Previously, Sega made a surprise announcement that the anime series Fist of the North Star would receive a game following the Yakuza formula. With people wondering if the game would receive a western release, Sega surprised us again by confirming the game’s western release.
I managed to get some hands-on with the game’s English localization at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. Set in an alternate story from the Fist of the North Star manga, we follow Kenshiro’s journey across a post-apocalyptic wasteland. His goal is is simple: to find his lost love Yuria.
While the story is simplistic and familiar in its overall theme, as you progress you should expect the story to become more complex. Since this is an alternate story, people unfamiliar with the manga will be able to enjoy the story without any knowledge of stories prior.
Fans of the Yakuza games will know what to expect of the game as Fist of the North Star does not deviate from the major aspects they come to love. A major overarching plot, tons of side quests, an open world where space does not feel wasted, and a basket of side activities to deviate from the exploration and combat.
With the context of the anime, it feels to be a natural fit to use this formula.
Sega has taken great care to make the game world feel as genuine as it can from the established lore.
Ripped from the manga and anime, we are treated to a desolate wasteland where wreckage and makeshift homes are prevalent to the environment. The city streets are covered in sand with no vegetation or water in sight. The world is rusting and wasting away in everyones desperate attempt to survive.
Characters themselves pop out noticeably from the screen with subtle cell shading, coupled with highly detailed textures that pull them out from the landscape. Noticeably, the characters also had a comic sketched look to them, emphasizing the feeling from the series. While they may not be head turning, they still fit with art that fans will expect.
A key feature that many fans including myself is the inclusion of dual audio. During my time with the game I played using English voice acting. While it was good, it still sounded more like a traditional anime with good audio quality. However, During my time with the game I found that the Japanese voice acting will be my preferred choice.
As a Yakuza fan I had no issue with the combat whatsoever. Throughout the city streets and at random times I would be attacked by bandits and lowlifes.
While usually in groups of three or four, I would find situations where I would have more fighting them all by myself. However with Kenshiro’s training in Hokuto Shin Ken, fending off enemies was a simple task. The mechanics were similar to the Yakuza franchise, with one noticeable difference.
Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is a brutal world and Sega wanted to show the life or death struggle that accompanies it. In some instances when using heat actions, a powerful attack that causes massive damage to enemies in Yakuza, under the right situations – Kenshiro will kill his aggressors.
It was common to daze an enemy, only to push a single button and cause Kenshiro to execute a technique that would cause someones head to explode – all accompanied with a massive amount of blood spraying from the body of a victim. To top it off, big letters with an accompanying voice came with each attack, announcing the name of the attack to the player.
All to my surprise I was able to find one of the accompanying mini games that was one of the more light-hearted moments in the otherwise dark and twisted world. Kenshiro changes from his Road Warrior-like style clothing into a full suit, and becomes a bartender.
Mixing drinks and shaking the DualShock 4 controller allows him to serve customers and get rewards. I could not help but laugh hysterically when his famous line “You’re Already Dead” was transformed to “You’re Already Drunk”.
My time with Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise was interesting and I can’t wait to play the game more. Being both the series and Yakuza fan myself, the mix of the two feels natural and was a blast to play. With its release fast approaching in 2018 – gamers can expect over the top, hot blooded action that should keep them entertained for quite awhile.
Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is launching in North America and Europe on October 2nd, for PlayStation 4.