Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble for PSP is one of those games that comes out of nowhere and makes you addicted to it in no time. I picked this game up on a whim since I try to support smaller scale releases from Atlus and man is it a fun game. Kenka Bancho follows a young bancho (high school bully) on his class field trip to Kyoto. On the trip you can fight all the other banchos on school trips, romance a woman or two, and randomly insult any thugs you come across. You have seven days to become the most badass kid in Japan.
Kenka is a sandbox game, the type which allows you free access to run amok through the city like the GTA titles. You can't hijack cars; but you can beat the crap out of pretty much anyone. Customization comes in the form of deciding your deliquent's wardrobe, haircut, and city of origen. Another nice feature is the ability to fight with a weapon or without one; but be warned using a weapon is not considered manly in the world of bancho and this loses you man points ...yes I am serious about that.
The graphics look like a first generation PS2 game which isn't too bad. The music is just okay, but some of the tunes are catchy. The real highlight of the game is the open endedness and the story itself. The story is very funny, giving you a slice of Japanese culture many are not very accustom to. Being a thug is supposed to be honorable in Japanese highschool and one must treat his underlings with respect or he runs the risk of being a lame bancho. Also being un-manly is grounds to not be a bancho ( such as starting a brawl without a proper insult). One of the key features in the game is the insult system used to start fights. You have a bunch of random words pop up and it is your job to put them together into a cool insult, if you fail the enemy gets the upper hand. This is pretty original and entertaining as well.
The open endedness of the game is sort of like the old Way of the Samurai titles. You pick who you battle and when as the seven day trip counts down. Your ultimate goal is to be the biggest badass and hopefully get a hot chick along the way. If you choose however your character can just run around the whole time wearing a giant banana suit dodging traffic, and (gasp) actually going on the educational trips around Kyoto with your classmates. It is all up to you.
Kenka Bancho has alot of replayability. The trip has many opportunities you'll miss the first time around and you will want to see what those are. The game becomes very addictive as you keep thinking let me beat just one more bancho, and every bancho you beat becomes your personal underling. This is a pretty rewarding system. Also a percentage meter shows how much of the game you have seen, and even after beating the game my first time it was fairly low.
If you have a PSP and love Japanese culture or manga this game is a no brainer, go get it. I think the story itself is fun enough, and the Final Fight like battle system is more than enough to satisfy most gamers. I just hope Atlus makes a few bucks for brining it overseas, lord knows everyone loves to pirate PSP games. This game deserves your money...so if you liked this
review, please do not download it like a bum.
- This isn't the first Kenka Bancho. There are actually two other Kenka Bancho games for PS2. These games were never released outside of Japan.
- One of the game's more amusing side missions has you tracking down mysterious UMA like a Kappa, UFO, and a dog demon.
- If you like the punk culture of Japanese high school be sure to sure to check out the manga, Crows or the anime, GTO.