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The game has its charm when you start but when you get near the end of the game you start to see the differences in how the stories are handled and how the difficulty of the game changes. In the beginning of the game, you are slowly learning the gameplay mechanics of the controls. When I first played, I thought, “wow this is an innovative way to attack enemies”. Without a doubt, the analog stick works well for multiple attacks. The problem is the fact that it works well only in those particular areas of gameplay. Then, as you progress through the game, the multidirectional controls become a double edged sword.
The analog stick was used for a variety of things such as to picking up weapons, grabbing a SINGLE enemy, opening doors and, finally, aiming your gun at the enemy during gun scenes. The difficulty stems from the hero character moving around the screen along with his attack direction constantly changing and, in some cases, keep you disoriented.
During the first half of the game, these transitions were not a big deal since the enemies were not as challenging nor as plentiful. However, as you proceed towards the 2nd half of the game, the number of enemies attacking you are increased to ridiculous numbers. This is especially true as you reach near the end of the game. Add to the fact that the enemies attack faster and you’re in for some serious frustration.
On a more lighter note, one of the nice details in the game that shines through is the various styles of attack that most of the baddies come in making use of a lot of Martial Art styles throughout the game.
Unfortunately, that gets overshadowed by the insane number of enemies that constantly storm you. This begins to wear thin despite the variety of the enemies and their fighitng styles. There are some notable parts of the game that are worth mentioning. One sequence had you control the character while looking behind the scope of an enemy sniper rifle while another stage makes use of some stealth mechanics ( in a factory) in which you are avoiding the guards. While the variety of the levels sound nice, you find most the stealth mechanics boil down to flashlight patterns as opposed to artificially intelligent guards that are aware of their surroundings. A guard’s dead comrade is not as noticeable as a flashlight on your face – to which the guard radios in his buddies and the game over cutscene ensues.
This kind of gameplay takes you out of the moment considering that you’ve just kicked the asses of 50 guards prior to meeting the ones with flashlights. A little weird since taking on a couple guards are no different from taking on a couple of goons. None of the guards even have guns. Just flashlights. If anything, its only redeeming merits come from finishing a game that will test your patience to its limits.
While there may be many save/continue points which will help alleviate some of the frustration, its mediocrity comes from its repetition of fighting numerous baddies sprinkled mostly a light touch of diverse levels. Instead of providing a challenge in which the hero is presented in new situations, the hero is simply bombarded with more guards with flashlights, more gunmen, and more enemies on the screen. This game does have a few unique bosses and unique fighting controls but at the end your left wondering if they could’ve added a bit more to make it pretty good.
Rise To Honor is best left for Jet Li fans who are looking to see the man in various forms of media, which now includes a PS2 game. But for those looking for a more a more memorable brawler hoping to for something a little deeper than say, The Bouncer, should look elsewhere.