With the Naruto fans that I have met in my travels, I have learned one thing about the anime series: their fans hated the fillers at the tail end of the Part I saga. By the 30th episode of non-manga materials, they were almost ready to stop watching. Well, actually they would just continue watching it and posting their hatred of it on forums, but it was like clockwork. They would sit their hoping the time skip would come, but it would never show. That is until 90+ episodes of filler storyline and the introduction of a new Naruto TV series.

At first, I was against these people. It's Naruto going on more and more missions, so just behave and enjoy what you are getting. However, after playing Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2, I see where they are coming from. That's what this game feels like: nothing but a filler episode of a game. I browsed all the menus hoping to uncover the Sasuke Retrieval Arc, but it was not to be found. It's almost like seeing someone you know around the corner, but just never showing up to your door to greet you.

With that said, the original storyline of the game is not a complete wash. It starts off the members of the ANBU black ops (elite sect of ninjas who only answer to the Hokage, or ninja leader of a village for those not fans of the anime series) returning from a mission and running into rogue ninjas. A fight ensues which leads them to a burning village of people who turned on and killed each other. Back at the Hidden Leaf Village, ninjas are turning on their comrade in arms and it is up to Naruto and his allies to discover the secret to this dark plot. Most of the story unfolds via in-game cut scenes and text box dialogues and it is truly done in Naruto fashion. If you are an avid fan of the series, it's not really thinking outside of the Naruto formula you know and love. Bad guys want to destroy the village. Naruto is jumping around like the number one hyper-active ninja he is and yelling "Let's pulverize them!" at the bad guys. It's pretty simple to follow and doesn't require that much brain activity to comprehend.

The controls were tailored made for the Wii. If you played any of the Clash of Ninja series games on the Gamecube, then using the Gamecube controller might be second-nature to your taste, but it limits what all can be done with this game. There are certain moves in the game that can't be done unless you use the Wii remote and nunchuk control interface such as the hand seals and precise aiming for paper bombs. And if you're a fan of waggle, this game is almost nothing but waggle. You'll be flinging your Wii remote left and right to pull of all shorts of moves and using it to enhance the power of your secret jutsus; something that also can only be done with the nunchuk and Wii remote. The main thing that is good about this interface is that is simple to use and has a very low learning curve. However, it sometimes takes some restraint to pull off the moves you want to do. I found out that a full swing of the Wii-remote actually counts as two weak attacks, so it forced me to stop mid-swing and convert it into flicks of the Wii-remote to keep track of the hits I was making and even then, it wasn't too precise. Once you get into the movement of swinging, it gets really hard to stop. Still, if you can move your wrist left and right, you won't have any trouble. It pretty much amounts to button mashing with a Gamecube controller.

Combat is the same throughout the series: fast-paced. These ninjas go wild and get pretty airborne when they get into it. Each character has their own style of fighting and it's basically a game of trial and error to see which character fits your own style. Each character has their own strength that they exhibit in fights and they are always moves to get around it. This comes painfully clear when engaged in later fights with the computer during story progression. Some fights equip opponents with a "wall" feature to them. The wall feature is a term used in other fighting games, one example being in the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi series of games. What this does is make an opponent immune to the stopping effects of certain attacks. While your attacks still deal normal damage to them, it doesn't stop them from moving or making attacks against you. So while you are hitting them, they can at the same time hit you and stop your attacks and continue their combos without interruption. While I do enjoy a challenge with my fighting games, this feature on any character is almost tantamount to cheating. It pretty much makes the character near invincible and makes your attacks better than an opponent's because it almost nullifies all standard attacks that would stop any normal character. It is an annoying and unfair advantage for any character to have.

There are also other modes of playing such as Mission mode which give you certain criteria to fulfill to win a match. These criteria range a broad spectrum from beating an opponent without time running out or winning 10 consecutives matches with a special jutsu. There are also 4-player battle-royale matches and 2-player two-man squad matches that team you up with a character of your choice and can switch out between the combatants ala Marvel vs. Capcom style.

Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 is not a completely bad game, nor is it a broken game. It's just a game that has no real depth to it anymore. When I played the early games of the Clash of Ninja series for the first time, I was impressed by the easy controls it utilized and the simple learning curve which made it my choice over the Naruto: Ultimate Ninjas series of fighting games. However, over time, the simplistic controls take away the challenge of it and the only thing that tries to take the place of that challenge is the "wall" feature for opponents, and you all know my opinion of that. I can't think of any main reason to continuously play this game besides trying to unlock all your favorite Naruto characters. Unless you are a hardcore Naruto fan, this one may not hold your interest for too long.