Rise of the Kasai Review

Rise of the Kasai, despite the decided lack of a Roman numeral after its name, is a sequel to The Mark of Kri. The game opens with the death of the original gameís hero, Rau. What follows is a time-hopping adventure in which you try to unravel the events leading up to Rauís death in an attempt to change his fate. Youíll play through two simultaneous but related storylines, one set twenty years in the past and one in more recent times, and youíll need to give the game a lot of patience as it attempts to tie it all together into something that ultimately tries to make at least a little sense. If youíre a story-be-damned-I-just-want-to-kill type, then fear not as the game will give you ample opportunity to slay (itís good to keep your type thoroughly occupied after all). The levels set in the past feature two playable characters, Rauís trainer Baumusu and the geriatric and appropriately named Griz. The other levels allow you to play as Rau or his sister Tati, who was no doubt teased mercilessly in junior high. In addition to her misfortunate naming, Tati entered the world with the Mark of Kri, a mysterious tattoo that turns all those bearing it to evil. A dark cult known as the Kasai wants Tati for its own nefarious purpose and youíll need to protect her from both the Kasai and her own dark fate. Oh, yeah, and keep Rau from being killed. Or did I mention that? All of this time jumping can get to be confusing at timesÖ

OK, you killer types still with us? Good. Nice killer. Keep reading. Itís good to keep readingÖ Rise of the Kasai delivers more beheadings than a Henry the Eighth group wedding and more amputations than Star Wars Episode III, and all within the first half hour of play. Itís all OK though, because it does so in a stylized animated fashion, kind of like what Kill Bill would have been if it was made by Disney. Waves of enemies attack and you hack, chop, and slice them up with the variety of weapons at the disposal of each character. To attack an enemy you use the right analog stick to send out a headlight-like beam that designates any enemies it encounters as targets. Targeted attackers have icons above their heads corresponding to the controller button to use to attack that enemy. See a guy with a circle above his head? OK, now stick with me here Ö push the circle button to attack him. If youíre carrying a larger weapon, you may even see a couple of enemies with the same icon at once signifying that you can hit them both with a single attack. You donít even have to line up your attack or correct your facing; as soon as you press the attack button your character will launch into the appropriate attack to hit the enemy. This makes for some very stylized combat and some amazing moves. It also makes for easy combat and removes the need for skill. You can launch into combos by hitting a sequence of buttons immediately after the initial attack button and the result is a multiple hit attack followed by a suitably gruesome death blow. However, thereís not much need to use them as it is just as effective, if not more so, to simply button mash your way through the enemy hordes. You have a block button as well, but I canít remember what it is. Iím not sure that I ever used it and in fact never really had to use it.

Come to think of it, I donít really remember dying that much at all or ever having much trouble with health. It is just too easy to mash buttons and then walk to the next battle over the corpses of your foes. The game might have been more challenging if your enemies had their heart in it, but it seems like they just donít care enough about their cause to really want to stop you. ďThis cult has become as empty and hollow as my useless life, please slay me so that my boredom will be at an end.Ē Sometimes they move around waiting for you to target them, sometimes they try and block your attacks, sometimes they even make an effort to harm you, but invariably they are quickly and efficiently sliced into pieces.