Anarchy Reigns is a better Hokuto no Ken game than Ken’s Rage 2

Posted on Feb 21 2013 - 6:33am by Jeffrey L. Wilson

Kens Rage 2 Anarchy Reigns is a better Hokuto no Ken game than Kens Rage 2

Fist of the Northstar, TOEI Animation’s manga-based TV series and accompanying movie, is an anime classic. Unlike many of the other series that people cite as anime Hall of Famers — Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Death Note – Fist of the Northstar is decidedly non-cerebral and littered with enough filler to make both Dragon Ball Z and Naruto fans blush. Still, the game’s post-apocalyptic setting, exploding heads, and super-powered kung fu has given it a set of legs that have stood the test of time.

The series’ high-powered fighting makes it solid video game material, which the gaming industry has mined over the years. There have been many Fist of the Northstar games, but they either outright disappointed or were edited to the point of being unrecognizable. Hokuto no Ken, a 2D fighting game from Arc System Works, is the lone bright point in the property’s transition into video game form.

Now it’s 2013 and Tecmo Koei holds the license. Fist of the Northstar: Ken’s Rage 2 recently hit store shelves with the promise of more characters, modes, and moves. Sounds snazzy right?

Hold on. Wait a minute.

Did you know that another post-apocalyptic brawler with lots of fighting characters, over-the-top moves, and gooey explosions hit consoles weeks before? Platinum Games’ Anarchy Reigns also taps that certain brand of chaotic charm, and is a better Hokuto no Ken game than Ken’s Rage 2.

Urban chaos is at the heart of Hokuto no Ken. After the bombs fall, marauders raid cities and towns in search of food, water, or simply the perceived power that comes with slaughtering man, woman, and child. Dumb thugs and their super-human masters own the streets, so its up to a few justice-seekers to set things right. Ken’s Rage 2, unfortunately, does a piss-poor job of conveying this via in-game action. You guide Kenshiro from sectioned-off area to section-off area as he completely destroys as many low-lives as possible. It’s a straightforward, ho-hum affair that isn’t as insane as the property on which Ken’s Rage 2 is based.

Anarchy Reigns Screenshots 5 Anarchy Reigns is a better Hokuto no Ken game than Kens Rage 2

Anarchy Reigns, on the other hand, embraces the insanity. The multi-tiered levels let you rumble on streets and rooftops, battle rampaging mutants, hi-jack vehicles, leap from buildings, hurl cars, and deal with random Trigger Events such as an out-of-control airliner that plunges into the city. To make a long story short, you can piledrive helicopters and fight a mecha-Cthulu. Anarchy Reigns is the very definition of anime madness and urban chaos. Ken’s Rage 2 is a big ol’ pile of “meh” that only becomes mildly interesting when Ken goes into his berserker rage.

Anarchy Reigns‘ fighting is equally as thrilling. On the surface, Anarchy Reigns has a lot in common with Ken’s Rage 2 — light and heavy attacks, super moves, grabs, and other action game fare — but Platinum Games’ offering adds multiplayer perks, a variety of useful weapons, and a surprisingly deep combat system that utilizes fists, feet, and Killer Weapons. It even cribs Hokuto no Ken’s rapid-fire kicks and heads that explode when pummeled. In fact, Ken’s Rage 2‘s exploding heads, which erupt into crimson jelly blobs, is far less impressive than Anarchy Reigns green spurts.

And it’s a damned shame. Ken’s Rage 2 doesn’t even have a dedicated jump button.

When a developer spends the cash to lock down a cherished property only to release a repetitive slog of a game on the brand’s 30th anniversary, it hurts everyone involved — developer and fans alike. Gearbox and those who’ve eagerly awaited Aliens: Colonial Marines understand.

Action gaming fans who want a thrilling Fist of the Northstar-like combat title in 2013′s early days should immediately pick up Anarchy Reigns.  It’s half Ken’s Rage 2 price ($29.99 vs. $59.99), and offers much more gameplay for the buck. It’s a no-brainer. Fist of the Northstar: Ken’s Rage 2 is already dead.

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Jeffrey L. Wilson is the former Big Boss of 2D-X.com. Now retired, he spends his days as a man of leisure. Kinda.

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7 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Sean-Paul Adams February 21, 2013 at 10:11 AM - Reply

    I think the reason that we cant get a good Hokuto no Ken game is because developers who aren’t die-hard Ken fans always seem to end up making the game. Tecmo-Koei obviously likes their brand of action, seeing the amount of Dynasty Warriors styled games they’ve made, but I would argue that they’re much bigger fans of ancient Chinese combat and characters than any contemporary anime series. What Hokuto no Ken needs to find is a dev who is as passionate about the series as Kojima is about Metal Gear or Platinum is about their brand of action games.

    • Ernie February 21, 2013 at 2:01 PM - Reply

      So you’re saying Platinum should dev an HNK game? Sign me up

      • Sean-Paul Adams February 21, 2013 at 2:21 PM - Reply

        Not necessarily Platinum, just a dev that the same level of passion for HNK the show and brand as Platinum does for its action games. As Jeff said in the article though, Anarchy Reigns and HNK 2 share a number of similarities so Platinum would probably be a good choice.

        Especially if they made it like God Hand.

        • Jeffrey L. Wilson February 21, 2013 at 8:53 PM - Reply

          You should own Anarchy Reigns. Multiplayer insanity is godly.

  2. Dave6 February 28, 2013 at 2:12 PM - Reply

    Fist of the North Star Ken’s Rage 2 Is 100 Times more Better than Anarchy Reigns. buy this game today. got bored with in first 30 min’s of the Game. know i now why is game was so chip to buy

    • Jeffrey L. Wilson February 28, 2013 at 3:40 PM - Reply

      Hmm. What does Ken’s Rage 2 have that Anarchy Reigns lacks?

      • Tim February 28, 2013 at 9:15 PM - Reply

        Viral marketers apparently.

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