When an anime series takes a break between major story arcs it offers viewers shorter alternative tales that don't correlate to an overarching plot. These outside stories are commonly referred to as filler. Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2, the sequel to the Game Boy Advance-ported Nintendo DS role-playing game, is essentially a filler episode dragged out over the course of eight hours in a portable adventure. Path of the Ninja 2 features more of the outlandish adventure that fans of the long-running anime are used to, though the end result is a soulless, traditional Japanese RPG.
The conventional mechanics, more so than the mundane narrative, are where Path of the Ninja 2 retains what charm it has. The game looks, feels, sounds, and plays like a Super Nintendo RPG you'd expect to have played in 1994, but it's loaded with tons of characters from the modern cartoon. The bright color palette and groovy multilayered MIDI tracks cement the SNES feel while also nailing the anime's vibe. Naruto nuts will surely enjoy the traditional tropes of the orange-clad hero's idiocy and the huge amount of playable characters to battle with during their chat-heavy quest. Path of the Ninja 2 is a loving throwback, but it fails to offer any depth beyond the basic fun of punching gigantic turtles.
Naturally, tons of random enemy encounters occur as you wander the world. You'll spend a lot of time in the combat screen trading kung-fu kicks with various ninja, samurai, monsters, and pirates in a pretty standard fare of turn-based bouts. You'll fill your team with three of 30 available characters, each of whom have an array of unique attacks and skills to throw at baddies when you're not juicing your HP and mana-alike Chakra meters with items. If you've ever come into contact with a Japanese RPG, you're well acquainted with this fighting philosophy, so don't expect any surprises. Sure, tactically relocating your squadron of three fighters between a trio of planes adds strategy; the closer you are to your foe, the more damage you will inflict, sacrificing some defence as a result. Nevertheless, the turn-based action often boils down to you tapping the A button until each inanimate enemy sprite disappears. Even JRPG fans will be bored by the monotony.