If there’s one thing we pride ourselves on, it’s finishing a game before we review it. There have been a few exceptions over the years, such as 50+ hour RPGs like Dragon’s Dogma and Dark Souls, but in general we don’t write our reviews until we’ve seen the ending credits roll.
If things went to plan this article would be a review of Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2. Unfortunately that plan was scrubbed after realising that Tecmo Koei has produced a game so bad that we simply couldn’t bring ourselves to finish it. Given that we’ve endured games such as Quantum Theory and MorphX in the past that’s really quite something.
Before Ken’s Rage 2 was taken to CeX – a copy purchased with our own money, for the record – our progress stood at just over two hours of play time with two achievements unlocked.
It’s a terrible, terrible, game. Ken travels barren landscapes – mostly long dull alleyways and corridors – fighting as many as 50 enemies at a time. They explode after a few swift punches; more then appear. After being forced down a few more narrow paths a boss battle will occur and, well, aside from a few new moves to unlock that’s pretty much it. From what we can tell by looking online, this mind numbing formula is recycled for another 20 hours.
The sight of countless enemies on-screen is mildly impressive at first until you stop and realise that there’s usually just two or three different character models between them. Ken himself looks pretty good, as do the cut-scenes, but everything else looks like it has been lifted from a crusty old PlayStation 2 game.
On the second set of levels we encountered a glitch. A very nasty one at that – an enemy had got stuck in a wall and because we were unable to defeat them, we couldn’t progress. After quitting and restarting the game we were thrown back to the beginning of the level, wasting around 30 minutes. Checkpoint placing is bad throughout – fail a mission at the end of a level and you quite often have to play through a huge chunk again as you can’t save during missions.
After coming back to try again a day or so later, this time with some caffeine to hand, we simply gave up after realising that finishing the game would be an effort of herculean proportions. Why play something that feels like genuine torture?
Wanting to get at least some worth out of it, we then had a crack at the Dynasty Warriors inspired Dream Mode. This mode is a lot more open ended and can be played in co-op online, but despite the larger environments it’s also too repetitive to be considered fun. Try as we might, we couldn’t find anybody online to endure our pain despite Ken’s Rage 2 being less than two weeks old.
Looking at the True Achievement website, the achievement for playing the game for 50 hours is unlocked before the one for defeating 100,000 enemies. We know this because not a single person has unlocked it yet. Unsurprising.
It’s a shame as the source material is perfect for a videogame. What a sloppy way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Fist of the North Star.