Creating a game based off a license takes risks. If you stray too far from the base, you upset the fans of the license. However, if you stick too closely to the characters you risk not expanding the base. When you have a license like Naruto, the most obvious direction to take it is the fighting genre, since that seems to be the easiest direction to take the characters in. While D3 has done that with the Clash of Ninja Revolution games, they have taken a risk and tried to do something different with Path of the Ninja 2 by creating an RPG using the characters from Naruto. An RPG is a great way to tell a story previously told in the anime, but they have taken the risk to create a completely new story for the Nintendo DS. The result is the recent Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2.
In Path of the Ninja 2 (PotN2), you play as Naruto and a group of his friends. A new evil has fallen upon the land, and Naruto and his allies at the Hidden Leaf Ninja Academy must save the world from this evil. Sounds almost like any typical RPG storyline, doesn’t it?
The best way to describe the graphics in PotN2 is serviceable. While in the battle sequence, the top screen shows a portrait of the character. You also see a portrait of the character during dialog sequences on the bottom screen. These look like perfect recreations of the characters from the anime. While you do get a few facial changes during dialogue, you don’t see many changes in the character portraits.
You might expect the characters on the world map to be made up of the
The music in the game is definitely representative of the Naruto series. There is definitely an oriental flare to it, with a bit of hard driving rock sensibility behind it. Wood sticks add some flavor to the beat provided by the percussion. A flute plays a quick high-pitched medley. The style of the music drives the game forward and adds to the intensity, especially in battle.
The voice acting was done by the voice actors in the TV series. This is something that is always appreciated for a high-profile license like this. However, there isn’t much voice acting for each character. You hear the same phrase over and over again, especially during the combat. It is understandable because of the high number of characters you can play as. However, again it would have been nice to have a little more variety. These are compromises that must be made for the Nintendo DS cartridge though.
Controlling your character is easy enough. While you can use the touch pad, it’s much easier to use the D-pad. You move your character around the screen and move into buildings. You select options with the A button and cancel with the B button. If you get stuck with what your objective is you can hit the Y button. When you move onto a save area you hit the Select button, which seems to be a bit odd.
In battle you can use the A and B buttons, but you can use the stylus too. Because you can move around the battlefield you might think that this might be great for using the stylus, I found it to be just as quick to use the D-pad and buttons because you often had to hit the same area with the stylus twice to confirm your action.
A unique aspect is the fact that certain Jutsu moves require you to build up Chakra. Some moves require you to just rub the touch screen, while other moves require moving the stylus clockwise or counterclockwise. While these are pretty easy to accomplish, it at least is a bit more interactive than just constantly hitting A.
PotN2 is unique as it actually features a storyline that isn’t from the actual anime. It’s nice to see that they are trying to inject a new story that isn’t a rehash. Unfortunately, the story is fairly typical. The Spirit Beast has escaped from the Valley of Great Evil where it had been locked up for years. Now that it has been released, you have to find it and capture it. Sounds like the typical
The game takes about eight to ten hours to play. While it’s not long for an RPG, it is a good size for a DS game. There is some replayablity in the fact that you can play through the game again with different characters in your party, but the story won’t change in any way during a second playthrough.
You can take your squad up against another squad online using the DS Wi-Fi capabilities. With over 30 playable characters, you are bound to find a group that you didn’t expect to find.