Sometimes, when you’re the sequel to one of the greatest fighting games of all time, you need no introduction and you’re allowed to have repeat praise heaped on your shoulders.
We previously reviewed the PlayStation 2 version of Soulcalibur II in 4Q2010, yet here we are again talking about it in glowing terms for the GameCube version. There isn’t much new to say other than this port is just as beautiful as the PS2 version.
With the addition of Link to the cast for this version, the game is even better. Link fits right in with the proceedings and manages to unbalance the game heavily in his favor. He’s the perfect addition, to be honest.
With a killer soundtrack, beautiful graphics that hold up after 20 years, a deep storyline and superior gameplay to almost everything available on the market at the time, Soulcalibur II is a worthy successor in every way to one of the greatest fighting games ever made.
When it comes to the Naruto video game franchise, complicated concepts have never been part of the equation. There’s nothing remotely hard about any of the games under the banner and almost all are known for their pick up and play ability. So, it stands to reason that the Naruto: Clash of Ninja series is easy to start and get into it, and that reasoning is correct. Clash of Ninja 2 continues the accessibility that the series is known for.
Naruto is a great long-running starter series if you’re just getting into anime. The basic premise of the anime is the basis of Clash of Ninja as well: A strong-willed boy from a world of ninjas strives to be the best he can be and one day become the leader of his village. Because of a devastating attack on his village the night he was born, Naruto is orphaned and ostracized by his fellow villagers while hosting a creature known as the Nine-tailed Fox. He graduates from his village’s academy and is placed on a team featuring his crush Sakura and his rival Sasuke while learning teamwork and the ways of ninjutsu. Clash of Ninja 2 follows the first half of the series, with Naruto working with his teammates through the Chunin (first level) exams that the ninja academy graduates face.
Clash of Ninja 2 does an admirable telling the beginning part of the story of Naruto, story-wise. Because the beginning of Naruto is simple to understand and follow, the punch of characters and additions aren’t overwhelming, and it’s easy to keep up with the action and character motivation. Everyone is recognizable from the anime and it’s easy enough to actually follow the story and learn more about the anime without the filler that the series is known for.
Graphically, Clash of Ninja looks just like the anime, which is a bonus in its favor. The game is gorgeous and bright, and it accomplishes the goal of making you feel like you’re playing the anime instead of a game. Likewise, the music and voice acting are great and feel and sound like they were pulled directly from the anime’s soundtrack.
Moving around within Clash of Ninja 2 is a solid experience. It’s easy to pull off moves and combos, and counters are easy to understand and get the hang of with a little practice. My only problem is that everyone seems to play the same way, so there’s not much variety in the movesets. The character you choose is merely cosmetic with the movesets and mechanics not changing from character to character. Other than that, the ability to jump right in and get to work is a welcome and refreshing change of pace in a category of gaming known for its sometimes-challenging mechanics.
Even though there have been more games released in the Clash of Ninja series and other Naruto fighting games added to its lengthy repertoire, Clash of Ninja 2 is just where you need to start if you’re wanting to get into fighting games and have a love for anime or Naruto. With a wealth of modes, great visuals and facilitated ability to ease into gameplay, this is one well-regarded ninja.