GC 2008: Naruto: The Broken Bond Impressions

We got an updated look at Leipzig and even found out about a new playable character.


Naruto is back for another outing on the Xbox 360 in Naruto: The Broken Bond. The story takes place right after the events of Rise of a Ninja, and in the mission that we saw at Leipzig, you'll need to help Naruto and his friends rescue a local village from a bandit attack. You'll be able to control three characters at a time with seven in total to choose from, including Naruto, Shikamaru, Neji, and the newly announced addition of Sasuke.

Naruto's back and ready to kick butt, ninja-style!
Naruto's back and ready to kick butt, ninja-style!

Every character will have their own special abilities in Broken Bond, such as Neji's abilities to sense danger and guide you through dangerous areas without harm. Naruto has the ability to sprint, for example across a bridge set with explosives. He also has the ability to clone himself, which let us create a bridge of piggybacked Narutos later on. Shikamaru then used his ability to stretch his shadow across the newly created bridge to open a gate on the other side.

Sasuke will have has his own unique story and different set of skills in the game. The gameplay will be quite different when playing as him, too, including the artistic direction of the scenery, which Ubisoft said reflects his internal struggles. Specific portions of levels are playable only with specific characters, so if you want to collect everything, you'll need to use every character to explore every area.

The game has a more open-world feeling than before, with multiple paths available throughout the game. Non-player characters will work on clearing roads and making bridges at certain points in the game, and the world will change and develop throughout your progress through the game. The average play-through time is estimated to be around 10 hours, and the single-player campaign is definitely the focus on this occasion. Despite this, Broken Bond looks like it has a solid fight mode, with online support and 25 playable characters included.

You'll guide Naruto and two of his friends through Broken Bond's story.
You'll guide Naruto and two of his friends through Broken Bond's story.

The cartoon style of Broken Bond looks gorgeous, with crisp, vibrant 3D environments and detailed cel-shaded characters. The game looks and sounds pretty close to completion, and it should keep Naruto fans happy with the level of detail that the team has delivered. Our presenters claimed that there would be some exclusive content planned for the game, as well as integration with Ubi.com, but no details were revealed at Leipzig. Ubisoft will also be announcing a preorder campaign with a special something for those that get in early.

Naruto: The Broken Bond is coming in fall 2008. For more on the game, see our previous coverage.

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