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    Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise

    Rating: 4.5 – Outstanding

    Omae Wa Mou Shindeiru!

    Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is a video game released exclusively for the PS4 by the Yakuza team over at SEGA and was released on October 2, 2018 outside of Japan. It is based on the famous anime, Fist of the North Star.

    GAMEPLAY: 9/10
    Fist of the North Star is known for it’s over the top, extremely violent fight scenes and this game does not disappoint. The main character, Kenshiro, uses a lethal martial arts style called ‘Hokuto Shinken’ which allows him to target and perform critical strikes on the nerves and pressure points inside of his enemies’ bodies, which leaves them exploding into a bloody mess when picking the wrong fight with him. The most used combo is performed by simply pressing the Square button over and over again, but it isn’t a button masher, as you can use Triangle to use kicks and guard breaks and Circle to attack various pressure points in your enemies. There are 4 skill trees that you can upgrade over time that all have a specific focus. One skill tree might focus on upgrading health, while the other might focus on fighting techniques. There are lots of upgrades to purchase with orbs that you receive when levelling up.
    Probably the coolest thing about the battles in the game is the finishing moves! They all are extremely bloody, with lots of screaming and punching! They are done by pressing Circle when an enemy is stunned to attack their pressure points and the finisher is random every time, although it does kind of get old after you see it over and over again. The finishers are all quicktime events after you finish them, although the quick time button presses are only for extra damage and you can turn them off if you like. The game is very similar to Yakuza 0 as it is running on the same engine but the finishing moves and pressure point attack system make it feel fresh and exciting. Outside of fighting, you can explore the environment and participate in ‘Substories’, which are basically the game’s side missions, and these range from additional fights, playing hide and seek, collecting money and even managing a nightclub! Every Substory is different and you meet new characters, plus, the extra XP helps! There is a mechanic that utilizes special abilities called ‘Destiny Talismans’. These grant Kenshiro special powers that he can use in combat and are a big help. But what if you want to ditch the city and go explore the unknown? Well, jump in your buggy, put on your seatbelt and feel free to explore the Wasteland. The map isn’t huge, but the terrain is still fun to explore whilst searching for materials and treasure. You have to refuel your buggy every now and then. If you run out of fuel while driving in the Wasteland, it’s game over!

    STORY: 9/10
    This game’s story can be enjoyed even if you have no prior experience with the source material, which is always a positive. It follows Kenshiro, travelling to the city of Eden to look for his loved one, Yuria, after he heard rumours about a woman of the same name in Eden. The story has lots of really cool bits that I don’t want to mention as they would lose their impact if done so in this review. I really don’t want to spoil anything, so that’s the story in a spoiler-free description. There are other characters in the game from the anime and manga, that show up quite early as well. They all heavily tie into the story and could give away important plot details, so I won’t be mentioning them. Kenshiro does discover some important details about Yuria and other Hokuto Shinken users as the game plays on. These tidbits of information are always a joy to see.

    The game’s graphics try to mirror the art style of the anime and manga and it does a great job of this. The game looks great in screenshots and most importantly, in movement. It holds up graphically with other PS4 games and the manga style environments do a great job of immersing the player and making them feel like they are in the city of Eden alongside Kenshiro. Even though it runs on the same engine as Yakuza 0, the different art style and minor differences, like the scratch marks on objects that try to resemble the original manga illustrations, makes the game look extremely different from the Yakuza games and as a result, it looks better. The enemies in the game have vibrant designs, sometimes with pink or green mohawks! This allows them to stand out and be easily identified by the player in combat sequences. None of the characters in the game blend in with the environment, they all stand out as they have different colour palettes and builds.
    Soundwise, however, while still being good, is nothing mind-blowing or that memorable. I can’t remember one piece of music from the game other than the generic battle theme that sounds like the one that is used in Yakuza. The voice acting is superb, and really draws you into the story. Overall, the sound and graphics are great, but the music is forgettable.

    This is a game that’s taken me days upon days to finish and there was tons of optional content as well. As I mentioned before, the Substories feature radically different objectives so trying to find and complete them all will take forever. You will definitely not reach the maximum level for Kenshiro by the end of your first playthrough, but personally, I wouldn’t
    go through it again for the main story, but the sheer amount of different Substories and ‘achievements’ which are tiny things to achieve, like ‘get X amount of money’ offers a great reason to jump back into the game to get every thing and trying to fully train and improve Kenshiro will take a lot of time to do, so there is a big incentive to keep playing.

    Fist of the North Star is a game that I love and it has made me a fan of the series. If you’re looking for a lengthy, story focused over the top action game with tons of crazy things to do and see, then this game is right up your alley. I give Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise an 8/10.

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