River City Saga: Three Kingdoms Review — Different Streets, Same Fight

River Metropolis Saga: Three Kingdoms Evaluation — Completely different Streets, Identical Battle


I do not the way you’d react to River Metropolis Saga: Three Kingdoms in case you weren’t a large River Metropolis Ransom mark as a child. Three Kingdoms basically is River Metropolis Ransom. Each video games are free-roaming beat-’em-ups with easy graphics and goofy humor, however in Saga, you are rampaging throughout 8-bit, Third-century China as a substitute of an city setting.

It is also janky as hell, and in 2022, that seems like a alternative somebody needed to make. My nostalgia goggles are working additional time right here, so I am nonetheless ready to advocate River Metropolis Saga (RCS). Nonetheless, I can see why somebody with out a long-time, unquestioning affection for the sequence may not wish to hassle.

River Metropolis Saga: Three Kingdoms Evaluation — Completely different Streets, Identical Battle

The primary drawback I encountered was the Steam model refusing to acknowledge my wired Xbox controller. As an alternative of with the ability to plug in an Xbox pad and get to work, I needed to browbeat RCS into taking part in properly with a DualShock 4. I have never had issues like this with a Steam sport in years.

I would’ve tried taking part in with the keyboard as a substitute, however that was a non-starter. By default, you employ WASD to maneuver, with Ok/I/L as assault buttons. It is like utilizing an previous emulator to play some forgotten SNES beat-’em-up. Whilst you can freely remap the important thing bindings, RCS additionally would not say what its default keys are. I spent my first minute with the sport making an attempt to determine which button began the sport, and neither Enter nor the house bar labored.

After that preliminary, weird roadblock, I discovered RCS comfortably acquainted. It is arrange as an entry within the long-running Kunio-kun franchise, which is finest represented exterior of Japan by River Metropolis Ransom and, extra not too long ago, River Metropolis Women. As an alternative of the extra vaguely Japanese city atmosphere usually related to these video games, RCS retells Romance of the Three Kingdoms, with all of the big-name roles stuffed by recognizable Kunio-kun characters.

If you happen to’ve performed a Dynasty Warriors sport or the final Whole Battle, you understand how RotTK goes. It is a chaotic, turbulent interval in Chinese language historical past, with quite a few warlords feuding for energy, which has been immortalized in an influential traditional Chinese language novel.

Kunio himself performs the a part of Guan Yu, who allies with Liu Bei (Gouda) and Zhang Fei (Godai) to struggle off the Yellow Bandit Riot. That attracts the three of them into interval conflicts as volunteers, mercenaries, captains, and eventually, generals.

It is a bizarre look general, like a Saturday morning cartoon adaptation of the Warring States interval. It is a model of Three Kingdoms the place three guys, one among whom is objectively a moron, routinely beat up total army battalions, and the place Guan Yu invented the dropkick, powerbomb, and elbow drop in 220 AD. The well-known horse Pink Hare is represented by a bike. It is all fairly foolish, even earlier than you unlock the flexibility to kick so laborious you create a twister.

If you happen to’ve performed River Metropolis Ransom, or extra doubtless River Metropolis Women, Saga is a intentionally retro-styled sport in the identical vein.

There’s an open map of China, the place each path by the countryside is primarily bandits by quantity. Enemies come at you in packs of half a dozen or extra and switch into bouncing cash if you knock them out. You may spend these cash to purchase meals, gear, or ability books that quickly improve your fight potential.

Very similar to Ransom or Women, Saga is arguably its most difficult within the first 10 minutes, earlier than you have unlocked any first rate strikes. Then it simply palms you the dropkick, and abruptly, you are the pro-wrestling champion of historic China.

The overall thought behind RCS is that it is the Kunio-kun tackle the frantic, you-vs-an-army gameplay in Koei Tecmo’s varied Warriors video games. After getting any expertise in any respect, Kunio can plow by a handful of enemies directly, and if he is received backup, a struggle can degenerate right into a frantic mess of pixels and numbers.

