Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage Review
Extra Feature(s): Download Content (extra Ken outfit, extra playable characters)
I mainly remember Fist of the North Star from the anime movie that was released back in the early 1980's. The anime was quite good and I really enjoyed the amount of violence and the attitude of the main character. It was always fun to watch Kenshiro describe what he just did to a rival with his finishing blow seconds before their demise at his hands. Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage actually has that type of feel to it. The game plays almost exactly like what I would expect a Fist of the North Star game to play like.
Ken's Rage plays much like a Dynasty Warriors or Devil Kings/Sengoku Basara overall. The Dynasty Warriors style of gameplay is very fitting for the subject matter also. Fist of the North Star is known for pitting one man against a group of several attackers which all lead up to a battle with a single more powerful enemy eventually and that is exactly the way that Ken's Rage plays. The game isn't really about racking up kills (1,000 kill combos) like a Dynasty Warriors - the enemies have smarter AI than the normal Dynasty Warriors game, so they can group up and provide more of a challenge than other games that play like Dynasty Warriors. The game has two main modes of play. There is a Legend mode and a Dream mode.
The Legend mode follows the storyline of the original manga. From the beginning, a player can only pick Kenshiro, but the player will be able to unlock more characters while progressing through Kenshiro's story. Ken will have to fight through several waves of enemies per stage and ultimately reach the stage's boss for the final showdown that ends that chapter. A player can choose to perform specific objectives in each stage in order to get bonuses per stage based on how many extra tasks were performed. The stages usually last about an hour each. Kenshiro has a total of 14 chapters. The other playable characters have around 3 or 5 episodes each (it varies depending on the character).
Legend mode is more about advancement through a series of stages while accomplishing a few objectives along the way, but Dream mode changes the style of gameplay into more of a Dynasty Warriors type play. In Dream mode, a player must take control of a character and fight through enemy camps and defeat enemy leaders in order to boost the moral of their army and lower the moral of the opposing army. Dream mode has a few of the characters from Legend mode along with some new unlockable characters such as Shin and Jagi. Dream mode has a storyline that is not taken from the manga or anime - it's completely unique. It tells the story of what goes on in between some events in Legend mode.
Characters that can be used in both modes of play all feel very unique. They all use one of three different fighting styles - Hokuto Shinken, Nanto Seiken and a Special type of fighting style. Just because one character uses Hokuto Shinken doesn't mean that the character plays exactly like another Hokuto user. Both Hokuto and Nanto styles all give some very pleasing violence that is delivered to your attackers once they are finished off with certain moves.