STAFF REVIEW of Fist of the North Star: Kens Rage (Xbox 360)


Monday, November 15, 2010.
by Ken Laffrenier

Fist of the North Star: Kens Rage     Box art Okay, so stop me if youve heard this oneThe entire world has grown to a point that nuclear annihilation is a foregone conclusion. Following said annihilation; the human race is not eradicated but merely recast as marauders and scavengers, surviving off the weaknesses of others. As the world continues to crumble, self-serving gangs rise up to lead through fear and decimation. Then out of the desert, begging for water walks our savior. The savior has long been herald as the one to bring order to the chaos, light to the dark, peace to the unjust. But peace comes at a price, and many are not predisposed to hearing the error of their ways. So, when words alone will not atone, then the fortitude of the savior will eliminate all who will not be awakened to justice in this new world.

The concept is not a new one, but the myriad of offerings weve had over the years is vast. From movies to music, books to video games, the post apocalyptic hero is a common figure across all genres, for better or worse (cough, Waterworld, ahem).

Now, what if I told you your next experience in this type of realm could be rounded out with a hero that can produce a flurry of punches unrivaled in many video games; that you would be surrounded by 20, 30, 50 bad guys and easily come out on top; that you would repeatedly accost the same bunch of overmatched enemies (even though you witnessed their bodily explosion resulting in a bloody mess)? And what if, after all is said and done you still would have no understanding of the overall story? If this all seems like something you might be interested in then you are either A) a fan of the Dynasty Warrior mythos or B) completely lacking in the ability to differentiate an engaging video game and the mindless button masher that is Fist of the North Star: Kens Rage.


From Japanese game publisher Koei and developed by Omega Force, Fist of the North Star: Kens Rage (FNS:KR) is presented as a stylized, brawler spin-off of the Dynasty Warriors franchise. Fans of the series will be pleased to hear that Koei and Omega Force have joined forces, once again, to expand upon the unique series of games. Throughout the game it is abundantly clear that the developers understand the source material but, just as being too close to an issue can cloud the solution, such is the case of FNS:KRthe developers never take that time to draw in new followers, relying instead on the following of its fan base.

Visually the game is faithful to its Manga/Anime roots and the designers clearly have a gaming background. Much of the brushstroke coloring can be a little disorienting considering most of the set pieces are designed with an ancient city aesthetic but this is a minor point really. The graphics of the character interactions are the star of the game. All of the visuals as they relate to fighting are fantastic. Whether it be unleashing a volley of powerful strikes, letting loose one of the powered strikes or performing any of the signature moves, you can tell that a great deal of time went into making these scenes stand out.

Unfortunately, that is where the wow factor ends. This isnt to say that its a bad game, on a scale of time wasters this title stood its ground but without being a fan of the series the game is forgettable.


The sound harkens back to many of the genres roots, English speaking voiceovers done on parts that clearly make more sense in the language it was designed for; endless guitar riffs that are meant to heighten the anticipation but instead become noise; even the initially satisfying kakakakakakakakakakakakaka of Kushiros attack is quickly reduced to nails on chalkboard. The first few minutes into this game I was actually enjoying some of the sounds; theyre certainly something new for me and being out of place seemed almost kitschy. However, the repetition quickly drew me out of any initial enjoyment.

Building on the repetition aspect, lets review the controls and gameplay. The gameplay is very straight forward as you advance into a relatively small area, defeat the droves of baddies be thrown at you and this will open up another small area. Then you repeat until finally, and seemingly out of nowhere, you come upon the boss battle. The boss battle is a welcome relief as, by now you realize, youve been taking out the same 6-8 AI characters over and over. The saving grace is that you dont care enough to look at them while you beat them to a pulp. The boss battles at least have you taking on a proper match up. While not particularly challenging you will have to seek out the Achilles heel of the characters and playing out some of the games more refined combat visuals are showcased during these boss battles.


