Naruto Shippuden: Clash of Ninja Revolution 3 is a good fighting game, with a wide cast of balanced fighters and a combat system that lets button mashers have some fun while also offering just enough depth for more serious players. This is an entertaining one-on-one couch-friendly fighting game that hides some surprising depth beneath its relatively simple exterior. While Story mode and the much-heralded online versus play don't quite meet the same standards, Revolution 3 is a good-looking and well-made fighter for the Wii.
Even grown up a bit, Naruto is still headstrong and aggressive.
Versus mode is the standout element of the game. The fights take place in 3D arenas plucked from the Naruto universe, and combat is either one-on-one or between two tag teams of two. Characters can all use chakra to activate some abilities while trying to beat the life out of the enemy. Swapping tag-team characters or activating powerful, chakra-devouring secret techniques requires only a single button press, as does evading. Although each character has a strong and weak attack, a throw move, paper bombs, and secret techniques, the vast majority of actions require only one button press--but one button press timed very well.
The demands on player precision are what make Revolution 3's fighting system so engaging. Plumbing the depths of each character's move set is fulfilling, but the core of success and failure revolves around watching your enemies and nailing your evasion and strike timing better than they do. Evasions are quick flits to either side by default, but when timed just at the moment you would take damage, they instead consume some chakra and position you behind your opponent, ready to strike or already attacking. You can similarly counter-throw, turn a hard fall into a chance to hit, and cancel out of combos. In tag-team battles, swapping in your other character is added to the list of potential variables; it's an especially important variable, since the out-of-play character recovers health and chakra fast. Some moves can be executed only by swapping specific characters in mid-combo. This system allows players to duke it out with basic attacks and enjoy themselves, but includes more advanced techniques that add some depth for dedicated brawlers.
The game features 40 of Naruto Shippuden's characters, and although most of them have to be unlocked, they're a diverse and entertaining stable of combatants who nicely balance each other. Characters are drastically different from each other in feel and play. Naruto, with his raw strength, throwing knives, and shadow clone jutsu plays nothing like the puppet-master Sasori, let alone the living-clay-bomb-maker Deidara. The whole cast feels fairly weel balanced, so you can experiment with different characters and not have to worry about being completely outclassed.
Each character plays differently while relying on similar core skills.