Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 Review

Does Ken have enough rage to get through this sequel?

Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 is mediocre game. It just feels like Ken just didn’t have enough rage to muster up a game worth getting through. And there’s way too many small issues that just equate to a game that is hard to get sucked in to.

The first disconnect is the language barrier. I understand this game was not developed in America, and with that, it can be understandable that the main language is not English, but it’s a thin argument at best when a large amount of games come out of Japan and have English dub. When you have to sit through cut scenes and concentrate on reading the sub titles, it takes away from what is actually a cool cut scene approach which look like they were taken from the manga pages.

When it comes to the main characters there’s some good detailing done although the style is generic, in a sense that the characters could have been plucked from any random game. On top of that, all characters are kind of shiny, which in all honesty is weird.

The background levels aren’t much better. For the most part every level is just a corridor. If you throw a bad guy into a wall there is a small amount of level destruction, but it seems obvious that destroying the worlds were not a main focus. In the game Ken gets imprisoned. When it comes time to break out all he has to do is bend the bars making you wonder how it’s even possible to imprison him, and why he didn’t bother to break out sooner.

For the most part the boss fights are not impressive. As it is, the combat system is pretty simple. I’m not asking for Street Fighter, uber combo moves, but something more than a 4 button move would have made the game a little more interesting. The combo’s are quite easy to master but after the second level it all gets a little too generic.

Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2

The only remotely impressive feature of the game is the large amounts of hordes you have to fight. This stays in the tradition of the previous games. Back in the day it was impressive to see large amount of bad guys on the screen, but unfortunately it’s no longer such a new concept, and now it looks a little dated. Every hardware has a limit which makes a large amount of bad guys on the screen at one time hard, but again, since we’re nearing the end of the PlayStation 3 life cycle it should be expected that there would be a work around by now.

As cool as it to fight a horde, their AI is not smart making it rather simple to just blow through them with your limited combo’s. You also don’t really see stronger hordes as the levels progress. You pretty much fight the same AI hordes throughout, and it becomes very repetitive, very fast. Once you break through the horde and scatter them, they work very hard to get close to each other again, making it easier to kill them.

I would assume for the most part the developers were really trying to cater to the die hard fans here, rather than bring new people in. The Legend Mode is centered around the original manga. Dream Mode focuses on new stories based on the manga series. In Legend Mode, you play as Ken. In Dream Mode you start with only an unnamed Outlaw. You can play Wasteland Thugs in the Free Mode with the Outlaw, and you can also play online. The options for online are either co-op through Dream Mode, or as a Team of 4.

It seems like the overall issue to Ken’s Rage is that the game lacks a good quality check. It just falls flat in every area, and interest is lost fast when it becomes repetitive. Although it caters to the die hard manga fans, it still lacks polish and makes the game look like it was rushed to the market. With the lack of major content it’s also odd that this download was over 9 GB. I would have just assumed, with the reuse of such generic characters and models that the game could do a better job at managing assets.

This game just reminds us that fighting horde after horde is no longer an interesting concept. There needs to be more variety in game play. There needs to be better skin textures, unless you want us to think the characters are plastic. But most of all, there needs to be quality control on a game like this that just makes you feel that the developer just weren’t fully invested.

This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.

The Good

Game is appealing if you are a fan of the series, cool cutscenes.

The bad

Bland textures, uninspiring locations, lacks polish.

FINAL VERDICT

Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 doesn’t really feel all to rage full. If anything, Ken looks upset, but not near enough to possibly make a game worth buying.


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