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Fist of the North Star:
Ken's Rage

XBox 360, Playstation 3

Reviewed on: XBox 360

Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6
view user comments (0)
User Rating: 6

Look, I'm not about to lie to anyone - I know little to nothing about the source material for Koei Tecmo's new platformer, beat ‘em up Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage. After playing it, I'm still not sure - I just know there's a lot of gruesome fingertips.

Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage plays like a much more violent and bloody clone of Dynasty Warriors. It's stylish, beautifully rendered, and you're going to punch a lot of people. How much you'll enjoy it and its longevity though, depend on just how big of a fan you are of the source material, and the formula.

As said above, Ken's Rage will feel very familiar to anyone who's spent any amount of quality time with the Warriors series. For those uninitiated, you take on swarm after swarm of identical enemies, the only difference here is that each kill is insanely satisfying. Each punch, kick, and combo carries a very distinct weight, which is very important to a game like this. Another great addition here is that the game doesn't rely on a clunky button mashing combo system, favoring instead a very familiar charge meter. Again, it's insanely fun and satisfying to rip into a sea of enemies with a charged attack and watch the bloody mess unfold.

" of the most beautifully violent games in recent memory."


And unfold it will. Ken's Rage is easily one of the most beautifully violent games in recent memory. Using everything from swords to guns and even your fists, you're going to fill enemies' bodies full of holes and even explode a few skulls. Perhaps quite strangely, the excessive violence fits almost perfectly with the on screen action to form a unique rhythm that few games feature. It's not uncommon to find yourself getting lost within the demented artistic vision of Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage.

As unique as that rhythm is, it can also be one of the game's biggest downfalls, especially when something comes along to stop it. It can be a bit jarring when you're fighting through a crowd of bad guys, slicing and dicing - only to be confronted with a quicktime event that completely changes the flow of the game. Now, quicktime events aren't always bad, but here, they never seem to fit in with what's going on in the game, and feel tacked on. Along the same lines, many of the boss fights (which also feature quicktime events in many cases) are absurdly easy. During my play through, I never had to try more than once to defeat any of the bosses.

You're likely to spend the bulk of your time with Ken's Rage in either the Legend or Dream modes. Legend mode is a retelling of the entire Fist of the North Star saga. It's quite linear and offers very little chance to veer from the path the developers want you to take. Dream mode on the other hand is the complete opposite, focusing on smaller, lesser known characters, and offering a bit of variation and imagination. There's much more longevity in the Dream mode, but fans are sure to appreciate both.

"...a ton of awesome effects, hundreds of enemies and cool animations..."


More often than not, there's a lot going on with Ken's Rage, including a ton of awesome effects, hundreds of enemies and cool animations, and the game holds up quite well with each of them. In fact, some of the textures and animations in the game, specifically in the characters and their animations are downright stunning. You may notice a bit of slow down during some of the heavier sections, but it's excusable when the other aspects of the game perform so well.

Fans of the Fist of the North Star series are sure to love the fan service and pure, unadulterated action found in Ken's Rage. Those, like me who aren't as familiar with it will at least find the excessive violence novel enough for a play through. Just watch out for those quicktime events. 



CHEATS USED: Achievements/Trophies Lists, Unlockables

Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage features a ton of bonus content that can be unlocked by completing tasks in the game. There's everything from new modes to new characters and costumes - there just aren't any cheats to get them..yet.

It may sound a bit overkill, but I'd love a cheat for even more blood. Why not go all out? Invincibility would help too.



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