|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: 8ing/Raizing||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Tomy||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 12, 2009||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|
Naruto is a fixture in TV, books, and video games. This energetic ninja from the leaf village has invaded America in a big way and shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. Unfortunately, as far as video games are concerned, this year has been a slow one for Naruto. From the poorly produced Naruto Ultimate Ninja 4 on the PlayStation 2 to the extremely shallow Ninja Destiny 2 for the Nintendo DS, this year just hasn't produced that many memorable Naruto titles. However, in a year of mediocrity, there is one title that stands out. And surprisingly, it's Clash of Ninja Revolution 3.
While the Clash of Ninja series has not exactly been the gold standard when it comes to Naruto brawlers (Ultimate Ninja has long-held that title and the Revolution sub-series had been on a downward spiral since its first entry). Though the first Revolution title for the Wii was certainly a good effort, the second one shared too many similarities with the first battle-wise, and it felt like a repackaged version of the first. Luckily, a lot has changed since Clash of Ninja Revolution 2.
Clash of Ninja Revolution 3 picks up after Kakashi Gaiden and sees our young hero (as well as all of his friends) two years older. Naruto has spent the past two years training under Jiraiya Sakura under Hokage Tsunade, while Sasuke is still MIA. The game follows Naruto on his first adventure back in Konoha. Fans who follow the anime and manga will recognize this as the Gaara-Sasuke Retrieval arc. The game is very faithful to the series, and if you have experienced this part of the Naruto storyline, then you'll know exactly what to expect plot-wise from the game.
While it is somewhat disappointing that there isn't anything new revealed in the game's story for those who have already experienced it, I have to say that I am glad they stuck to the original material. Original stories never tend to fare too well with Naruto fans (just look at the dismally-received Uzumaki Chronicles series), and though I wasn't exactly riveted by the plot, I'm sure there are plenty of Naruto fans who will be all too happy to play through their favorite scenes.
As far as the battle system is concerned, Clash of Ninja Revolution 3 is the same old song and dance. The series has become somewhat infamous for its extreme simplicity and the third iteration is no exception. Each character only has a handful of standard attacks, combos, and one big jutsu attack. Calling the battle system shallow would almost be giving it a compliment. If you are a newcomer to the series, there will probably be a five or ten minute learning curve where you have to learn all of the moves. If you've played Clash of Ninja Revolution before, then you can just jump right in.
Although the battle system is fairly insufferable when you compare it to other fighters, its hard to knock it too hard for this shortcoming. The Clash of Ninja Series has built up a reputation of sorts for being the simpler Naruto brawler, and if you like your fighters as simple as possible, then it's hard to go wrong with the battle system here. Though some new aspects have been added to the battle system, such as latent ninja powers (which supercharge ninjas close to death) and a new "wake up" system to get beaten ninjas off the ground quicker, none of these aspects really deepen the gameplay, which is good if you really like the Clash of Ninja formula. Of course, if you were hoping to get something equal to the Ultimate Ninja experience, then Clash of Ninja Revolution 3 just won't do anything for you.
Not much has changed with the battle system and, unfortunately, not much has changed with the game's visuals either. The character models may be different (because of the time change), but the visual issues that plagued the first two entries continue to mar the third game as well. Characters all have very jagged edges, battle stages are exceedingly bland and have no detail, and animations are very awkward. One humorous graphical issue that the game has is with Jiraiya's hair. Since his mane is particularly long, it has a tendency to flow around him. However, in Clash of Ninja Revolution 3, Jiraya's hair acts like an arrow, constantly pointing straight to the ground. This is but one example of the many awkward animations and visual glitches that bring the game's value down.