Ninjas may indeed clash, but this is hardly a revolution.
It's a bit strange that the Clash of Ninja series reminds me more of Madden NFL than Smash Bros. Annual iterations, roster updates, and minimal improvements over its predecessor? I'm surprised '08 wasn't slapped on the cover, to be honest. Figuring out if it's worth your money essentially comes down to whether or not you've already bought one of the previous games, or if you're satisfied with tacked-on motion controls and a few new faces in the Character Select Screen.
The game's development is a little tricky to explain, because unlike previous releases, this isn't a simple localization. It's the third iteration of the Clash of Ninja series in the United States, but it's not Gekitou Ninja Taisen 3. It's also the first Naruto fighter on Wii, but it's not Gekitou Ninja Taisen EX. Instead, it's a North American exclusive that is a mix of the two. It uses the characters and story pacing of the former but the fighting engine of the latter.
You'll probably want to start with the Story Mode, since it begins with a controls tutorial. If you've opted for the GameCube/Classic Controller layout, you'll find that most things have stayed the same. The only change here is that characters can now transform in mid-battle rather than choosing transformed states beforehand. By holding down on the analog stick and pressing X, a character will ascend to a more powerful state. For example, Naruto will bring out his demon fox chakra, and Sasuke will use his Sharingan Eye. Pressing X alone, however, still acts as the special move button.
On the other hand, if you're playing with a Wii Remote and nunchuck, you'll find that a few changes have been made to accommodate the lack of buttons. Strong attacks are use the A button, but weak attacks are executed by flicking the remote (waggle for the win!). Dodging/countering is assigned to the B and Z triggers, and specials/transformations are assigned to down and right on the D-Pad. Also, during special attacks, you'll be asked to perform certain motions to increase their potency. While this setup isn't necessarily inferior, I happen to prefer the old layout, since it's what I'm comfortable with. New players probably won't find it obtrusive.
It's also worth noting that if you're playing with the Wii Remote you'll be able to play the seemingly obligatory mini-game. By aiming the pointer on the screen and flicking your wrist, you'll fire out tiny kunai knives at moving targets. It's a simple diversion that probably won't eat up tons of your time, but it might satisfy the Duck Hunt enthusiast in you if you're craving such distractions.
While it might seem like I'm down on this game, that isn't wholly true. Clash of Ninja's simple-but-effective fighting system has always been its bread and butter, and that's still the case. Multiplayer is a ton of fun, and the game now supports four players simultaneously, so if you've got three friends and controllers, there's definitely legitimate replay value to be had.
Having played this series since it began, I've seen it grow from a promising licensed fighting series with aspirations of greatness to, well, a promising licensed fighting series with aspirations of greatness… with some motion controls. Everything from the visual presentation to the core fighting system has stayed stagnant since the original GameCube game. How about some online play? How about some animated cut scenes instead of endless text boxes? How about some real progression in the fighting system? There's sure to be a new Clash of Ninja game by this time next year, so here's hoping. Series rookies will undoubtedly love the game's easy-to-learn-impossible-to-master gameplay, but until the franchise becomes more than yearly roster updates, it's hard to recommend to people who own Clash of Ninja 2.