Naruto on the go... goes nowhere.
Another day, another mediocre Naruto game. Naruto Shippuden: Ninja Destiny 2 is the latest in an ever expanding series of games featuring ninjas that dress like road cones and scream out exactly what they’re going to do before they actually do it. I’m throwing around the name “announcement fighter” for this genre.
[image1]At time of writing this there are 41 (FORTY-F****ING-ONE!!!) Naruto games and roughly 35 of them are sequels with little more than extra characters added to make them “new”. So it’s tempting to just say that NSND2 is just the same as the others and call it a day, but there is a sense of obligation (a contractual one) to delve a bit deeper.
Now that I think about it, that really is about all there is to say about it. That and it’s not very good. It’s a series of fights from the show in the order they happen, so if you’re a fan and you really need the story paraphrased by way of the Nintendo DS then by all means, knock yourself out. If Naruto is more of a passing fancy, you may want to reconsider.
NSND2 suffers from trying to please everyone and failing. The die-hard fans won’t be pleased with its less than stellar recap of the plot, and the more casual fans will be disappointed by having the story ruined for them before the North American broadcast can catch up with how far the game’s story goes. That’s not counting how fighting game fans will be unimpressed by its unresponsive controls and lack of structure.
The controls are pretty simple - D-pad for movement, face buttons to hit - but the special moves only work some of the time, and you’ll often find yourself flailing away at nothing. Your opponent will likely be doing the same even if you’re fighting the computer, so it kind of works out in a kind of messed up way.
[image2]There are two main modes - story and quest mode - and they’re both about the same. Missions in quest mode are a repetitive series of fetch quests and pre-scripted fights. You run around one of the maps, most of which are bland and overly similar, getting into random encounters, and mashing buttons until it’s over. There's just isn't a whole lot of substance, and since the graphics, movesets, and music are all copy and pasted from the last game, I suppose that's par for the course.
Story mode is basically the same as quest mode, but without all the bullshit, mediocre dungeon-crawling. Instead, you watch two brightly colored jackasses talk at each other about how they’re going to beat each other up - fight, rinse, repeat.
There are, of course, multiplayer and wireless mode, letting you go head-to-head with either your buddies locally or internet randoms. The online mode is okay, but could have been better, and it almost seems like TOMY knew this wasn’t going to be great and didn’t spend a lot of time on anything.
Whenever another one of these games comes out, there’s also some retarded need to voice a good deal of the game. When these games end up on a console, it isn’t that bad, but the speakers on the DS are less than great and all characters sound like they are recorded over the telephone.
[image3]The touchscreen is used mostly for items either in fights or while you’re running around in quest mode. It’s underutilized, but a lot of DS games are guilty of this as well, so it seems a bit insignificant to bag on it for that when there are any number of legitimate flaws to bitch about. On the upside, there’s a boat load of unlockable material like bonus levels, a sound room, over 30 playable characters, and a ton of fan service.
NSND2 is a watered down version of its console counterparts and not a very good one at that. I’d only recommend it if you only had a DS and really love Naruto; otherwise, don’t bother with this one. The unlockables are neat, but they aren’t neat enough to really redeem it. At all.