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The Next Level In Gaming

I have been a huge fan of beat ‘em up games. Ever since Streets Of Rage on the Sega Megadrive, I have always had a soft spot for games were you progress through the level by beating the seven shades of crazy out of your enemies with your bare fists, or whatever weapons you happen to find lying around. I am also a big fan of manga and anime. Weather it be a Death Note, Bleach, Cowboy Bebop, you name it I love it.

So the very idea of making a game that mixes Streets Of Rage style game play with a manga/anime story would be some what of a dream come true for me. Lets face it, I am yet to see a streets of rage type beat ‘em up hit this console generation. But this weekend at the MCM expo, my prayers were answered as Fist Of The North Star (Working Title) was revealed, and I gotta say, this is defiantly one to look out for.

For those of you who frequently read Plus XP, you will know that a few weeks back I had done a preview post on this very game, saying how much I did like the original manga series and the concept of the Dynasty Warriors game style being translated into a next-gen beat ‘em up would be just damn right awesome. So yes, I did get to play the game, but what did I think of this particular title?

The demo we played was the japanese version of the game (The english title is still under development) you could select up to eight characters and play through their particular stories. Me being Me I chose Kenshiro (or Ken for short) the main protagonist of the manga, and the only guy who knows the Hokuto Shinken fighting style, which focuses on key points on the body resulting in rather gory deaths. So I jumped straight into the game, It’s pretty linier as games go but to be honest that didn’t bother me, as I said before, I have been looking for the next-gen answer to streets of rage and I gotta say this is it. You basically run though the levels climbing over obstacles and dodging various booby traps, then every now and then you are surrounded by a good horde of enemies. This is why we come to expect from beat ‘em ups/hack and slashes these days. Ninja Gaiden did it, as did God Of War and Dante’s inferno. But this is a beat em up game, not a hack and slash. Meaning you have nothing but your bear fists, and believe me, this is a lot of fun.

On your controller you have strong attack, medium attack, special and grab. Strang attacks you can hold for more power, medium attacks are punched and stuff, grabs you can mix up with medium and strong attacks, and specials are just fun as hell. Put it this way if you have say, about five enemies in front of you and you launch into Ken’s multi punch special, you see a blur of hands pummeling the crap out of  these five enemies which then eventually explode into a bloody mess. The great thing here is you have a choice of four special moves per character, that can be changes on the fly using the D-Pad, so you could say it is kind of like changing weapon in a hack and slash game…ish.

The visuals are something to behold, sure I was playing the game on a PS3 with a HD screen but they were beautiful. The attention to detail was amazing. I have to say though, when you hit an enemy once or twice with Ken, they started to blow up like a balloon and burst into a bloody mess, the amount of satisfaction I got when that happened was in immense. I though Ninja Gaiden was awesome for chopping limbs off, but seeing enemies explode like that did make the masochist in me very happy.

Even though I only had a small go on the game, I am looking forward to it. This is defiantly one I will be keeping more of an eye on, so hold onto your hats beat ‘em up fans as we are going to have to wait till autumn for this title. But be sure to check Plus XP in the next few days with my video interview from MCM with Will from Koei about Fist Of The North Star (Working Title)

Garv

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Garvaos On June - 1 - 2010

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