November 29, 2010

Fist of The North Star Ken's Rage

I have to say that it is about time. There have been many Fist of the North Star (Hokuto No Ken) games across the various consoles over the years. The original Manga was released in 1983. Having watched the Fist of the North Star Movie about 5 years ago, I was very interested in pursuing the series and the manga. It ended up becoming one of those things that I never really got around to though.

I was extremely excited when I saw the release title for Fist of the North Star Ken's Rage on PS3 a while back. I was even more excited when I KOEI's logo on the box art. Ken's Rage is your standard beat-em-up style KOEI Warriors series game. Although this particular title is not part of the Warriors series, it does play very much the same.

The premise behind the game is to begin with Kenshiro (Ken) and follow through the 10 chapters of his story, which are loosely based off of the manga. As you progress through the story, new characters are acquired to play through the various modes. The game is made up of Legend Mode and Dream Mode. Basically Legend Mode follows the manga while Dream Mode takes more of an approach like Warriors Orochi in allowing you to select characters in a fictitious storyline.

The gameplay in Ken's Rage does require more thought process than just mashing buttons like in Dynasty Warriors. The timing on combos is slower and a little more realistic. More powerful moves have a longer execution time, but do not require the character to stand by idly and get assaulted while charging. The musou system is also customizable, allowing the player to choose from various learned skills to equip as specials.

Characters acquire experience through the level called Karma. When a character levels up the player acquires skill points that can be allocated to purchase active and passive skills. Active skills can be equipped in limited numbers and have the ability to improve stats under certain conditions. Passive skills improve attack, defense, health, and musou stats (or core stats).

The gameplay in this title is phenomenal. The levels are very interactive and require concentration to determine where to go in order to achieve the side missions. The entire map is not visible from the outset and grows as the character explores the various regions in the level.

The graphics are amazing when played in HighDef. There is immense detail and the lines are so clean. Another interesting element is the fact that characters clothes get torn and damaged as the character gets damaged in fights. There is also an option to make the violence extreme (with blood) or mild (without blood). I did not experience any lag when playing the game whatsoever. The music soundtrack is nothing to write home about. It is your typical KOEI heavy guitar, aggressive music that makes you want to kill something (in the game of course). I do like the voice dialog. The characters voices do suit the designs and personalities.
As a whole, this game is amazing. I was so impressed and feel it was worth every penny spent on it. I do highly recommend this game to fans of Fist of the North Star (Hokuto No Ken) and/or fans of the KOEI Warriors franchise as well.


  1. I don't think I've played any good beat'em up games lately. So is there an online component to this game? If so, how is it? Like Assassin Creed?

  2. There is no online component. The game does play somewhat like Assassin's Creed. The levels do have some direction that you have to follow as oppose to the complete open map concept in the Warriors games.

    Fighting style is much like Dynasty Warriors but timing is more realistic. The combo system also ends at the three button stage rather than the elevated 5 from the other KOEI titles. The moves do get more intricate for the combo system, adding an extra kick and variation to the punches here and there, making the level up a little more unique. This helps to limit button mashing I find as well.

    Not sure how Xbox 360 version plays, but I would imaging very little if any changes at all. I would suspect that using the analog on the 360 controller would make the game a little nicer in terms of control.