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If You Grew Up During The 80s Or 90s
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The biggest weakness of Ken’s Rage 2 is the fact that it doesn’t offer anything different from the start to the finish of the game. For those who love beat-‘em-ups, this could be perfection, but I honestly couldn’t play the game for longer than an hour or two before I needed to get up and do something else. The format and layout of Ken’s Rage 2 would be almost perfect for a handheld title, as in small bursts, the game is a lot of fun and a great deal of satisfaction can be had from it. If I’m honest, I did find myself being pulled back to the game time and time again once I’d taken a break, which goes to show that the experience is intoxicating, just more in the way of a quick dash of vodka than a slow, pondering chew through a hearty stout.
In a typical fashion of Japanese games, Ken’s Rage 2 ranks you on almost every action that you perform. You get ranked for your performance in an individual battle, for how quickly you complete a set mission with a level, and eventually for the level itself. The parameters are well-explained on the loading screen (which you’ll see a lot, with loading screens popping up every minute or two) such as collecting as much karma (read: experience orbs) as possible, finishing missions with an A rating, taking a short amount of time to finish a level, and taking little damage. Some of these objectives, particularly the time limit, can be difficult to hit satisfactorily due to the constraints placed upon the player by the game’s mechanics. In most fights against a group of enemies, you’ll be fighting several waves. Sometimes these waves take longer to trigger than they should, particularly as they spontaneously appear in the midst of a battle. This can cost you a precious couple of seconds which can knock your score down a rank all too easily.
The battles in Ken’s Rage 2 are the largest obstacle you’ll overcome through the course of the game, and the size of the obstacle varies quite substantially. In most battles you’ll fight anywhere from 50 to 70 enemies, often singlehandedly, although there were a few occasions when Ken was pitted against up to 200 foes. Most of these enemies serve merely as cannon (or fist) fodder, as they can be killed with a couple of punches or kicks, and the fights quickly wear down into a war of attrition, while you ferociously mash buttons to smash your way through the horde. Enemy classes don’t really tend to vary, and although you’ll fight enemies labeled as ‘soldiers’, ‘bandits’ or ‘warriors’, there isn’t enough distinction between them to be noticeable, and you certainly won’t have to change your approach to deal with them. Simply hammer the two attack buttons like a maniac, and you’ll find your way through – be it 5, 10 or 20 minutes later – depending on the enemy total that you’re tasked with defeating.
If you grew up during the 80s or 90s, before arcades started to turn into one or two machines hidden away in the corner of a movie theatre, be prepared for Ken’s Rage 2 to Fut 14 coins serve as a nostalgia inducer, whether playing or observing. As soon as I started up the game and began throwing punches and kicks, the mixture of masculine grunts, sounds of pain and rocking guitars (which feature so prominently it makes Call of Duty’s feeble attempts laughable) took me right back to the flashing lights and mind-numbing noise of an overly-stimulating arcade. After a couple of hours of play, it’s safe to say that Ken’s Rage 2’s audio is largely forgettable, although an admirable decision was made in keeping a Japanese-only audio track, with English subtitles, as this adds a degree of authenticity to the game. One thing to bear in mind, though, is that Ken’s Rage 2 features a lot of (thankfully skippable) cutscenes, so if subtitles aren’t your thing, you might be advised to steer clear.
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