Naruto Shippuden: Ninja Destiny 2 is smoother and faster. But, combat still feels more like a brawler than a pocket Clash of Ninja game. Part of the problem seems to be rooted in distance. The computer always dashes headfirst towards you. If you attempt to backflip out of danger the CPU closes distance before you can dish out a long range attack.
Fights in this game end up being up close and personal with lots of sidestepping. Light attack –> strong attack –> sidestep –> sidestep –> now you’re behind your opponent! –> strike with a signature jutsu move. Or, light attack –> strong attack –> enemy attacks you –> replacement technique! –> start combo over. Even though the game has a cast of Shippuden stars, the system is built in such a way that you can’t take advantage of Yamato’s long range wood attacks. Sidestepping jutsu combos take care of most amateur ninja, anyway.
In story mode you meet tons of them. Instead of focusing on a tournament or cutting straight to key fights, Naruto Shippuden: Ninja Destiny 2 has a RPG-like mode where you explore a map and randomly run into inept ninja. Naruto can make quick work them, but he doesn’t recover his HP or chakra after each encounter. This mode is more of an endurance test with collectable items that recharge your life when you tap the touch screen to use them.
Beyond story mode is quest mode, a dungeon crawler with the same random encounter system. It’s basic, but this is something Tomy can expand on with Naruto or one of their other franchises like Toshinden. First, Tomy needs a retooled fighting engine with branching combos and computer fighters that don’t run directly at the player. Add that to this game’s quest mode and Tomy has the ingredients to make a “fighting RPG” with an actual one-on-one fighting system.