Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage (also known as “Hokuto Musou”) is “yet” another Warriors game (as you can read from most reviews), but instead of focusing on Chinese or Japanese history, or Gundam universe, this one is based on Tetsuo Hara’s manga – Hokuto no Ken (also known as “Fist of the North Star” in overseas.) – And this is my favourite trailer!
HOW IT BEGAN?
There was a survey done in Japan asking all human beings that know Japanese about what “Musou” (“Musou” is basically Warriors franchise, but in Japan) games they’re after and “Hokuto no Ken” came in the first place – I think after some sort of considerations, this project has put into the list. Not that I knew everything from the behind the scenes but it seems like the way it came. This actually shows a good side of TECMO KOEI that actually does listen to the fans.
DURING THE DEVELOPMENT
When I saw the demo a year ago, I was amazed on the idea (and yeah I’m still happy for the final outcome – not as excited as what I first saw though) especially on the destruct-able environments with massive about of bitches’ blood spreading around – I love it! Don’t mean to sound too awful for myself here but the Kenshiro I saw before, he has nipples in that version (LOL, but it got removed in the final version – I think maybe that’s because it has to stay as close as the manga?) – Enough for this unnecessary shits, let’s go back to the main stuffs. Yes, the main keyword for this title is “Action & Violence” (action with the feel of weight, new death and destruct-able visuals) with visually and acoustically appealing quality with the new visual of North Star created by TECMO KOEI. (Yes I’m just copying that line of sentence, you know my English isn’t that fancy – come on man, I’m just a foul, revolting little oik and you know it!)
TO THE PUBLIC
Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage was first revealed with the teaser during Tokyo Game Show 2009 with this (well if you could still remember this teaser) with the press conference held on October 14th, 2009 and it went pretty hyper especially for those diehard Fist of the North Star fans, especially the Italian fans – they know what Kenshiro is all about! ATATATATATATATATATATA WATTA, that’s it! (Damn I was trying to avoid using that or the quote but I’ve used it…)
THE TOUR BEGINS
As for Europe, we started our Fist of the North Star cosplay tour around March at Cartoomics in Italy and at London Expo in London (of course) and the press events at the end of September in both France and Italy. In case you missed out, here are some recaps. It has Tetsuo Hara talking to there too showing off his gold Kenshiro statue (and man he does look young than what I’ve expected!)
CHANGES IN DEVELOPMENT
This is actually the first time, the first time that the development team actually took some suggestions to vary the gore levels, adding new animations, an extra tutorial stage and the voice options at the end of the development for the English version, which made it different than the Japanese version that released 8 months ago (Well you can get Hokuto Musou: International if you want more blood in Japanese) – It’s the first time that happened and I’m happy for that, happy that they’re listening from fans’ demands, happy that they put more effort into this, happy that I’m a part of it.
INTERVIEW WITH THE PRODUCER
I’ve been sent to Japan to meet the team and I had a talk with the producer, Mr. Hisashi Koinuma (he’s an awesome guy, I dyed my hair to ginger now because of him – he’s such an inspiration!) but for some scheduling reasons, the video has been cancelled in production (but don’t worry, you didn’t miss out much.) In the interview, he told me how and why he made this game (basically I’ve already told you from the text above) and how he likes the Fist of the North Star universe, and his favourite Fist of the North Star’s character, which is… Toki! (Now you got that exclusive from me, he hasn’t told anyone yet – and no one asked him in the interview too – P/S: I’m awesome!)
INTERVIEW WITH THE FANS
Not just had a talk with the producer, we also listened to the fans on what they think about the game, and fulfilled them too (like the gore level) and put it into the final production. Check some of these videos out. Not to mention the craziest fan out there who bought 2 copies of JP version of the game, 2 copies of NA, 2 copies of EU version with a soundtrack (Honourable mention: Lee Shellum, the fucking craziest one I’ve met in my life!)
For more, please check: TKE Vodcast @ http://youtube.com/tkevodcast
ACTIVITIES WITH THE FANS
We also had some activities with the fans online via our social networking channels: (Facebook) http://facebook.com/koeigames and (Twitter) http://twitter.com/tecmokoeieurope – You so need to get involved in this community guys, I bet you would be smiling every day and your life would definitely changed after this. Okay, let’s cut the crap. Here we have a video showing the treasure box of game and a video of fans giving us the loves right through from their hearts.
THE GAME IS OUT
Right, the game is out now and it’s doing pretty well, especially in Italy. We hit no.2 on the PlayStation 3 chart, no.3 on the Xbox 360 chart and no.4 on multi-platform at the first week.
There are 7 packs of downloadable content for English version. Kenshiro, Rei + Mamiya + Raoh, Heart, Outlaw, Toki and Shin + Thouzer (some are with missions) – for more information, please check the official site @ http://www.kensrage.com or if you hate heavy flash loading site, just go to the product page @ http://koei.co.uk/viewgame/?gid=92
AND NOW… REVIEWING THE GAME – “GET FIST OR GET FISTED!”
