Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior’s Rise Review

Developer: Qooc Soft

Publisher: 7sixty

Release Date: July 24th, 2012

Available on: PC, Xbox 360

Reviewer’s Note: I played this game on the PC. There may be differences between versions.

Difficulty is a bit of a weird subject. What one person may find difficult could be a total cakewalk to someone else. I’ve played plenty of games more difficult than Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior’s Rise, but few as frustrating. There’s an interesting game here buried under the challenge, but I’m not quite sure it’s worth digging up.

Kung Fu Strike’s plot is so all over the place that I’m not really sure what happened at any point. The most I can say is that I played a guy named Loh, who is either a general, a prince, or a king but I’m not really sure. He’s maybe betrayed but I don’t really know? Also he either leads or fights against a rebel army. At some point Loh has to take over a temple for reasons that basically are “lol ’cause.” He’ll knock characters out who then immediately become his friend, and it seems like half of China is paid to assassinate him. The plot is a mess of giving as little information as possible and keeping it extremely inconsistent, so while I wasn’t expecting much I got even less than that.

I'm actually pretty sure that's a Street Fighter character

I’m actually pretty sure that’s a Street Fighter character

Combat in Kung Fu Strike is pretty simple at first, though there’s enough depth to make it interesting. The majority of my attacks were preformed with the X button: click it to preform a simple combo that knocks enemies back or hold it down to preform a flurry of light attacks. The A button was used to preform a jump kick that could knock enemies into the air, the B button blocks attacks, and the right trigger makes Loh do a dodge roll. As I fought enemies I was able to raise my chi, and when I filled up a chi bar I could preform special chi attacks.

These chi attacks are where the real meat is. At the start of the game the only real chi attack I had was a kick that did quite a bit of damage. Yet near the end I also had spinning kicks, ground stomps, shock waves, windmill punches, and more. Enemies had their own versions of chi attacks though, which caused them to glow red. Yet, with some careful timing, I could counter their chi attacks with my own which broke their defenses and did a ton of damage while healing me a little bit. It’s a cool system of avoiding and countering attacks before hitting back with my own.

WA-CHA!

WA-CHA!

There’s even more to the combat too. Sometimes I was give the opportunity to break defenses with flurry attacks or air attacks. One interesting feature allowed me to summon allies to the battlefield at the cost of a bit of gold. Low attacks can’t be countered, so I had to watch out for these and jump over them when they showed up. Projectiles have to be knocked back with attacks rather than blocks. Yet while I can appreciate all these systems, Kung Fu Strike quickly became a mess of having to watch out for so many different things that I was never sure what to do.

Hitting a massive difficulty spike, Kung Fu Strike became unpleasant to play. Every stage basically devolved into me throwing myself at the tasks over and over again, hoping this time I would be able to keep up with the absurd amount of things going on. Some of this can be alleviated by bringing a buddy in, Kung Fu Strike can be played co-op at any time, but most of the time I was alone and just bashing my head against the challenges over and over. The worst offender are the boss fights: each one trying to seem more ridiculously difficult than the last. An early one-on-one bout with a swordsman introduced me to how annoying low attacks can be, and later in the game a fight against two of the swordsmen saw me getting knocked into combos where I would be stunned and bounced between the two until I died. I’ll also be honest: I never beat Kung Fu Strike. I gave up on the last boss, which was so absurd that I couldn’t imagine anyone beating it without a seriously high amount of retries.

I really wanted to like Kung Fu Srike: The Warrior’s Rise more. I just wish it was more accessible. There’s nothing wrong with making a game hard, but this one goes well beyond reasonable and just never feels worth slogging through for the few good bits.

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