TGS 2000Kengo: Master of Bushido Hands-On

Lightweight's follow-up to Bushido Blade 2 makes its way to PlayStation 2.

Lightweight's swordfighting simulation, Kengo: Master of Bushido, is playable at the Tokyo Game Show and we took some time to sit down with the game. Like the last game in the series, Bushido Blade 2, the fighting system in Kengo is realistic. This means that if you take one good chop to the neck or some other vital area, the fight is effectively over. While it's admirable to attempt to make a break from the usual fighting game system, in the past, this system has not been popular with players. As you play the one-player career mode, your statistics are kept for the purpose of building your character. If you have a penchant for attacking from behind, your character's reputation and honor will be tarnished. If you attack the enemy from a heads-up point of view, your honor rating will be much higher. Like most fighting games, you climb your way up through the ranks until you are invited to the emperor's tournament. The statistics you achieve while defeating enemies may be saved to a memory card to be used in multi-player battles and as you defeat more and more foes, you gain new abilities. This increases the incentive to finish the one-player mode even further.

New to the Bushido Blade series in Kengo is the spirit meter. If you frivolously attack your opponent without landing a blow your spirit meter continually plunges until you are no longer able to fight. If you plan your attacks carefully, your spirit meter will rise until you are able to perform super attacks. Graphically, Kengo is still obviously in the early stages of development. The blood does not look realistic at this point but it remains on your clothes and face until the end of each battle. Lightweight has included motion blur into the game when your fighter lunges quickly forward but the effect still needs some polishing. Unlike Bushido Blade 2, the frame rates in Kengo are solid no matter how much action is taking place on screen.

Kengo: Master of Bushido is looking pretty good but the fact that it fails to stray too far from the original Bushido Blade formula may be a problem. GameSpot will have more information on Kengo as it becomes available.

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