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So I got a tweet that said this game was available on the eShop. Well, I enjoyed Samurai Warriors 3 for its local AND online multiplayer, so I'm hoping to find at least that much enjoyment here. I've always been a fan of the series, from what I've seen of it, as it was the first story I've been exposed to in which you don't watch to see "whether the good guys or the bad guys win" but you watch to see "how badly the good guy(s) obliterate the bad guys." You watch this show to see the villains, people with no redeeming values at all, beg and plead for their lives, and then die in the most humiliating ways. That's what got me hooked.
Anyways, so here's the game version, a sequel apparently, and equally apparently done by Tecmo-Koei, and heavily supported by Nintendo if their official page and YouTube channel is any indication.
Copy/pasted from my add-game page: I'm downloading the title as we speak. I'm expecting to write a review along the lines of "oh gads, why did I put my faith into a Tecmo-Koei multiplat?" but considering they did a good job with Ninja Gaiden Razor's Edge for the Wii U (and despite them having done a horrible job with Warriors Orochi for any system) Nintendo's heavy endorsement, plus the fact that a friend of mine got me into Fist of the North Star way back when and I'd not stopped being a fan since, were the two points that pushed this game off the fence into "buy and review" territory. I figure this game will be the tiebreaker as to whether Tecmo-Koei games will be worth supporting on the Wii U, or whether T-K would better be left to hone their skills on the other systems with less discriminating audiences for another generation.
If this game turns out to be a dud, then it's not a big loss, I can at least inform the audience that they're best left saving their dollars for Xeno-U and Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem, oh! And to pick up Samurai Warriors 3 for the Wii instead. And to play with me online in said Samurai Warriors 3 (or Ken's Rage 2 if they didn't heed my advice and got it anyway...or if it turns out to be good, then bought it upon recommendation(s)).
Maybe I can offer some tips to help you enjoy this game a bit more:
This is a game that covers the story of one guy that can take on whole armies by himself. If you haven't seen it, look up some episodes online, and you'll get an idea of why this game seems so easy. This guy is strong enough to effortlessly take out hundreds of punks at a time, which is why Tecmo Koei meshed it with their Dynasty/Samurai Warriors formula, which is about historical and mythological records (and exaggerations) of people who did amazing things in the heat of battle. So that's why the enemies don't put up any resistance. You're literally playing a shooting gallery with your fists. "Take out this many people in this much time", "prevent anyone from getting to this location", goals are set out based on the assumption that you will be knocking these people down like flies.
The bosses and commanders are another matter. This is where the more "challenging" parts of the game come into play. If your attacks aren't working , then it's because you're not noticing something about the enemy and reacting appropriately. If they have a red hazy aura around them, that means they're charging a strong attack and they have "Super Armour" on, which means they can attack and defend against your normal attacks at the same time. When you see the red aura around them, then you need to either evade their attacks until the red aura is gone (B-button), or break through that aura and knock them into an unstable state. I don't like games where enemies are allowed to have "invincible time" where you have to wait between your attacks, and thankfully this one isn't one of them. Y-X-X is a combo that Kenshiro can use to break Super Armour and follow up with any combo you want.
Another aspect of the game is "Shock". When an enemy has the flashy yellow aura around them, that means you did something right, and the enemy will take extra damage for a while. Shock is really useful for any situation other than when the enemy(ies) you're fighting can be taken out in one combo. The easiest way I can think of to put someone into shock is to use your R move, the Penitent Fist of the North Star. Kenshiro will jam his thumbs into the temples of an opponent nearby and give them 3 seconds to reflect over their sins before they die. When they explode, their regret spreads outwards and everyone around them is put into a shocked state and you can start waling on them.
Against commanders and bosses, you usually just have to be doing well to put them in shock. I like to link signature moves to the ends of my combos to ensure that they don't get blocked.
@Dark Weres I kind of wanted this game, so that I could play through the Fist of the North Star story, but I keep hearing that the sequel is worse than the first one...
The Fist of the North Star movie is actually the first anime that I ever saw, and it turned me off of anime for, like, seven years. But I recently saw the first couple of eps, and they were pretty enjoyable.
@Anand OH YEAH! I remember the movie. Well, to be more specific, I remember falling asleep during the movie. I think it was trying to be too serious, whereas Fist of the North Star is at its most elemental, an over-the-top cheese-fest.
If you get it for the story, and if you like Dynasty Warriors -types of games, then you won't regret your purchase. If you get it for technical reasons (ie: as a graphical showcase to show off to your friends, or for Wii U specific features) you'd be better off hunting down Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge or Samurai Warriors 3 for the Wii.
Ken's Rage 2 does feature double-video and double-audio by default though, so there's another good point if you want to play with a headset, or play with the TV-off.
Ken's Rage? Yeah, download only. FotNS has kind of a niche in the West, so I can see why they did this. Ninja Gaiden? I think it's both. I would look for opportunities to download anyway because I'm on the Deluxe Digital Promotion Samurai Warriors 3? Disc only, since it's a Wii title.
Like I said, the purchase of this game is a vote for more Tecmo-Koei support for the Wii U more than anything, but if you're a fan of Fist of the North Star, there's a lot of fanservice to enjoy. Using Nanto Suichoken combat rules, or even Mamiya's weapon-changeup combos adds more depth to the fighting and playing DW-styled territory-games with your friends can be a grand ol' time.
EDIT (to avoid double-posting) Oh man, this game is LOOOOOOOOOOOONG! I thought that it'd just end after the True North Star and the Holy South Star fighters had resolved their differences, but it just goes on!
Not that that's a bad thing, I thought I'd just take a couple of hours and power through the story so I could get into the multiplayer, but holy crap, there's MORE STORY! The kids are grown up now, and somehow Kenshiro looks exactly the same! Unfortunately, they made them into bow-fighters, which I'm less thrilled about. Those bowgun arrows don't deal nearly as much damage as Kenshiro's fists, and they'll only hit one or two people at a time, making you feel a lot weaker, but I guess that's kind of the point, since you just can't beat the True Fist of the North Star or the Holy Fist of the South Star.
Speaking of arrows, I'm a little annoyed that they don't let you use the arrow-catching technique to counter enemy ranged attackers. I mean, maybe I'm doing it wrong by dodging at the last moment, but it seems to me that that "how the player deals with ranged attacks" was something that was straight code-copied from the Warriors games and left as is. Still, that they're weak enough to be taken out as collateral damage when knocking aside groups of stronger brutes probably means that it was best not to develop a whole new technique to take care of such a small detail, especially considering that there probably won't be a "Ken's Rage 3" until the next FotNS anniversary.