NARUTO: Path of the Ninja 2 - NDS - Preview
E3 2008 Preview
This September, Naruto fans will get another crack at a role-playing game based on their favorite anime series. Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2, the sequel to the Game Boy Advance/Nintendo DS hit, was created solely for Nintendo's dual-screened machine. The graphics are improved (think SNES quality but slightly better), the controls are similar to The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, and the battles were inspired by the likes of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy.
And those aren't the only games from which inspiration was drawn. Path of the Ninja 2 also looked to Pokemon, a game that allows you to carry six monsters at one time but only use one or two simultaneously. This game has a similar setup: you can have four characters in your party but only use three of them. That's where the Ninja Tag feature comes in. When you want to use the fourth character, you must replace it with one of the three already in use, a la Pokemon.
D3 is really touting the Wi-Fi multiplayer, which allows you to challenge other players online and compete for points and ninja cards, as one of the game's standout features. But without being able to test that option at E3, the single-player campaign took center stage. You control your character by touching the screen (yes, just like Zelda) and enter battles at random. As a turn-based RPG, you'll gain access to the same kind of attack and defense options as in Final Fantasy. However, most players won't expect to get their hands on a summon spell, but that's just what Path of the Ninja 2 provides. Once summoned, players have full control over these monsters (snakes, toads, slugs, dogs, weasels, etc.). You can choose which attacks to unleash and who to attack. This differs from the average RPG's summon spell, which typically unleashes one deadly blow that wipes out one or more enemies automatically. They're cool too, but I'm enjoying the increased control of Naruto.
Only the forest area could be found in the E3 demo, but D3 says that we'll also get to explore some caves, snowy mountains, and hazy crevices. Up to 30 characters will be playable in the game, covering most of the fan favorites while delivering a variety you don't normally get from an anime RPG.