Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive - It's Never Ending

Another Naruto title in which very little was done right.
Author: Andy Curtiss
Published: April 29, 2011
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I admit that the world of Naruto intrigues me. I can't help but be a little bit curious about the myriad of different characters, each with different powers, and each with their own storylines. Perhaps it's the gaming nerd in me, but with such an expansive cast I can't help but think about all the cool things that you could do. A diverse cast with unique abilities is one of the cornerstones of a fun fighting or adventure game. Oh! And speaking of an adventure game, what better cast then a bunch of ninjas? All the cool ninja moves, fast fighting, jumping around… you have the ingredients here for a potentially kick ass adventure/fighting/ninja-tastic game. But, alas, in Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive we are not so lucky. What we have instead is a game that feels half finished. We have a game whose characters aren't animated in cut scenes and whose gameplay is boring and repetitive. Poor us!

As a creature of habit, I'd like to start with the story. The game claims to have an original storyline, separate from that of the animated show. Lo and behold, it is the truth… technically. Naruto and company find themselves hunting down a "tailed beast." For those of you who haven't seen Naruto before, "tailed beasts" refer to beasts large enough to clear central park with a swipe of its paw. These beasts tend to have enough power to put whole nations to a bloody end. The lead character, Naruto, has one such tailed beast locked within himself - The Nine Tails. At the onset of the game a beast resembling The Nine Tails appears and destroys a whole village, save for several survivors. Naruto doesn't remember destroying a village and killing people - so who was this mystery ninja and mystery tailed beast?!
So again, the story is technically different then that of the show. But it's nothing to really write home about either. The script is particularly weak and directionless. You find yourself being sent to a location to "investigate." You find bad guys. You beat them up. You find some kind of clue that makes no sense or seems incredibly pointless. You continue on. And this is the cycle that tends to continue, with little changes here and there. There are points where you take control of a different set of ninjas and act out their battles and what they are doing while Naruto's team is on its mission. But there's no actual reason for this other then to throw more battles at you with characters that are clearly inferior to the likes of Naruto and Kakashi. When all is said and done the story stands up about as well as a wet paper bag.
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