Electronic Theatre Preview: Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2

Tecmo Koei Europe are set to kick-off a year of new releases with the arrival of Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 next month, and are intending on making waves with the launch. Arriving a day early on Wii U – and available […]
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Tecmo Koei Europe are set to kick-off a year of new releases with the arrival of Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 next month, and are intending on making waves with the launch. Arriving a day early on Wii U – and available via digital distribution only – the publisher clearly has designs on turning heads, that they’re doing it with a videogame that would be considered a strictly ‘core’ gamer experience adds even more credence to the determination to get noticed.

While the release of the videogame is an important factor in Tecmo Koei Europe’s plan for the future, more important for the gamers is the actual gameplay. In that respect many gamers will already know what they’re letting themselves in for with Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2: the core mechanics remain as solid here as ever they were in Omega Force’s current-generation offerings. The key differences lie in the content that surrounds the action.

Playing as the titular Kenshiro, Electronic Theatre was able to enjoy two levels in the preview build of Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2. The first, ‘Zeed Attack,’ prepared the player for the basic combat structure: an array of basic combo options building towards the execution of a special attack. Special attacks are selected on the D-Pad, with three available in this demonstration (far more are expected in the final version. It’s clear that the special attacks have had a significant overhaul in the time since the original Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage, now fine-tuned to accommodate both wide angled multi-enemy attacks and single-impact high damage blows on stronger foes. No longer is it a simple case of using a special attack on a boss because it’ll do more damage; players will actively anticipate the chance to execute a manoeuvre to gain the upper hand in a fight.

Upon defeating the boss, via the return of the strangely enjoyable quick-time entry (QTE) sequences that featured in the first title, the player is treated to some story progression. A mixture of CGI and comic book style panels offer cutscenes that build the plot and then crash down at the moments of climatic action; if Omega Force can pull this off for the duration of the entire videogame Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 will have a storyline that’s delivered in a fashion that’s as enjoyable as the visceral combat.

Thankfully there’s enough story content to make Omega Force’s creative investment worthwhile. Not only does Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 feature the entirety of the original manga storyline but also a series of additional storylines designed to fill in some of the gaps. Furthermore, Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 also includes the brand new episode featuring Bat and Rin. While this addition hasn’t yet been seen by Electronic Theatre we have been reliably informed that this brand new addition – adapted into a videogame for the first time – will add hours of original content to the videogame rather than just being a side attraction of little worth.

Set for release next month, Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 is looking ready to kick-off Tecmo Koei Europe’s 2013 in style. A respectably experimental launch and a welcome return of a beloved franchise, Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 would surely be deemed a success regardless of whether or not it improved on the gameplay of the original title. Thankfully, however, it would seem that this was the development team’s key priority: Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage was a wholly enjoyable scrolling beat-‘em-up experience, and Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 looks set to do everything bigger, bolder and better.

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