Talking about the graphic first. It’s beautiful, of course it’s not as perfect as the other next-gen games, but this is beautiful and it’s good to see they keep it really close to the characters of the series. The characters have been redesigned but you can get the original manga costume via downloadable content. When you started the game, you might be asked to turn gore level on and off as well as the difficulty settings. SWITCH THE FUCKING BLOOD / GORE FEATURE ON PLEASE! The blood feature is amazing, enemies die in different ways (exploding, slicing into pieces) based on character we use) and the cut scenes are simply beautiful.
Now back to the game itself. Two main modes for the game, LEGEND MODE and DREAM MODE. LEGEND MODE tells you the original story of Fist of the North Star, and DREAM MODE is the mode you can play at any stage with any character (you can have 2 players in this stage) – you have to clear LEGEND MODE to unlock DREAM MODE though so you can play it freely and with 2 players (here you see, it’s already a minus point granted.) There is a CHALLENGE MODE where you can clear certain missions and put your result online for ranking (meh.)
There are 8 playable characters in the game: Kenshiro, Mamiya, Rei, Raoh, Toki, Jagi, Shin and Thouzer. But if you have more money, you can make it to 10 playable characters – Yes, the downloadable content that unlocks 2 more characters: Hearts and Outlaw (You might probably get them if you pre-ordered the game.) There are 3 types of character: Hokuto (for example: Kenshiro, which you have to use a proper Strong attacks), Nanto (for example: Rei, press certain button when it appears to perform a more powerful Timely Strike) and Special (for example: Mamiya – nice ass, her play style is really different, she uses projectile charge attack, that is why she’s categorized as in Special.)
There are more in-depths for each character, they are all unique and have multiple Musou finishers. Each character has their own Signature Moves, you can choose and equip 4 of them and select them with the directional buttons during battle. Besides that, you can use the Hyper Signature Moves when you activated your spirit aura, which enemy cannot block your attacks, your attack strength and range increase and focus gauge is easier to fill when you use that. There are some other actions you can use depending to the situation such as grabbing some shit stuffs, throwing at your enemies and climb too – check this out. YES, YOU HAVE A VERY NICE ENVIRONMENT INTERACTIONS! YOU CAN RIDE MOTORCYCLES TOO LMFAO!!!
Talking about the AIs, of course they have to be dumb enough for you to have fun making them exploded. But the only down side here is the lack of focus button, for example if I want to kill certain boss, it doesn’t get focused when I’m using my Hokuto’s “Hundred Crack Fist” – A little tip that you might not know, press L1+L3 buttons (PS3 version) at the same time for the Taunt Attack and it makes you feel so much fun when you’re using your Musou attack!
About the stage design, unlike other Warriors titles, the stages of this game are mostly huge. It takes around 30-45 minutes to complete, but it does have an Auto Save features so if you get killed by a boss at the half way, you’re safe to carry on from your last save point.
Talking about the music of the game, it’s not all heavy (you have some soft bits like “Accepted Fate” too) but it’s based on the hard rock settings. Highly recommended 5 tracks from Insp. Chin: Time of Fate, Hurry On, Cliff of Hatred, Core of Grief and Ai Wo Torimodose.
So, would I like the game if I have no single idea what the hell Fist of the North Star is all about?
– Yes. There’s a connection and interaction with a good story telling feature to tell you the story from the very beginning. And if you know this anime or manga series, you know the answer for sure!
So, would I hurt my finger or controller while playing this game? It’s because I broke my controller when I played previous Dynasty Warriors series.
– Cut this crap off and play it properly with more knowledge, be smart and learn the combo, not just spamming on the single button! This is not just Square-whore or X-whore game, it’s the game that you appreciate the combo, enjoy leveling up your characters, getting their costumes break (so you see some cleavage and enjoy the game.) So if you know how to read well and understand the combo system, you would never hurt your finger or break your controller for this one (but I have to admit I broke my finger on Dynasty Warriors 6, but that’s because of “Renbu” system that only uses one single button, but this one is a total different story!)
Well I have to be honest that there are some points you might need to know. The game isn’t run as fast as usual Warriors games, you might think it’s boring and not fun in the beginning with the starting movesets (not until you level up your character, it turns out to be fucking wicked!). There’s no “Lock-on” button so it’s not that easy to aim the boss when launching your Signature Move attack. Not all stories are covered. And no online co-op.
So, should I get this game?
“GET FIST OF GET FISTED” – that is all.
GAME SCORE: 8/10 (Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage)
INSIDER SCORE: 9/10(The journey, activities, awareness, retention and the integrity as an insider myself been through and involving in this project.) – I give it 9 out of 10 because I’ve been involved this in most activities without some interruptions working on the other titles, it is very productive!