Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise Review
Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s latest title. For those unfamiliar with the studio, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio is Sega’s Yakuza developer. As a fan of the Yakuza franchise, Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise immediately piqued my interest, and I was eager to see the studio tackle a different intellectual property. With the Yakuza series following a similar formula throughout, Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise should be a bit different… right?
Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is based on the First of the North Star franchise in Japan. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland spread across a few locales. In the game, players take the role of Kenshiro, the successor of Hokuto Shiken, a martial art. As Kenshiro, you set out on a journey in search of your beloved, Yuria. Based on my experience with the game as well as a bit of research into the source material, the game features many characters in similar roles but does not follow the original story.
The story of Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is engaging and, as a newcomer to the franchise, both easy to follow and serves as a decent introduction to the series. The game’s story, though serious in nature, remains quite lighthearted due to the corny dialogue (which is quite in line with the source material) and over-the-top sequences. Wandering the post-apocalyptic wasteland as a stoic, muscle-bound martial artist telling people that they are already dead before their bodies blow up has never been more memorable.
If you have ever played a Yakuza game, Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is essentially Yakuza in a Fist of the North Star skin, and that is not entirely a bad thing. The game takes on a similar structure with a main quest, central city hub, side quests, and mini-games. Like Yakuza, the game is essentially an action-adventure title with a beat-em-up/brawler styled combat system with quick-time events. The game, however, also appears to borrow more than its formula from the Yakuza titles, with various assets such as parts of its heads-up display, user interface, camera angles, item rarity system, and even animations being utilized.
Unlike the Yakuza games though, Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise does not have items such as bicycles to swing around but has secret techniques which are as awesome as they are lengthy and somewhat repetitive. Unlocking techniques as the game moves on makes the combat flow more naturally than having to utilize secret techniques multiple times per battle. Despite reusing assets, being a bit repetitive early on, and generally having a slow start, the game remains a solid title that is overall enjoyable.
You’re Already Dead
The game’s graphics are overall well done, with its use of cel-shading to perhaps mimic the look of the source material. With this, the character models are quite detailed and most of the characters, especially the significant ones, look unique and stand out in a good way. While the environment within the city of Eden stacks up, the wasteland areas relatively do not. Despite this, the area works as it is intended to and does not detract a whole lot. As for the audio, the music was standard fare, but the voice acting was superb with dual audio options along with its hilariously corny dialogue. The Japanese voice actor of Kazuma Kiryu of the Yakuza series also makes an appearance as main character Kenshiro.
Despite being essentially a re-skin of the Yakuza games, Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is still a comically fun video game once you get past the early portions of the game. Fans of the Yakuza series will feel right at home with the game, but so would fans of Fist of the North Star. While a bit more differentiation from the Yakuza series would have been nice, that does not prevent the game from being enjoyable overall.
*** A PS4 code was provided by the publisher ***
- Corny dialogue
- Memorable characters
- Fun yet familiar formula
- Little innovation
- Slow start