One of the greatest action manga’s (comics) ever created has returned to the current generation consoles. Over the years this franchise has produced 245 chapters in the Weekly Shonen Jump , 152 episodes of anime and over 12 videogames, Fist of the North Star is no amateur when it comes to beating down thugs in its own arena. If you are a long time follower to the series or if you like to play beat em up games, than Ken’s revenge will deliver that service with a knuckle sandwich and a pint of blood, lets find out how the master of Hokuto Shinken ( assassination fighting style) stacks up against his bigger foes.
Story: There are two story modes to choose from, Legend mode is the main campaign and it is religiously based on the manga, there is nothing that has been tainted in any way. The setting takes place in a post apocalyptic nuclear war where everything becomes a wasteland and all the survivals have to fend for themselves, brute force is the only way to get what you want and the innocent become nothing but helpless victims. . Kenshiro, a man who rescues the oppressed and protects the weak, has the courage to risk his life for the future of mankind with his deadly assassination techniques called the Hokuto Shinken. Along his journey he faces strong opponents and his rival sibling that challenges him for the true successor of the Hokuto Shinken title.
The Dream Mode is not the official story and does not follow the manga, it is an all original content that adds a little extra spice to the universe and a back-story to some on the other characters.
Graphics- Most Japanese animations that go from the anime to the videogames consoles generally follow that cartoon like style, Fist of the North Stat breaks away from that trend and it presents a more realistic look to the characters, I was often impressed to how well some models were rendered and the detail that was given to each individual. The destroyed world and the dried environment was something to be desired and had very little realism but it was able to depict some of the wasteland according to the anime.
Gameplay- The developer who made all the Dynasty Warriors games are the same who made FotNS, right from the beginning you can tell the resemblance since there is only one of the good guys fighting against 50 plus baddies at one time. There is not much to controls, light and heavy combination attacks are with the X and Y button and the occasional jump which is very unlikely unless you are trying to solve an easy obstacle puzzle or light platforming. There is spirit energy that can be used momentarily to defeat stronger opponents, while in this state you can perform powerful signature moves that can be lethal to any person standing in your way . The game uses a skill system that can be given after every chapter as bonuses for completing missions or for killing thugs, these skill points can be used to increase your health, spirit energy, or for unlocking new techniques. There are 2 additional modes, one being the Challenge or the survival mode where you fight waves of punk thugs and bosses, then we have the Introduction mode where we train and get extensive experience to defeat our foes.
Sound- I love the battle music that comes with Ken-san as he pummels faces to a pulp, it has an excellent metal feel to it with a little splash of piano and upbeat techno. The voice acting is not to the standard of what I am used too, but the audio can be adjusted to Japanese with the subtitles set on English, this brings the player closer to the original format as it is intended.
Wishes or Changes- The repetitiveness of every battle after battle can be quite boring after a while, the camera can be annoying when you are performing attacks and then all of a sudden you are facing an enemy you cant see because the camera view stays in one place, instead of following ken from behind so I can see where I am going and where the action is taking me. Certain attacks feel slow when executing it on the control, its suppose to be a fast paced beat-em-up but fails to accomplish that when some of my kicks take a second to reach the enemy.
TQ bottom line- There is not much to button smashing games, there are fun and require little skill to enjoy it, add Ken-san into the mix and you have a brawler that comes with a great story that can level up with skill points for annihilating punks.
Ken-san fist pumps his way into 3.5 Michelas
FINAL SCORE: 3.5 out of 5 Michelas!
(3/3.5 Michelas? What does this mean?) 3 Michelas is like drinking 3 of your favorite drinks, and working on your 4th, you feel relaxed, happy and starting to socialize. Not quite at the peak of your buzz, but not far from it.
Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Revenge
Developer: Omega Force
Available on: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3