4cr Plays – Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2
It is the 30th anniversary of Fist of the North Star, and now you can celebrate by playing the story from the Manga on Wii U!
In Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 you will be able to enjoy a story mode directly based on the Manga (called Legend Mode in the game) with as much of the saga as they could cram into this download. As a tribute to the source material, most of the story is told in panels, and the voices are kept in Japanese with English subtitles. You will even get a chance to recreate the battles from the Manga during boss fights, and for fans of the series this is as good as it gets.
Gameplay is similar to the “Warriors” series since you will face several enemies at once over while being graded on your performance, and Ken’s Rage 2 takes a page from Final Fantasy II on the Famicom for the way it handles leveling up. As is the case with the Square Enix RPG, in Ken’s Rage 2 you will level up your Life, Aura, Attack, Defense and Technique parameters depending on how you attack and defend during combat. If you use regular attacks, your Attack stat will gain experience and eventually level up (while also giving you a temporary boost to your attack power as a bonus), and if you use signature moves to finish of enemies you will then gain Aura experience, all in real-time. What are signature moves you say? Each character has signature moves that relate to what they can do in the Manga, and you can unlock new ones by leveling up and improving your character. Once you’ve unlocked more than one signature move you can select them with the GamePad, and there is a handy radar in the upper left corner of the screen that lets you know what the range is for said move, and right next to it is your Aura bar and Aura stock which you spend to activate the move.
You can also improve your parameters by equipping scrolls that you can either find in chests while playing the game, or by purchasing a DLC bundle available at the eshop. Each scroll has a different level and active parameter icons and, depending on one and the other, you will get a lower or higher bump to your stats. You can equip up to 5 scrolls at anytime, and you can carry up to 21 with you in case you run into a specific situation that would be easier if you re-spec your character. On top of that, some scrolls bestow upon you an extra skill that will be activated right after you equip the scroll, and you can even link parameter boosts from scrolls if they are of the same type and are in the same column – this ends up giving you a huge boost to that parameter and might even unlock an extra skill! Since you will find plenty of scrolls during your adventure, you can “Proffer” them so that another character can receive and equip them in Dream Mode.
Dream Mode is a “What if?” area of the game filled with new stories based on the characters from the Manga and, while they’re not canon, it is fun to see all the possibilities for how the story could be taken in one direction or the other. There is a huge selection of characters available for you and you will spend hours and hours playing through their stories. Dream Mode is also the home of an Online option to play Co-op or Versus, and in versus you can be rewarded with special and unique bonuses for your efforts if your team is declared the winner.
Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 is an interesting addition to the Wii U eshop catalog. It takes a beloved Manga and tells the whole story just exactly as the Manga did which is sure to please fans, and it also adds some of the traits and features from the “Warriors” series from Tecmo Koei. It is the first time a full retail game has been made available as a download-only selection in the Wii U eshop, and you will have dozens of hours of mindless fun while playing the game. Do keep in mind that, since this is a huge game, you will need 15 GB of storage space to download and install this 12 GB game which does mean that owners of the Wii U Basic Set will definitely need an external storage solution before downloading Ken’s Rage 2.