Omae wa mou shindeiru
Everyone who has been using the Internet for a long time has encountered this phrase more than once. Of course, many associate it with memes, but few are aware of the genesis of the entire phrase. Well, you could read this sentence for the first time in the anime adaptation of the Fist of the North Star series. I’m talking about adaptation because the manga, which was the ancestor of Kenshiro’s adventures, was created in 1983. Unfortunately, despite a kind of cult in Japan and moderate popularity in America, this series never gained a huge fan base in Poland. Of course, there is a small group that understands what the Japanese imagination is about Mad Max, but not so many. On the horizon, however, there is an opportunity to see what the adventures of Kenshiro are all about.
Yakuza is strong in the title
Of course, I am talking about the subject of this review, i.e. Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise. The title was released exclusively on PlayStation 4 consoles. Yakuza (Ryu Ga Gotoku) Studio, which has a series of adventures with Kiryu Kazuma, is responsible for the whole thing. I mention it for a reason, as it will be of great importance in the mechanic’s description. Now for a moment of private life, I personally like the Fist of the North Star universe very much. The vision that an experienced developer takes on the adventures of Kenshiro made me very optimistic, but is everything so rosy? The short answer – unfortunately not. Of course, there is also a long version in which I will try to show that Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is worth your attention.
But let’s start from the beginning, i.e. the plot. At the outset, it is worth commending the creators that they created a new story, never seen before in the manga or anime. You know, it’s a story as simple as a wire, because we accompany Kenshiro on his journey in search of his beloved, Yuria. Despite the fact that the whole thing will not win any awards for the best scenario, everything is sticking together (within the universe, of course) and the player will gladly go through the next chapters. As it happens with the creators of Yakuza, they have given us a ton of side quests. These activities are divided into two types – interesting and boring. So if you’ve ever played a Japanese soft-hearted gangster simulator, you have already seen all the tasks, now they just have a new cover. Unfortunately, there is one serious drawback to the plot. It’s about cutscenes and the length of the dialogues. While in Kiryu’s adventures, each dialogue kept the atmosphere and added its three cents to the total, with Ken sometimes too long dialogue inserts break the high-octane action.
However, man does not live by the plot alone. After all, we are talking about the adventures of a man who makes people explode by touching the right vital points. Before you start to think about the meaning of the whole thing, I will only say one thing – Japan, they have a fantasy for such concepts. Coming back. The production runs on an engine that remembers the times of Yakuza 5 (PlayStation 3 smiles flirtatiously at us). For this reason, on the one hand, we have a responsive combat system where every blow has its weight, and the sight of exploding heads can give tons of satisfaction. On the other hand, we have loading screens every time we enter buildings.
It should also be added that after some time we get the opportunity to travel through the wastelands with the help of a car. It’s been a long time since I saw a vehicle that behaves like a cube of butter in a hot frying pan. When it comes to using the handbrake, you can easily make donuts like crazy. Of course, this is not such a big disadvantage, but for people who like racing games it may be an obstacle that cannot be jumped over. The presence of mini-games should also be mentioned. As it happens with these creators, we can play baseball with the help of opponents and a huge metal rod (yes, you read that right) or play bartender. I do not have any major comments here, because this is the level that the studio has got used to.
The audiovisual side does not differ from other components of the production. We have great Japanese dubbing with Yakuza actors returning. The same man we heard as Kiryu is responsible for our hero’s vocal cords. Thanks to this, the whole thing looks natural and everything has a unique atmosphere. And now a word of advice, after starting the game, change the dialogue language to Japanese. English dubbing does not fit in with the world in which it is presented, and it reduces the fun of the game. The music is dynamic and gives the duels and exploration the right kick. The graphics, despite the fact that it remembers the times of PS3, looks good, and the animations of exploding enemies give a lot of satisfaction.
Now comes the worst part of the whole text, namely the verdict. On the one hand, as a fan of the universe and a fan of the studio responsible for the game, I had a great game. Toshihiro Nagoshi immediately felt the atmosphere of Kenshiro’s adventures and transferred them to our TV screens. On the other hand, I know that the whole source material is a very specific creation that has never gained popularity in Poland like Dragon Ball or Naruto. Despite this, and the fact that the mechanics from Kiryu’s adventures do not always suit Fist of the North Star, I recommend the title to fans and people who would like to see what the whole world is about. Remember, however, that the whole thing should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Cenega sent the game for review