Fist of the North Star – E3 Hands-on
MANGA and manga-inspired games have a cult following in the West, and anyone who hadn’t noticed would be certainly been bought up to speed by spending a few hours at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles this week.
Publishers Sega and Atlus, in particular, have a number of anime-inspired titles on display, with one of them being Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, based on a popular manga work.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by nuclear war, the Fist Of The North Star manga (and by extension, the various games including this one) concerns the adventures of Kenshiro, a martial artist wandering the wastes while meting out justice against bandits, scoundrels, ruffians and assorted ne’er-do-wells whilst defending the innocent and generally being an upstanding chap.
While not being familiar with the manga upon which the game is based, I have played the game Yakuza 0 from the same developer (Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio) and the trailer, which showed Ken beating the stuffing out of his opponents in amusingly exaggerated style was enough to pique my interest – and I’m glad it did.
Broadly, Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is an open-world RPG in much the same vein as Yakuza 0, with the same graphics style, similar gameplay, and even the same voice actor for the main character.
IN the demo I played, the focus was on combat and it was both over the top, frenetic and ultra-violent. When Ken beats the stuffing out of someone, he finishes them off with one of a variety of moves channelling some sort of energy throughout the target’s body and causing their head and/or torso to explode spectacularly.
This sounds dark but the game is deliberately going for a humorous and over the top style which is surprisingly effective. The combat was fluid and easy to grasp, with a range of combos offering a lot of options.
Two of the minigames I was able to test included being a bartender (which the game itself amusingly handwaved away as having come about through a bizarre and inexplicable set of circumstances) and a form of ultra-baseball in which Ken uses a steel girder to see how far he can hit post-apocalyptic bikies. It was exactly as fun as I was expecting (a lot).
The developers say the game will be available both in English and (for the purists), Japanese; so with with wacky combat, an odd sense of humour, and a range of minigames and side quests Fist Of The North Star: Lost Paradise is shaping up to offer a similar experience to Yakuza 0 – so if you enjoyed that game (which I did), it’ll worth keeping an eye out for this one when it releases on PlayStation 4 on October 2.
Royce Wilson is attending E3 as a guest of Ubisoft
With more than 20 years experience as a games reviewer, feature writer and journalist, including at actual newspapers in New Zealand and Australia, Royce somehow combines his love of all things gaming and tech with a strong interest in history. It’s an odd combination, admittedly, but it works.
Primarily a PC gamer – as a gaming rig complements his study with its many leather-bound books and smell of rich mahogany – he leans towards strategy titles, strong narrative games, the quirky or unusual, and likes the peripherals/accessories side of things too.