For me the controls were the biggest disappointment I experienced. I am not a button masher and while I did grow to enjoy the unique combat visuals there were way too many control issues to make it a worthy trade off. The frustration began with the combos themselves, way too often I would start a combo only to miss the enemy for the satisfying end move or I would be sidelined by a different enemy while my character performed yet another finishing move(see: lame pose). Some enemies I could hit once and they would grotesquely expand before exploding in a wash of blood but when I meet up with them again (limited character models) they would take a number of hits before striking back in the middle of a combo. When you take out a bad guy you would collect karma/skill pointsthese points can be used to level up different moves and unlock specific strikes.but it just meant more button mashing and more frustration.

The game does feature different modes of play and will allow you to experience some of these modes with new characters but overall, even after more than 5 hours of play, I had no desire to see the game through to the end, theres only so many times Im willing to watch a leather clad, Mohawk styling, motorbike riding, bat wielding punk get reduced to a puddle of mush(1802 times actually, then Im calling it a day).

To the fans of the series I wish you well and appreciate your support of this niche market, but without a more refined story Im still not convinced that the Dynasty Warrior franchise is ever destined for mainstream markets.




Overall: 5.4 / 10
Gameplay: 5.2 / 10
Visuals: 5.9 / 10
Sound: 5.2 / 10

Comments

Latest News








See News Archives

Top Community Gamerscores

1. Variation-XBA - 105,891
2. Enamelized420-XBA - 50,400
3. Silent-XBA - 43,142
4. oryanphine - 38,466
5. Kamshaft-XBA - 35,764
6. Kiesey78 - 18,238
7. Striker Qc - 14,711
8. pierrevincy - 3,220
9. AloneInTheDark -
10. Motoko -
11. No Fear 23 -

Community Forum Activity

Any classic XBOX fans here?
Post by Benish
1 Replies, 95 Views

Sunset Overdrive Playdate Tuesday Dec 16th 8PM EST
Post by Kiesey78
0 Replies, 132 Views

Halo: Master Chief Collection 8Pm Est tomorrow night
Post by Kiesey78
0 Replies, 219 Views

Jv le mag, sortons le grand jeu, un nouveau magazine de jeux vidos
Post by oryanphine
0 Replies, 348 Views

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare ( Xbox One ) Tuesday night 8pm Est
Post by Kiesey78
0 Replies, 383 Views

Xbox One Gta V Rockstar custom a gagner
Post by oryanphine
0 Replies, 423 Views

Starting to loose maps for COD:Black ops 2
Post by Calsolmar
0 Replies, 460 Views

Galante Crime Family recruiting for Xbox Live
Post by 20dgalante
0 Replies, 439 Views

Destiny Tuesday 8Pm Est
Post by Kiesey78
0 Replies, 441 Views

Halo Master Chief Collection Tuesday 8Pm Est.
Post by Kiesey78
0 Replies, 550 Views

A question about a faceplate
Post by MichaelK91
2 Replies, 807 Views

New xbox one advanced warfare clan recruiting.
Post by xrag3r7
0 Replies, 655 Views

Xbox One Edition Limite
Post by oryanphine
1 Replies, 697 Views

Halo.
Post by Whoopage
1 Replies, 622 Views

In review, Microsoft xbox had some great games
Post by lllSmokelll
2 Replies, 813 Views

Site Statistics

Registered Members: 58,459
Forum Posts: 739,154
Xbox One Titles: 78
Xbox 360 Titles: 1,082
Xbox 360 Kinect Titles: 95
Xbox 360 Arcade Titles: 583
Xbox Titles: 847
Staff Reviews: 1,323
Member Reviews: 10,339
News Articles: 12,528
Screenshots: 27,399
Xbox 360 Achievements: 45,112
Xbox 360 Faceplates: 2,016
Cheat Codes: 1,706
© 2000-2014 XboxAddict.com - All rights reserved. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft. XboxAddict.com is not affiliated with Microsoft.

Made in Canada
Site Design by Cameron Graphics