You are inspired to combine up your techniques to search out probably the most degenerate nonsense you possibly can to homicide a whole crowd earlier than it has the possibility to kill you. When lots of people compete to punch you, any person‘s gonna’ land one, and it is your job to cheat as laborious as you possibly can to keep away from that. That is the idea, anyway, as a result of RCS has a wierd underbaked high quality to it, the place you possibly can see what it is going for and even have some enjoyable, however it may be a slog.

Enjoying on the medium issue, Average, you simply find yourself out-leveling any of the threats you run into, assuming you do any combating you do not strictly must. For a lot of the sport, I not often bumped into an enemy that might do greater than 1 level of injury per hit, as a result of I used to be usually effectively forward of the sport’s supposed energy curve.

If you happen to hit a problem spike, you might have quite a few helpful instruments to even the chances till your stats are as much as par.

You may heal on the fly with meals out of your stock, and you’ve got a wide range of Final strikes that allow you to wipe out not less than a couple of enemies in a rush. There are additionally a few busted expertise, like Aura Punch, that “stage” the sphere, and the brand new Ways strikes, whereas tough to recharge and fickle, can wipe out a whole pack of enemies in a single blast.

When you be taught Water Ways specifically, the sport would possibly as effectively roll the credit. Some bosses will not readily survive a dose of Water Ways, and in case you play your playing cards proper, you need to use it twice in a row.

The facility curve in River Metropolis video games is historically quite a bit sharper than this. It may be enjoyable to seek out all of the weird expertise and discover attention-grabbing mixtures for them, significantly within the late sport when the struggle heats up and the opposition will get correspondingly fierce. RCS is even keen on pulling out Road Fighter-style ki strikes, which is not typical for the sequence.

That does go away the sport in a wierd place. Enemies can solely gradual you down by always blocking or catching you in multi-part juggle assaults. It is simple to get caught off-balance and repeatedly pummeled by six or seven opponents directly, the place you are solely given temporary home windows to counterattack earlier than you are knocked flat once more.

They’re not often inflicting sufficient harm to matter, so all they will do is drag out each struggle to the purpose of irritation. It is a systemic situation, and taking part in on the next issue would not assist.

You additionally run into a couple of platforming challenges that are not fairly as much as what Saga‘s engine can accomplish. It is high-quality when navigating gauntlets of automated traps — Han Dynasty China additionally had these; learn a e-book — however the hardest factor in River Metropolis Saga is arguably navigating a couple of slim ledges or shifting barges.

The system is simply not arrange for correct leaping, which will get annoying when you need to do it for any sustained interval. There’s nearly no punishment for failure, so you will get it will definitely, nevertheless it’s obnoxious that you need to do it in any respect.

River Metropolis Saga: Three Kingdoms Evaluation — The Backside Line

Execs

  • A pure blast of 8-bit nostalgia.
  • Just a few foolish enjoyable.
  • Co-op mode.
  • Some diversified gameplay adjustments up the competition of beatdowns.
  • Good music.
  • It is making an attempt one thing bizarre and new for the sequence, not less than.

Cons

  • The Steam model performs poorly with controllers.
  • Unusual default keybindings.
  • Unavoidably repetitive.
  • Actually coasting on nostalgia.
  • Runs out of steam across the finish of Chapter 4.

I haven’t got it in me to hate River Metropolis Saga, as a result of it’s a trendy River Metropolis Ransom with a couple of coats of paint and some helpful tweaks. It is a sillier, extra colourful model of one among my favourite childhood video games.

Regardless of my complaints, I like quite a bit about it; it is received a freeform, dynamic combating system made to be intentionally damaged for chuckles. Extra importantly, it is genuinely charming a whole lot of the time. There is a feeling to a lot of it, particularly in direction of the tip, like a neighborhood theater manufacturing of Romance of the Three Kingdoms placed on by a troupe of actors making an attempt to make one another chortle.

On the finish of the day, although, I’ve to confess it wore me down. Its platforming would not work; its combating is repetitive; it has a weird energy curve; and the additional you get into it, the much less attention-grabbing it’s. My affection for River Metropolis/Kunio-kun video games pulled me by to the tip, however there’s quite a bit about River Metropolis Saga that simply doesn’t work in addition to it ought to.

[Note: Arc System Works provided the copy of River City Saga: Three Kingdoms used for this review.]





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