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Customer Review

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much, much better than expected!, 13 Nov. 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Fist of the North Star - Ken's Rage (PS3) (Video Game)
Although a beloved classic in Japan not everyone is familiar with the Fist of the North Star manga or tv series. It's a tale of revenge set in a post apocaplyptic world where the protagonist, Kenshiro, betrayed by his best friend and his brothers and left for dead, sets about tracking them down, settling a few scores and finding his lost lost, Yuria. It's effectively an ultra-violent western with lethal martial arts.

This game charts the story of Kenshiro and replicates all the famous encounters fromn the manga - Shin, Jagi, Toki/Amiba, Heart, Raoh, Boss Fang etc. all the best showdowns from the manga are here. It plays in the third person a bit like God of War - the levels are fairly linear with hordes of thugs and sub bosses to defeat and ending with a boss fight. There is a degree of puzzle solving but this is mainly in the form of simple mazes, the bulk of the action is by the way of battering your way through the gangs of thugs to the end of the level.

The combat seems a bit basic to begin with. There is a light attack and a heavy attack, but by combining them a variety of combos can be unleashed. It is also possible to stun enemies (striking tsubo) to multiply the damage you inflict or alternatively you can boost your attack power by tapping into your spirit gauge. To really bring the pain you can unleash special attacks such as the hundred crack fist or boulder splitting wave - combine this attack with the spirit boost and you can really do some damage. There is a guard feature too which provides the option for more tactical fights against bosses or sub bosses, but this isn't particularly effective in the scrum but proves vital in boss fights later on.

As you progress you can earn and find spirit points which can be spent on character upgrades to increase health, attack power and learn new moves. Rest assured the O.T.T Fist of thre North Star gore is intact. In terms of gameplay, the combat is great fun - enemies explode or shatter into pieces as you carve your way forward. Crowds of thugs can be splattered in a single attack. The level design is good with many hidden areas only accessible on a second play through. The difficulty has been nicely pitched - easy is fairly stress free for the average player and there are no nasty surprises in terms of design disasters. The only real groan is a slightly whirly camera, but they have included an auto-centre function during boss fights to address this.

As you progress you will unlock the option play as other characters - Rei, Mamiya, Jagi etc. The story modes for Rei and Mamiya follow Kenshiro's timeline but, critically, you do not have to play through the same levels as Kenshiro. This is a particularly nice touch as it would have been an easy out for the developer to just re-run the same levels for all characters. As Rei, for instance, you have the ability to wall jump and bypass large sections of Kenshiro's level to play completely new areas. The extra characters also play very differently - Rei for example has the ability to counter. He can also attack with much greater speed which is a huge plus in the thug battles but less effective in boss fights.

The graphics and presentation are very good. The manga style has been very faithfully reproduced and the voice work is very much in the style of the 80's tv series. The Level introductions mimic the dramatic/macho Fist style. The menu system is uncomplicated and well thought out.

Overall, a huge amount of care has gone into this title and unlike some games of this type it retains replay value. If you are a fan of Fist of the North Star this is probably a four and a half/five star game as all the boxes are ticked. For players who have never heard of it, I would say three and a half to four as some knowledge of the original story certainly makes it more fun.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Nov 2010 17:56:53 GMT
Sorry, but it does not play like God of War at all. It has far more in common with Dynasty Warriors and the old school brawlers like Streets of Rage and Final Fight. Dunno why everybody compares brawlers to God of War when that game is essentially a hack 'n slash game.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Nov 2010 12:36:56 GMT
and God of War is not a hack and slash game(with some plaltforming)?

Posted on 13 Apr 2011 09:37:55 BDT
M. Porter says:
Helpful review. Thanks.

Posted on 25 Jul 2011 12:28:02 BDT
Question: Does this version have selectable Japanese / English audio? Or just Japanese audio? Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Dec 2011 10:56:24 GMT
David says:
Moennoesing: the western versions have both English/Japanese audio with English subtitles.
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