Review by mf29

"Naruto: The Broken Bond's repetitive missions are unforgivable."

Naruto: The Broken Bond, acts as a sequel to Rise of a Ninja, and covers the rest of the original Naruto anime, from episodes 81-135, that basically tells the story of the Sasuke Retrival arc. The game was developed by Ubisoft Montreal, and was published by Ubisoft as an XBOX 360 exclusive. As all of the more Naruto Video Games are released, they start to become imitations of one another, regardless of year or console. It expands upon the online multiplayer system, fighting system, characters, and stages.

Just be begin briefly, no such Naruto game deserves over a solid 8 in score, due to a definite balance of pros and cons. No Naruto game is worth purchasing either, only if it can be found for under $15. The game revolves around a decently structured action adventure/fighting aspect that seems to take gameplay elements from many other games that share the genre. As Naruto, you began the game with no special skills. Throughout the story, new skills are learned whether you want them to be learned or not, and characters are unlocked. Upon each mission completion alongside a certain Leaf Village ally, you gain friend points. The friends points are important, because they can be used to increase your attributes.

You can increase your health, and chakra capacity, along with the rather proverbial strength, and justu damage radius. The game acts as a slightly over the top camera viewed, free-roaming God of War-esc setting where you can jump around freely. Fighting takes place in an individual sequence. Something similar to DBZ: Sagas or Kingdom Hearts, instead of fighting enemies in real time, you fight them in a one on one versus match. You can have at a max of two different allies alongside with you in gameplay. If a match is started, your allies will be able to be tagged, in and out of or during versus matches respectively, and they all have distinguishable life bars and abilities.

Your allies and Naruto can be switched back and forth to whoever the first player is controlling. Mostly this is only convenient because there are some conspicuous obstacles present that require a certain justu to overcome or abolish. These obstacles are encountered numerous times during countless different missions, and the jutsu execution and cutscene that is delivered with it becomes repetitive. You wish the game would automatically perform said justu without your consent or effort, knowing that you have to perform a certain justu untold amounts of times to navigate around the area.

You can helpfully haul around Health, Strength, and Chakra pills, although your Chakra can be healed over time. Health is automatically replenished upon sleeping to rejuvenate yourself in your room or Inns. As each enemy or mission is completed, you will gain money and gold coins afterwards. These gold coins and cash are combined to purchase items, new jutsus or combos. In each town there is a local Dojo available, that presents itself as a basic training mode, preparing you for those hardships in battle. Holding the right trigger will allow you to sprint which can be compared to that of a Spiderman game, where Naruto or whatever character is being used, can freely jump around Konoha village, double jump, climb up and down walls, walk on water, and jump from building to building using the accelerated sprint and jump combination. The animates are fluid, and capture the animation style of the Anime sharply.

It's smooth and is filled with natural emphasis. Around towns people are bustling around and conversing, although their messages to you are rather dull and generic, as they comment on whatever event is prevalent in town or in the position where the game is currently. Some people may even repeat the same lines with different voices or different wording to spice it up a bit, but no avail mostly. You can run into people and they'll yell at you, barrels can be broken for gold coins and other free trinkets, and popular anime characters can be dueled against at any time, or can join your group whether you are on a mission or not.

The missions and general adventure like gameplay is where Naruto: The Broken Bond takes the discrepancy lane. Even though the most important plot points are enacted upon, some "Ubisoft" employee non-canon missions were created to expand the hours in the storymode. These absurd and undesirable missions range from hunting for flowers and pearls for a lady, fetching random meaningless items for some stranger in a forest, or seeking and defeating the dangerous, "Potato Chip" ninjas for Choji. And throughout these missions, random battles are met, where a pointless battle will even further delay you from pursuing your real objective. The maps are filled with seemingly impeccable obstacles, where some engineer is working to clear up the road sooner or later, but it seems to never happen.

With a navigation system like Grand Theft Auto, you will have to often times vaguely follow the arrow, and as stupid traps are cleverly laid around the map, you will have to utilize dumb techniques with Neji or Sasuke, that of which can expose the otherwise invisible traps that you will run into. Neji's Bakugan will be used over and over, to disclose hidden traps, or, to hunt down certain criminal Ninjas. These missions are god forsaken and uncalled for. Between each dramatic plot point, gratuitous stock missions will have to be tolerated. You complete a one, two, three step mission, of haphazardly trying to properly evade certain traps, some of which are too fast to time properly, like spikes jutting from under the ground repetitively in a quick and random motion, similar to the underdeveloped traps in Crash Bandicoot games or Mario 64, which are scattered across all maps.

They can be deactivated, as a person steps on the button to deactivate them, you will have to split the team up, so you can traverse past the nullified traps to continue with the mission. The other large percentile of missions includes retrieving lost items like fireworks, or lumber, from Ninjas. You will fight Ninjas constantly, and they all look alike, and are labeled with laughably generic names like, "Boss Chip Ninja", or "Thief Ninja". And to top it off they all have the same justus.

The fighting system is more advanced compared to "Rise of a Ninja" presumably, which I cannot directly confirm hence me having not played it. It renders itself as decently sufficient and interactive, as tag team attacks can be done, ultimate justus, and manually generated combos. Everyone's animations and mannerisms are distinctive, and, their justus are eye-popping upon the first three times. After a short while they become nasty, and often times, you wish that the justu was automatically done instead of you having to fulfill random button prompts. And with button prompt God of War cutscenes, you will have to watch the screen extra close because you might miss a button prompt, and if this failure is derived then you will have to start the entire cutscene over again, until you an rightfully input the correct buttons as they appear, this includes directional buttons as well.

The dungeon crawling includes turning switches, using certain techniques over and over to achieve rather shallow goals, and back tracking over the same ugly map structures where missions occur. As you travel from different towns there is a keenly chosen tree jumping sequence where in first person, you and your allies will jump from tree to tree, but then again after first two trials it becomes more than a chore. Most of all mini games are despicable button prompt memorization sequences. There is an abundance of hide and seek horse dung through in and through out, and only if you are able to tolerate it, should you foolhardily behoove yourself to do so.

Characters are unlocked and can be used in Fight Mode or Practice mode from the main menu, also capable of being played with online. The new ranking system prospers above aforementioned installments. The fashion in which the game presents itself is lavishly colorful and beautiful, the lighting is top notch and some individual effects are taken straight from the Anime's bag of goodies. While the character models are adequate, they are comprised of rather expressionless facial features, and choppy clothing at close inspection. The audio and sound effects are decent but not special, as the game takes music straight from the Anime for better or for worse. Out of preference, the Japanese voice overs are once again superior to the English actors, and the in-game dialogue is well performed, oozing with personality and emotion.

So in the end all of the game is is moderate fan service with and endless supply of bland hide and seek mission objectives. The fighting is a plus, along character development, but certain cons of the game leave much to be desired.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 03/09/09

Game Release: Naruto: The Broken Bond (US, 11/18/08)


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