Omai Wa Mou Shindeiru (you are already dead)
Fist of the North Star: Lost in Paradise is the first game that has allowed me to not only rip out the spines of my enemies but also made sure that I could mix alcoholic beverages for a muscly old lady. With my half-hour of the game at PAX West courtesy of SEGA, I was shown all-around this loving tribute to the classic shonen series.
If you’ve seen the anime or read the manga of the 80’s Japanese classic Fist of the North Star, you’ve probably considered how easy it would be to adapt a video game out of the franchise. There are over-the-top scenes and gruesome death scenes, of which all take place within a devastated post-apocalyptic wasteland that a warrior named Kenshiro wanders.
However, that doesn’t mean others were attempting to make the definitive Fist of the North Star game. Up until the Yakuza team at Sega gained the ability to create the upcoming Fist of the North Star: Lost in Paradise, there were titles on the NES, PlayStation 2, and even PlayStation 3. With genres ranging from fighting games to beat-em-ups created by the Dynasty Warriors team.
With Lost in Paradise for the PlayStation 4 however, the Yakuza team has brought their notable wit and style to the property in a way that is both loving to the franchise and also a great standalone game for those that are fans of the open-world variety that the Yakuza series offers.
The man with the seven wounds
The first stop that the individual presenting the demo took me was the entrance to a city, in which I had to fight off a horde of enemies at once in order to be let in. Combat followed the same brawling mechanics as seen in the Yakuza series with a few slight changes. The heat actions (powerful finishing moves that used up a special gauge) are now replaced by gruesome finishers that are taken from Kenshiro’s ability to specifically target the vital points of the human body and make them (most typically) explode apart.
After getting a hand in the combat system, I was able to fully enjoy the visual fidelity of the game. Enhanced by a style that is emblematic of its anime roots, this aesthetic pushes past the screen as speech bubbles appear with every finishing move. In some ridiculous instances, you can even physically pick-up the death screams of your enemies and use them as clubs.
However, this faithfulness to the source material also extends to the minigames. While the Yakuza series is known for its crazy optional activities, the team has upped the crazy factor with the few minigames I had the chance to try. The first one I was shown among the selection of minigames, was experiencing one of the many different jobs Kenshiro can take up.
Mixing alcohol and hitting homeruns
As a bartender, I was able to use my prowess to make drinks for various customers. With gestures required involving me stirring drinks with the right stick, or physically shaking the controller to mix them. Pulling off these successfully resulted in Kenshiro being able to talk up the patrons of the bar, discussing the different struggles that they each go in the post-nuclear wasteland.
I also was able to try out a minigame that was very similar to the baseball activities that were in the Yakuza series. However, instead of baseballs, you’re swinging at thugs riding motorcycles, instead of swinging a bat you’re swinging the metal column of a broken building.
Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is as fun to play as it is to talk about, considering it’s a package that includes an open-world full of side-activities, a combat system that is as flashy as it is gruesome, and a solid localization. There is plenty to be excited about even if you aren’t a Fist of the North Star fan. It’s an unconditionally fun time, one that deserves to at least be tried via the demo currently available on the PlayStation Store.