The manliest man in all of anime and manga is back to rain down his rage once again. As with every Temo Koei Dynasty Warriors inspired game, it was inevitable that Fist of the North Star would receive a sequel, which in this case is Fist of the North Star Ken’s Rage 2. One would think that since the first game only covered half of the source material, the sequel would cover the second half. This isn’t the case as Tecmo Koei has decided to do a “do over” and start the game from scratch.
Locations Pulled Straight From the Anime/Manga - While the first game followed the events of the anime and manga, most of the locations didn’t match up to what was happening during a scene. A prime example is when Ken first makes an appearance in Bat and Rin’s village. In the first game, he just wanders in and starts to blow up enemies’ heads with Hokoto no Ken. In Ken’s Rage 2 however the scenes where Ken collapse in their village, the raiders invading and Ken escaping the holding cell by bending the bars are all played out. This gives this version of the game a greater feel of being inside of the anime. Now speaking of the manga.
Includes Second Half of Anime/Manga - In the first Ken’s Rage, the game ended at the Raoh story arc. Ken had finally found his love and now had to face his “brother” in order to become the rightful successor to Hokoto no Ken. With Ken’s Rage 2, the game covers the second half of the anime/manga, which includes the Celestial Emperor and Land of Shura story arcs. To repeat what has just been said earlier, this gives a greater feel of being inside the world of the series, plus it’s great to see the second half of the franchise come to life in video game form.
New Playable Characters With Umproved Story Modes - With the addition of the second half of Fist of the North Star to Ken’s Rage 2 comes new playable characters to use. The new characters span from the first half of the anime/manga to the Celestial Emperor and Land of Shura story arcs. These new characters include the adult versions of Bat and Lin from the Celestial Emperor arc, Yuda and Fudo from the first game many others Just as in the first game, the new characters will have their own storylines in Legendary mode while in dream mode players will be able to take control of them during events where Ken isn’t the main focus.
Proper Versus and Co-op Modes - While the first game didn’t have a co-op or multiplayer, Ken’s Rage 2 fixes that by adding in the co-op and vs. modes. Co-op is standard fare, complete missions or objectives in the time given or defeat a set amount of enemies. As for versus, the game takes a page out of Dynasty Warriors and pits two “generals” against each other to try to take over the other’s base. Then there’s the 1v1 fighting game style mode that harkens back to the PS2 fighting game. It’s finally great to have these kinds of mode, fighting each other to see who the true successor of Hokoto no Ken is between friends.
SHOULD HAVE STAYED DEAD
Should Have Been What the First Game Was -The common problem that sequels such as Ken’s Rage 2 have is that sometimes there isn’t enough content added to make the game feel new. They also tend to rehash the same assists that were used in the previous game, use the same plot and use the same game engine in addition to new content. All this is then passed off as an entirely new game. Now, it would have worked for Ken’s Rage 2, if not for the fact that the entire first game is included. Ken’s Rage 2 is what the first Ken’s Rage should have been and not a “re-do”. Features that are in Ken’s Rage 2, such as the co-op and vs. modes, are things that should have been in the first game to begin with.
Plagued by Same Problems From the Last Game- Again, when developers reuse all of the assets from the previous game and call it a sequel, the problems that were in that first version of the game will most likely end up in the sequel. Ken’s Rage 2 suffers from all of the same problems that the first game had: AI problems with NPCs and enemies, no lock on, poor maps, bad cameras, etc. It even gained new problems such as erratic difficulty spikes and dated graphics. I understand that assets get reused in order to save money just as the Dragon Ball Z fighting games of the last gen were guilty of this practice. But whereas the DBZ devs changed up the fighting system and the ascetics with each iteration, the Ken’s Rage 2 devs didn’t really change anything or improve on the current system used. That right there is very lazy and a bit disrespectful not just to the fans of the source material but to the source material itself.
As a fan of the anime and the manga, it’s always great to see Ken get the limelight once again in world where new anime heroes are making their names known. What’s not so great is his latest outing. I don’t think I can even call Ken’s Rage 2 latest outing since it’s the exact same game with the second part of the anime/manga added on, new characters and new features. If Tecmo Koei was just going to take the first game, slap on some new stuff and call it a sequel, the least they could do was not make the same problems that were in the first game in this one.
If you’re a hardcore fan of Fist of the North Star and had missed out on the first game, just get Ken’s Rage 2 instead. You won’t be missing much since it’s basically the first game anyways. As for everyone else I don’t want to say skip it, it’s not that bad of a game. Give it either a rental or try out the demo.
*This review was based on the PS3 version of the game with a review code provided by the publisher.*