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Konami is certainly no stranger to the world of anime. After developing several Yu-Gi-Oh! games, now it has decided to expand it's library to include Shaman King, the popular anime/manga series appearing regularly in the pages of Shonen Jump and on FOX Kids. The result is an interesting mix of strategy and fighting that, despite a few shortcomings, is still an entertaining experience.
These kinds of titles (namely anime licenses and odd mixes of standard gaming genres) usually end up with far more problems than highlights; and while Shaman King does falter in a few areas, it’s also wonderfully charming in other categories. The voice work, script, and localization capture a quirky juxtaposition between traditional and modern – characters use the words "dude" and "endured" in practically the same sentence, and to good effect. On the other hand, the fighting/RPG/strategy hybrid gameplay is serviceable, but shallow on all fronts. The humor and art style will charm many, but those looking for a hardcore experience in any of the game’s genres should look elsewhere.
What good is a popular anime and manga series without several video games to accompany it? While the long-running Shaman King series has already spawned numerous games spread across many different platforms, Shaman King: Power of Spirit marks the first time players outside of Japan will have the chance to play as Yoh Asakura, the mighty samurai spirit Amidamaru, as well as many other characters that you'll run across in the series. With the manga currently appearing in the monthly edition of Shonen Jump and the anime airing on Fox, Konami has deemed it time to bring the series to the United States.
Malgré des bonnes interventions sur le fond et un respect indubitable pour la série originale, le titre de Konami manque la corde qui aurait pu le tirer hors des eaux sombres du rush de fin d'année. Lassant, assez plat et surtout ne sachant pas exploiter ces idées intéressantes, il ne parvient pas à pénétrer dans le panthéon des adaptations de séries animées japonaises honnêtes. Pourtant, il se laisse suivre de manière presque agréable si l'on connaît quelque peu la série. Allez, prends ton manteau Amidamaru, on y va.
Marrying two genres with the intention of forming one game is often a serious mistake. In these situations, a developer has to worry about creating and polishing two full products and making them function harmoniously. In the case of Shaman King, Konami opted to merge the fighter / beat 'em up with the turn-based strategy. Unfortunately, Shaman King not only fails to make for a happy coupling, it also fails to really develop either genre into any sort of worthwhile experience. This lack of any credible gameplay in both departments then makes for a product that won't appeal to any gamer, but may still attract devout fans of the Shaman King fiction.
The turn-based strategy is straight from every
other title of this ilk, ever. Yoh - and later, his
foot soldiers - moves around a grid-based level seeking an advantage. When enemies come face to face, Shaman King transmogrifies into a 3D fighter, albeit a really average one. Effects are decent, but Yoh's lack of moves at the outset make for excruciatingly repetitive bouts. The action heats up on occasions when several
fighters are in the fray together, but with sluggish character movement and regular,
overlong cut-scenes disrupting any semblance
of flow, it never gets beyond tepid. Manga? Mangled, more like.