Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble Review (PSP)

There’s nothing manlier than beating up various kenka bancho (translation: fighting delinquents)  and becoming known as the strongest fighter in the country. And that’s what Kenka Bancho for the PSP offers its players, a chance to become the strongest street fighter in all of Japan.

Kenka Bancho is a PSP brawler series that’s pretty popular in its native Japan. It’s so popular that there’s even a movie (Kenka Bancho ~ Zenkoku Seiha) released theatrically in Japan and Asia.

Check out the full review after the break.

The series is now in its fifth iteration over there and thankfully, someone in Atlus Games decided to port Kenka Bancho 4 to North America. Here, it is called Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble; one of the finer open world games for the PSP.

Kenka Bancho casts the player as Sakamoto, a high school student on a school trip to Kyouto. There, he must prove his banchosity and badassitude by defeating the 46 other bancho in the city in order to become known as the strongest fighter in the country. Once he beats a bancho, that guy must become his peon for one week, thus becoming an ally in his conquest.

Kenka Bancho is an open world brawler where the player can decide how he or she wants to spend their time. But, since Sakamoto is a student on a school trip, he must join his class in the morning to visit shinto shrines, temples and whatnot. In the afternoon, the player is free to roam, shop, collect, and fight their way into the top echelon of Japanese Bancho.

The game allows players to customize Sakamoto’s outfits, hair, and fighting style to suit their tastes. It also features an RPG-like leveling system that lets the player customize their character’s attributes. The player can choose to play as a shabai (uncool) bancho  who attacks random civilians or uses weapons while fighting other banchos, or he/she can choose to play as a Shibui(cool) Bancho who challenges only other banchos and defends those who cannot defend themselves.

Each fight begins with a quicktime event called “smash talk” in which the player must choose the correct button in order to create the smack talk that will allow them to hit first. The fighting mechanics itself is quite repetitive and not as deep or as brutal/hardhitting as Yakuza. However, since the player can customize their movesets, there’s some enjoyment to be had chaining different fighting moves together.

One of the best aspects of the game is that it oozes a certain type of charm that hooks players and keeps them playing. Part of this is due to the quirky and interesting characters that Sakamoto meets in Kyouto.The game is actually pretty funny too, I found myself laughing at some of the lame smack talk that some characters use to pick fights with Sakamoto.

Once players beat the game once, they can import their character for another adventure with all their abilities, levels and fighting moves carried over. Or they can team-up with a friend over wi-fi to take on Kyouto in Night Out mode in which players can brawl to earn bancho soul for use in their single player campaign.

So, you want to become the baddest Bancho in Japan? Here’s your chance.



About janhutchings

Canadian Game Industry Blogger / Contributor for @Sonyrumors & @ShogunGamer / Communications and PR Professional. Voice of Canadian and Indie Gaming.

Posted on April 29, 2011, in Forgotten Treasures and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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