Years ago, I reviewed the original Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage. I enjoyed it, despite its faults, because it was the best game based on one of my favorite anime. Does the Koei sequel improve upon the original, or fall flat?
The story isn’t really different. You still follow the saga of Kenshiro, heir to the deadly martial art of Hokuto Shinken, as he wanders the post-apocalyptic wasteland righting wrongs and fighting evil. In fact, there’s even more story this time. The last installment only covered the major storylines from the manga, but this time, the ENTIRE saga is yours to play though, including the second part of the manga that took place 10 years after the final battle against Raoh (which was the original final boss from the last game). I’m sadly of two minds on this: while I love getting more of the story I enjoy, it can feel like a chore having to go through the story chapters from the last game again.
Combat is smoother, with responses to button presses now much quicker. Kenshiro also no longer can jump except in certain situations, the jump button now replaced by a quick dash. Without the platforming, the game is more combat-focused and quicker to get through. Unfortunately, this results in most levels just being a corridor where you kill anything that moves until you get to the boss, with little variety. Thankfully, it’s still fun mashing buttons to devastate your opponents. The old leveling system, where you chose what leveled up, is gone. Instead, the more you fight, and vary your moves, you level up certain stats. This would be good, if only they didn’t add an additional system where you can use scrolls to boost your stats. I played through without collecting them or equipping anymore than the first ones I added, and it didn’t feel like the game got harder or easier. In truth, it felt pointless, given that you still level up just by playing.
Instead of the opening narration crawl for each chapter followed by select scenes from the manga getting full motion video cutscenes, all the story is told with a mix of motion comic panels and in-game cutscenes. And now you have interactive cutscenes where you’ll have to press buttons to reenact iconic finishers from the saga. In addition to the main story, you again have Dream Mode, or simply put, Dynasty Warriors of the North Star. Taking major characters and having huge armies, it’s the same as the game I referenced in my nickname for it. Meaning all the same gameplay and flaws as that one.
The game has several flaws, in case you were wondering. Enemies seem to just pop up out of nowhere, and again, the gameplay can get monotonous. And in this particular version on the PS3, it’s unavailable in disc form, meaning you have to download all 9 gigs of it. If you’re a fan, you’re probably going to find enough to enjoy to power on through, but if you’re not, you may not enjoy.
- More of the classic story
- Smoother combat than the previous game
- Pure mindless fun
- Has a Dynasty Warriors mode if you’re a fan of that series
- Can be tedious if you’re not a fan
- Little bugs here and there
- Pointless scrolls system when you already level up
- Very large download for the only digital game
To see where this review score falls in our scoring range, please read our review scale guidelines.