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Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage (PlayStation 3) artwork

Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage (PlayStation 3) review

"Fist is essentially a Koei Dynasty Warriors game [...] in a Hokuto No Ken skin."

Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage (Fist) is a great game for what it is; and if you are familiar with Koei's past efforts, you will certainly grasp the idea behind this particular game.

Fist is essentially a Koei Dynasty Warriors game -- a hack n' slash beat 'em up where the player mows through throngs of grunt enemies interspersed with the odd boss battle spliced with light RPG leveling elements -- in a Hokuto No Ken skin.

What sets it apart from the ho hum DW formula is, a) the far more approachable (at least for Western audiences) Hokuto source material, and b) the distinctly more 'solid' feel to the gameplay. Another, arguably negative, departure point between the two franchises is the that Fist has a somewhat gimped leveling system compared to DW games and a less comprehensive multiplayer component, with 2-player co-op play being limited to two modes only (Dream and Free modes).

The gameplay consists largely of button mashing, but 'methodical' button mashing. Characters have a very respectable repertoire of moves, from light and hard normal attacks, throws etc to 8 signature moves (supers) and 3 'hyper' signature moves each. Each character plays uniquely enough given this type of game to each have a mild learning curve. The gameplay 'feel' in particular should be noted, as it's far more 'meaty' than that of DW games; where enemies lack weight and attack feel like they wiff even when connecting. But as an offshoot of this 'heavier' gameplay, it is also slower. Some might find this jarring if coming from DW games. Though, this is far from a negative.

Game modes consist of Legend (story) mode (5 characters) of varying lengths (5-14 chapters); Dream Mode (non canon stories with co-op; 8 character + DLC); Free Mode (Dream Mode with co-op sans character-stage restrictions) and Battle Mode (versus CPU boss battles in 'survival' format; single-player only).

The game is presented quite nicely from a graphical standpoint, easily being the prettiest sister of the Koei button masher family. The levels are repetitive, but not an eye sore, and are large enough though quite linear. The audio in the game is very strong too and very faithful to the anime its based on. The loading is a little protracted on the 360 version of the game compared to the Ps3 format, which it was ported from.

All in all, the game is well worth the lower than A-list price and what would now be a bargain bin purchase; especially if you have a friend to play locally with.

+ pretty
+ decent move sets
+ good replay
+ split-screen 2-player co-op
+ faithful to source material
+ good selection of characters

- multiplayer options limited
- leveling / customization limited
- no online / system link play
- underwhelming and pricey DLC
- more characters sorely missed


Sablicious's avatar
Community review by Sablicious (June 26, 2011)

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honestgamer posted June 26, 2011:

This was a satisfying but brief review of an interesting game and shows (at least to me) that you have definite potential as a reviewer. I wouldn't have minded seeing you go into more detail on your most interesting points, perhaps with examples or further elaboration, because you did a good enough job that I wanted to hear more. Your grasp on grammar was for the most part good and your organization made sense. I hope that you stick around and continue reviewing and improving as a writer, because there's a lot to like here. Thanks for contributing!

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