Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage gameplay videos and impressions
A month ago we posted our interview with Tecmo Koei’s Executive Vice President, Tak Yamamoto. In the interview, Yamamoto-san revealed details on downloadable content, changes made to the game, and the development process. A demo released in North America and this allowed me to get more hands-on time with the game.
The demo features two playable characters – Kenshiro and Rei. Ken’s level is just a boss fight against his brother Jagi. Perhaps this wasn’t the best way to showcase the gameplay, but you’ll get adjusted to the speed rather quickly. Strikes don’t link together as fast as you’d think they would and this can really catch you off guard.
There are two types of attacks in Ken’s Rage. Combos are done by simply pressing a series of light and strong attacks. It’s nothing too surprising, although it’s pretty cool that different sets of combos can be linked together to form long chains of air juggles. The different attacks are pretty satisfying to watch, especially when your opponent goes flying halfway across the screen. It’s even better when you hear their brains squishing and see their bodies dissolve into a puddle of blood. The brutality is one of the best elements in Fist of the North Star and this game captures it very well.
Every time you deal or take damage your Spirit gauge increases. A full gauge allows you to perform devastating special moves. In the demo there were four techniques to select from (using the d-pad) and each have their own costs. For instance, Kenshiro’s Hokuto Hundred Crack Fist takes only one bar of Spirit out of a possible three. These signature moves are cinematic and after the last hit the name of the move is announced dramatically, just like in the anime.
In addition to the Spirit gauge, there’s an Aura meter that also builds up as you beat your opponents to death. This one gives you more strength and new strikes for a limited time in exchange for your Spirit gauge. If you perform a signature move while in a state of aura, you’ll do an even more devastating technique. There’s never a moment when you’re out of moves to do. This is a combat system that actually has some depth to it.
Since Rei’s gameplay is more than just a boss fight, you’ll most likely enjoy playing as him the most. It should give you an idea of what the rest of the game will be like. If you’re familiar with the typical Dynasty Warriors setup then you’ll know exactly what to expect. There’s various waves of enemies just begging to be destroyed, people talk during the middle of fights, and you once everyone is eliminated you move on to the next objective. The only difference here is that it all takes place in the Fist of the North Star universe. And what an awesome universe that is.
Despite being a Dynasty Warriors title, it’s still a pretty unique experience. However, if this wasn’t a game based on Fist of the North Star I doubt I’d care much for it. I find myself enjoying Ken’s Rage mainly because I’m already a fan of the series. The brutality, the exploding bodies, the special attacks, it’s all very entertaining. Hearing the remixed version of the main theme during the boss fight against Jagi added so much hype to the battle. It seems like this is something that only fans could truly appreciate though.
The full version includes Legend Mode, which takes you through the entire story of the manga. As you progress through the story you can also unlock a local multiplayer mode. Another mode, referred to as Dream Mode, allows you to play as a variety of characters from the series in “what if” situations. You may have noticed that one video was in Japanese while the other was in English. That’s because there’s actually an option to choose the dubbing you’d like to listen to. Surprisingly enough, the English voiceovers are pretty good.
Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage hits store shelves on November 2nd in Europe and on November 5th in North America.