Naruto Shippuden Ninja Destiny 2 – Review

Naruto Shippuden: Ninja Destiny 2 was expected to salvage whatever Namco Bandai did wrong with their games in the PSP. While this is from a different publisher and developer, it is from the same game franchise derived from the worldwide success that is the Naruto manga/anime franchise. However, it does have its rival, Bleach, to beat in terms of fighting games for the DS. Bleach: The Blade of Fate and its sequel, Bleach: Dark Souls, were both great fighting games that combined balance, variety, and a solid 2D combat system. This Naruto game has a lot of ground to cover in order to beat the Bleach games to the punch.

It makes use of the touch pad in more sophisticated ways than the Bleach games, which shows potential. The Bleach games only had stuff like power-ups and the special attacks as buttons in the touch screen, making its combat system a tad bit too easy. Naruto also has an easy combat system that is easy to learn and understand, but its power-ups and specials do take more skill to master. That sounds good so far for this game and its initial impressions. But hang on because it doesn’t stay completely consistent.

Of course, the things being looked for in such a game are the characters and the adherence of the visuals to the reference material. Naruto Shippuden: Ninja Destiny 2 fulfills these things quite well for a handheld game as it does have the characters from the show with their distinct fighting styles and personalities. The visuals are definitely accurate, recreating the look and feel of the show so effectively that it is enough reason for fans to buy this game. Perhaps that’s what the publishers planned all along.

However, that is where the pitfalls start for this fighting game. The combat system is so easy that it is shallow, making it boring in a short period of time. You will wish that there is more added into it like the stuff you’d see in the manga and anime, but they’re not there. Also, the touchscreen system was made so sophisticated that it is difficult. While focusing on trying to get the sequences right, you are being bashed to the ground by your opponent. The singleplayer does not help matters either, being nonsensical and so boring that you won’t have the motivation to finish it, even if it does unlock stuff. Perhaps that’s the only thing it has in common with the Bleach games, but in a bad way.

Perhaps the only good representation of the Naruto franchise in the DS so far is in Jump Ultimate Stars. The developers tried to do a lot in this effort, but it looks unpolished and unfinished. Quite a disappointment to fans who expected this to be like the console Naruto fighting games, which have garnered quite a bit of success with its cool fighting system and  awesome combat sequences. Takara Tomy was too ambitious for this game that they messed it up, leaving it rushed and shallow.

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