Fist of the North Star Ken’s Rage Review
If anyone has seen or read the manga for Fist of the North Star; they will already have an idea of how the universe of the title works.
For anyone who doesn’t, Fist of the North Star is all about over-the-top presentation in every sense. Also consider the title takes its story from one of the oldest imported manga and anime series for the United States, so expectations of some kind of highly focused tactical third person action title should be thrown out.
Fist of the North Star Ken’s Rage can be broken down into simple terms. One man, many techniques, flashy finishers, and bizarre characters.
That is actually what is great about Fist of the North Star Ken’s Rage. It shouldn’t have seen a stateside release because it is too different from what the general gaming population play. While the cross-section of anime, manga, and video games intersect, it would have been entirely expected that the title would stay in Japan. But for it to reach the Western shores is amazing because players need to experience this title for its substance and presentation.
Fist of the North Star Ken’s Rage is about a man who lives to protect the weak and follows a portion of the original manga. The story is a little outlandish and set in a post-apocalyptic world much like Mad Max, but with muscular top-heavy characters and desert environments.
Seeing the title in action is essentially watching the manga in motion. Many of the finishing moves are animated in gory detail, and blood flows everywhere when defeating enemies. But even with the copious amounts of blood, the nature of the title is extreme to the point where it is comical.
The title looks great. For a 720P capable title, it doesn’t have the anti-aliasing problems that other titles running at the same resolution have, with character models becoming less crisp. The environment mixes between a bit bland and crazy architecture showing off the world of the manga. It’s one of the best 2D to 3D adaptions ever.
Play the title in Japanese because the voices are amazingly bad in the sense of being awesome. The action makes much more sense with high pitched Japanese screams and cries of anger than in English. The soundtrack is action-orientated like it should be, but comes second to the voice acting.
As for the actual gameplay experience, being based off of the Dynasty Warriors engine; it copies the button mashing experience those titles have. In the beginning of the title, there is a bit limited move set, but working through the title, other finishers can be unlocked and unitized to create huge explosions of blood. It is all about moving through a level and killing every single enemy until reaching the end boss and beating the crap out of him, much like the progression of the action of the manga.
It is simple in focus, and does become repetitive; but the style of the title keeps things fresh. For a game based off of Dynasty Warriors, Ken does have a different set of moves with a quick and strong attack which can be chained together for long strings of combos, but the timing of these is important to take out as many enemies as possible.
Along with the story mode, the title features an original story for the game and a challenge mode. It’s not drastically different from the gameplay of the story mode, but features different characters.
Fist of the North Star Ken’s Rage is perfect for fans of the series, but might turn off people from taking the plunge into the title who are unfamiliar. Dynasty Warriors fans have another title to spend lots of time in and try to reach huge combo numbers. Even though it’s repetitive, it’s a title that the United States would have otherwise missed.
Review Copy Provided by Publisher