Koei’s Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage is the kind of fanservice that is rarely seen outside of Japan. It’s also not the first time a developer tried to bring the martial-arts mashup to consoles if you remember “The Last Battle” on the Genesis or “Fist of the North Star” for the NES.
If you have no idea what the Fist of the North Star is, you might be better served by watching the anime or picking up the manga. Ken’s Rage doesn’t take a lot of time to explain itself other than being a force of violence through its wrecked landscape. Still, if you like Dynasty Warriors-like action or beat ‘em ups in general, you might find something to like within its pugilistic paradise. Just watch where you step. That might be someone’s guts over there.
Shank is a game you play with beer, chips and a dumb grin on your face, the kind of grin you get when the hero’s sole responsibility is leaving a trail of kicked asses in his wake.
Such is the simple, barbaric pleasure in Klei Entertainment’s short offering to the beat-em-up genre.
It’s an artistic, bloody and whimsical exploration of the art of thug killing, carrying hints of films like “Desperado” or “Kill Bill” and merging them with the essence of side-scrolling attack-a-thons like the 8-bit Ninja Gaiden. It’s simple, brutal and joyfully un-epic fun.
If I wanted to spend that much time with virtual children in Yakuza 3, I would have played Sims 3 instead. The good news is that Kazuma Kiryu’s fists and feet are as uncompromising as ever.