Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble is a no excuses, old school, 3D brawler. It’s about a Japanese school delinquent as he attempts to prove that he’s the toughest, and thus most badass, person in all of Japan. This is mainly done through beating up students from other schools, but the game also throws in a dash of a trash talking mini-game before many of the fights. While the core of the game is very solid and enjoyable, there just seems to be something lacking in the end design of the game.
The core fighting behind Kenka Bancho seems to be pretty fundamentally flawed. Enemies can circle strafe but the player cannot. Punches and kicks are extremely difficult to aim, especially during movement. To remedy this, each fight is entirely too easy. Not that the game doesn’t try to change things up by throwing new moves and such at a fairly regular interval, but most of them are very much the same.
The combat itself feels very much like the rest of the game, flawed but still fun to play. There is just a certain aspect that is entertaining about going through chunks of a Japanese city and beating up random street thugs and taking all of their worldly possessions. Many points, from combat to plot, seem to hint at depth but are either poorly explained or just not touched on.
Some of the best moments in the game though come from the game’s sense of humor. Through the entire course of play, Kenka Bancho knows exactly what it is; a wacky look into an oddball way of life in Japan, and it makes very little excuses for it. Many games can’t really get away with this disregard, but Badass Rumble manages almost as if it is a core gameplay mechanic. This basically makes most of the insanity and over the top attempts at manliness entirely laughable and enjoyable.
While it would normally be easy to recommend Kenka Bancho to pretty much anyone who enjoys the stranger aspects of Japanese culture, the price itself makes that a little difficult. The game is currently going for roughly 40 dollars, and while this is the normal askin price for a newer PSP game it shouldn’t be for this one. Badass Rumble is pretty short by most standards, and while there is more than enough reason to play through the game several times, most players won’t enjoy the concept of the game enough to warrant a passing glance.
Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble is the brawler that most old school gamers have been hoping will come out. Sadly at the current price point most of them aren’t going to even make an attempt to pick it up. While it is a genre that deserves more love then it has gotten the last several years, Badass Rumble probably isn’t the game to cause that long missed affection. For those who enjoy oddball Japanese things, this game is worth a pick up, for everyone else just wait for the price to drop down a bit.
Not As Good As: The price thinks it is
Also Try: The Bouncer
Wait For It: Any of the sequels to come out
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