Microsoft Xbox 360 (PS3)
ESRB rating: Mature
Review rating: 1.5 stars
"Hakuto No Ken," better known as "Fist of the North Star," is the ultimate Japanese anime. It features over-the-top, uber-brawny pugilists with surrealistic powers fighting for control of a post-apocalyptic wasteland! With such cool source material, what could go wrong by turning it into a video game? Who knew the answer was "everything"?
Instead of confusing players with a new storyline, the developers have decided to retell the exact same tale from the first game. Sadly, the story is conveyed mostly through still images of characters with no actual animation, and there's no English voice-over this time around. That's not just a slap across the face to players of this full-priced game; it's more like a punch to the gut!
Just like the original title, this sequel features game play similar to that of "Dynasty Warriors." Players first choose a character, and then they venture out onto bland battlefields and slay thousands of boring enemies that all look and fight the same. Yawn! While the environments were mildly interesting in the first game, they've been dumbed-down for the sequel. Even more insulting is the fact that it seems like the developers literally copied visuals and fighting moves from the first game into the sequel.
Occasional battles against leaders provide more of a challenge than fighting the masses, and players can toss out a powerful signature move whenever their power meter is filled. Unfortunately, every character's combat abilities from the first game have been copied to the sequel with hardly any noticeable additions. The only difference I find is that boss fights require more dodging and frequent use of signature moves to defeat, which doesn't seem like an upgrade to me. At least there are a few new characters to play with.
Still, "Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2" is so bad on every level that I wouldn't even recommend it at half the price!