I feel that any comparison is unfair. The story, characters, and stages are all different, so even if you imported the original title, Naruto Clash of Ninja Revolution may still be worth your time. And for those who have missed the series in the short time it has been gone from North America, I don't think you'll be disappointed with this entry in the series. I know I am pretty impressed, and can't wait until October to get my hands on Naruto's first outing on the Wii!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer