In 2002, “The Mark of Kri” garnered a cult following with minimal mainstream support. The game featured an excellent story presented through eye-catching animation, solid voice acting and innovative combat. But rather than building on the strengths of the original, the sequel just delivers more of the same.
“Rise of the Kasai” continues the story of the warrior Rau, taking place during the 10 years before and after the events in “Kri.” Once again, the story is told through voiceover and visually stunning scenes that are cut to resemble paintings in motion. The style makes players feel like they are bearing witness to a mystical legend.
“Kasai” features three new playable characters, including Rau’s sister Tati, who is now 10 years older and ready to fight on her own. While Rau is the typical brute character, Tati is quick and agile. One can also play as Rau’s mentor, Baumusu, or his fellow warrior, Griz. The levels consist of large spaces where players can work alone or with a computer-controlled partner.
But the computer becomes a nuisance because of its lack of intelligence. When confronted by large groups of enemies, the computer eliminates the threat; but in the face of stealth action, it always alerts the guards, causing unnecessary battles.
That said, “Kasai” is still a solid game. It retains the same targeting system as “Kri,” which assigns enemies different buttons to create a more strategic hack-and-slash experience. There are also several combo variants with each weapon. Still, the game feels rehashed — so much so that it plays like exactly like “The Mark of Kri” with new characters.
Nevertheless, “Rise of the Kasai” does a decent job of standing on its own, but, like its predecessor, it will remain in the shadows of better-advertised titles like “God of War.” And while “Kasai” may not be as good as “God of War,” it is definitely worth picking up for its amazing presentation, even if it just as a rental.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars