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Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2

by Guillaume Veillette - February 26, 2013, 5:04 pm PST
Total comments: 9


It's common sense: stay clear of the guy who makes people explode.

Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2 aims to bring to life every bit of the comic it is based on. It tells the story of Kenshiro, an adept of a certain martial arts technique that allows him to do anything to people (from healing, to making them speak the truth, to exploding... but mostly exploding) by hitting pressure points on their bodies. In a merciless post-nuclear apocalypse world where big muscles make the law, Kenshiro uses his skills to protect the weak and innocent.

It is not a complicated story, and while some chapters explore Kenshiro's past and relationships with certain characters, most are simply about him liberating yet another town from yet another band of thugs led by yet another jerk who is somehow not intimidated by the guy who makes people explode with a touch. We see these events unfold in well-done motion comic-style cut scenes, but there are so many of them with so little substance that they become an annoyance. Even the villains with connections to Kenshiro's past turn out to be uninteresting; ultimately, they are just the same as the other nameless idiots you took down in previous chapters. The effort displayed in translating the integrality of the story to a game is impressive but misguided, and the whole thing could have used some editing.

Something also seems to have gone awry during the mission design of Ken's Rage 2. The game is based on the Dynasty Warriors template in which you mow down wave after wave of fist fodder enemies, which offer no resistance whatsoever, to build your Aura meter and unleash a special attack on foes that actually fight back. The problem is, the latter are not only extremely rare, but are also just unsatisfying to fight. Just throw a punch or two to make sure they are not blocking your attacks, press the A button to do a special move, and watch as Kenshiro pummels him. Do this once or twice, and he's done. These enemy "captains" show up infrequently; as a result, you mostly end up mowing down guys with no payoff.

Some, not all, chapters end with an actual boss, and some of those, not all, are actually fun to fight. You have to anticipate their attacks and counter effectively instead of mindlessly mashing the same combo over and over. In other words, they act as what would be regular enemies in any other action game.

And then you have one or two encounters with larger-than-life bosses, titans over three stories tall. But while they may be impressive after fighting a bunch of enemies your own size, the effect quickly fades once you realize just how much of their life bar simple quick time events take away. And even then, that's only when the game asks you to be quick about it: in many cases, it prompts you to press a button and gives you all the time in the world to do so. "Press A to trigger an uplifting guitar riff and watch Kenshiro give some jerk what's coming to him,” basically. I'm no fan of QTEs, but when a game misses their use, that's a bad sign.

The game has a secondary mode in which missions seem better planned and bosses more plentiful, but you have to play the main mode to unlock most of it. These missions are not worth the hours of tedium.

The bloody legacy of Fist of the North Star could have yielded a satisfying, violent melee action game, but intrusive and uninteresting cut scenes, neutered enemies, and repetitious combat make Ken's Rage 2 an exercise in tedium instead. You cannot win against Kenshiro, so just do what his enemies should have, and avoid him.


  • The "motion comics" cut scenes are well done and present the material in a good light.
  • Every insignificant piece of the story is included.
  • The combat is shallow, and one combo can get you way too far.
  • The cut scenes become increasingly intrusive and repetitive.
  • The game is plagued with poor frame rate, janky animations, enemies that appear out of thin air.


pokepal148February 26, 2013

i think he just rushed it so he could put this out before the game consumed him

negative_zeroFebruary 27, 2013

Guillaume's Rage.

PlugabugzFebruary 27, 2013

Quote from: negative_zero

Guillaume's Rage.

Fist of the Canadian Star: Guillame's Rage.

That isn't The Lindemann

Quote from: Plugabugz

Quote from: negative_zero

Guillaume's Rage.

Fist of the Canadian Star: Guillame's Rage.

That isn't The Lindemann

That would be the Fist of the Great White North Star.

Fatty The HuttFebruary 27, 2013

Sounds a bit like God of War. Do you like God of War, Guillaume?

TJ SpykeFebruary 27, 2013

Based on what i've read and heard about the game, I think I would enjoy it if I found a used copy for $10 but not something I would be willing to pay $64.80 for.

Quote from: Fatty_The_Hutt

Sounds a bit like God of War. Do you like God of War, Guillaume?

Oh, it's not like GoW at all. I mean, I know that action game veterans like to say that in GoW you can get through hordes of enemies by button mashing, but it's really not comparable. In GoW they do fight back, in this game they mostly just stand there. GoW also has a sense of spectacle that this game lacks. And Ken's Rage 2 doesn't look nearly as good as any GoW game. The screenshots we have for the game are all pretty much misleading, so I chose two that I think most accurately represent the game: shot of biiiig muscles.

I liked GoW2, but the rest of the series has left me cold.

To anyone looking for a game more of GoW's caliber on the Wii U, I would have to recommend Ninja Gaiden 3.

Fatty The HuttFebruary 27, 2013

Thanks for the GOW compare/contrast. It helps.

KDR_11kFebruary 27, 2013

It's dynasty warriors, the mooks are punching bags. The two mainline Warriors games I've played never insisted that you should fight the mooks though, from what I've seen Ken's Rage loves its "kill X mooks to continue" objectives. In other games they're just set dressing or something you farm for super gauge.

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Genre Action
Developer Koei Tecmo Games

Worldwide Releases

na: Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2
Release Feb 07, 2013
jpn: Shin Hokuto Musou
Release Jan 31, 2013
PublisherKoei Tecmo Games
eu: Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2
Release Feb 07, 2013
PublisherKoei Tecmo Games
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