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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage on PS3 Impression

Will Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage be a ramped up, awesome video game or does this anime classic show it’s age?

Having been out for a few months, Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage for PlayStation 3 is a game fans have already embraced and which the average gamer may find a bit lacking. That being said, for a franchise as iconic as Fist of the North Star can developers really complain about this perception? Many an anime fan cut their teeth on this uber violent anime and since it’s been out for well over a decade how much of a newer fan base was this title hoping to obtain? Was this the goal or were gamers just getting a nice dose of the anime gaming love US gamers have been missing for so many years? Let’s take a look …

Gameplay – Assume the role of Ken as he wanders the desolate wasteland taking on baddies and exacting justice through incredible martial arts moves while seeking out ghosts from his past which almost lead to his death. The action is a third-person slugfest where gamers run around, pick a path, fight waves of enemies and a bad camera while taking on bosses with signature moves pulled from both the anime and manga Fist of the North Star.

Graphics – As a third-person brawler the overall look of Ken’s Rage is average with solid textures and in-game action. The special moves and cut scenes look great, worthy of the anime and manga but the entire graphical package is pulled down thanks to the apocalyptic setting. How many desolate wastelands look good even with the best graphics engine behind them? Fans will feel the anime and manga come to life while the average gamer will just feel a bit of repetitiveness. This said gamers will be hard pressed to experience better exploding heads and bodies.

Sound – The soundtrack and effects sounds all bring back fond memories of anime watched long ago. Great for fans but forgettable and uninspired … plain really when compared to other games, like listening to noob night on open guitar night.

Design – Read manga, watch anime, make into game and thus the developers were done. The game’s story and action, special moves, everything is set from the word go so it comes down to which game engine to implement and on this front Ken’s Rage just feels average and ok. Not a well designed games are gamers are funneled down set paths to fight wave upon wave of the same enemies with bosses thrown in. For the average gamer not much fun but for fans of the franchise a freaking blast reliving these encounters and epic battles, really, no joke, great for fans.

Miscellaneous – Finishing moves rock! The muddy looks of the somewhat long levels and repetitive enemies all melts away when gamers unleash the perfect finishing move with visual flare one very unique looking bosses.

Overall Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage is a fairly average third-person brawl fest, for the average gamer, but a tasty treat worth playing over and over for fans of the franchise. It’s these core gamers who will want to unlock every secret and story point, to take control of every character and just enjoy Ken’s Rage for what it is; a well crafted, faithful to the source material anime gamers dream.

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