Figured I would give my 2 cents about this game after recently completing it. Yes, I know this game is old...released way back in 2008, but I just take ages getting around to playing games. And to be fair, the anime series was still going on, and I didn't want to spoil it by playing the game early.
If you have played the original Naruto: Rise of a Ninja, then this guy is very much more of the same, but I think improves it in every way that the game needed improving.
The graphics are the same, which is no bad thing really. I enjoyed the cel-shaded graphics of the original and thought the art style of the game and scenery captured the anime well. One improvement is in-game cut scenes, where it's good to see the naruto story retold in cg animation. The original game simply used 2D videos from the anime itself which detached you from the game. The character facial animation and lip sync is an area in need of improvement, but overall this aspect of the game was a definite step up from the original.
The game starts off with the leaf village destroyed and on the verge of repair, and as the game progresses the village starts to look better. It is also a clever way locking off certain areas of the game as being 'in construction' so that you are not wandering around the large world. The tree-racing sections to get from area to area are fairly tedious, but it only lasts a minute to complete each time. Random encounters with bandits and enemy ninjas can also get tedious due to the lack of variety in their designs, much like the NPCs scattered in the game, but it isn't really that big of an issue.
The controls work better with ninjutsu controls appearing on screen when you press the left trigger, so there is no need to memorize them, only to mess up with the wrong jutsu at the wrong time. Also another big bonus is the ability to jump up walls and across water with the need of performing a jutsu, which was very annoying in the original.
The fight mechanics are the same, except now you can have team battles and tag in other team members to create combos. One thing to say though are the fights are all rather easy, especially once you equip the stat enhancing scrolls. I played through half the game not realizing and had difficulty on the hard ninja card battles, but once I equipped the scrolls they were all fairly easy. Also, because of Naruto's Rasengan attack, which is stupidly powerful, it is a breeze to take out enemies and bosses.
There are lots of mini-games and collectibles and achievements for completing them. Around 36 achievements of the 46 are fairly easy to get, be they through simple fights, or story mode. There are extras for completing all the mini-game challenges, which are not hard at all. The fishing game may get tedious, but only because it is so easy. The real challenge is the whack a snake game, which judging by some forums, have hindered many people from completing all achievements. That, or, if they are late into the game like myself, the other 10 achievements are online, which is pretty much a ghost town. The coin challenge, annoying in the first game, is much easier here. You pick up a lot in your initial play through, but once you complete the game, you are able to explore the land and complete all other challenges you missed. The coins for example appear on your map after you complete the game, making this so much easier. The lovelorn villagers challenge is back but harder this time around as the villagers don't have hearts or face icons above their heads. Instead they are just discreteness reading a book with a sort of nervous look about them. I didn't even realize they existed until I checked online. So I would advise getting a map online to find these guys, as some are tricky, and the game doesnt help you out revealing their locations.
The game also nicely breaks things up from just playing Naruto, as you also control Sasuke, Rock Lee, Neiji, Shikimaru, Choji and Kiba, with some of those characters having their own challenges to complete too. It adds much diversity compared to the original game and pads out the content for those who want to get the achievements for completing them.
Overall, Naruto: The Broken Bond is a great follow up to Rise of a Ninja. If you love Naruto and liked the first game, it is more of the same but better, and I really enjoyed it. If you haven't seen the cartoon or read the manga and don't want spoilers, it is best avoiding the game for now. If you don't like Naruto, this game may not win you over with it being so simple.
I think the game is an easy 4/5 for fans, and possibly 3/5 for those who don't know anything about Naruto.
Dene Mason's original thumbnail pose and my detailed lines.