Fist of the North Star tells a tale that is definitely worth playing through. The game sticks very closely to the original source material which has more than proven its strength as one of the premier stories in the history of anime. Fans of the series will undoubtedly love reliving the events of the story firsthand through Kenshiro and the other characters. Even those gamers who may not be fans should find their selves sucked into the tale that is told by the game. In addition to the original story arc presented by the game, players also have access to a Dream Mode which tells a completely new and original story through the eyes of multiple selectable characters. The Dream Mode also supports multiplayer by allowing 2 players to play cooperative on a split screen. There is a ton of ground to cover considering the expansive roster of characters that are unlocked as the game progresses through each mode. Playing through the various modes also unlocks different assets and features in the game’s art gallery and encyclopedia, which will teach them more about the Fist of the North Star universe including in-depth character profiles and information regarding the anime.
All of this content and story is wrapped around an extremely satisfying gameplay and attack system. Unlike many games of the same genre (3rd person beat’em up like Dynasty Warriors), Fist of the North Star is anything but a fast-paced, button masher. Players who come into the game expecting to succeed by simply mashing on the attack buttons constantly will find their selves frustrated and annoyed with unresponsive gameplay. I spent my first hour or so of the game facing this very frustration as I figured that strategy would more than suffice my needs to survive in the game. It wasn’t until I realized that the focus of the game was on slow and methodical attacks that I began to appreciate all that it had to offer. Ken’s Rage features a very fluid and methodical attack system that allows players to direct their attacks at enemies all around the environment and to methodically plan and execute their offense on the go. If you take the time to learn the various strings of combos and moves that transition into one another, you can wreak never ending streaks of devastation on the enemies... who will then explode from the inside out in a ridiculously satisfying, glory manner. It will take patience and practice as well as an evolution of your character(s) to reach that point though, but the ride ther eis completely satisfying.
To get the most out of the game, players will need to put in both the time and effort to learn the ins and outs of their chosen fighting style which is based on their selected character. Sometimes brute force isn’t the only way to win a battle but you will never know that if all that you do is pound on the attack buttons. Players will also need to learn that the environment is their for your benefit as well. Many aspects of the game’s levels are destructible or interactive in some manner or another. The best use for it though is to send your enemies flying into the various buildings and barricades when you got the chance; not only is this effective in lowering their energy a lot quicker than basic attacks, but you will also be rewarded with additional karma which will in turn lead to faster leveling and growth of your character.
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