Throwback Thursday Review: Kamen Rider Hibiki PS2

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HJU is back again this week with our Throwback Thursday game review series. This week we take a look at my old review of Kamen Rider Hibiki on PS2 from 2006. Did Hibiki continue the tradition of Kamen Rider fighting games, or did Bandai improve? Read on to find out!

Kamen Rider Hibiki
System: Playstation 2
Developer: Bandai

Introduction

Become an Oni and fight the evil that is plaguing Japan. Have your trained enough to fight? Grab your drumsticks, guitar, and trumpet and prove it!

Gameplay
While still a fighting game, Hibiki is a departure from the last two Rider fighting games (Blade & Faiz) as Hibiki is more of a classic 2D fighter type game than the sudo-3D in Blade & Faiz. RenderWare (the developer of Blade & Faiz) was not used on this game. And while the character models on the previous games were very nice to look at, the movement overall felt a little stiff. Not so w/ Hibiki. All characters move fluidly yet still look exactly how they are supposed to. Gone are the two or three button system of the previous games (attack, special, & block). Now there is a full range of button pressing which opens up a TON of combos you can pull off while fighting. Since a lot of the fighting is done 2 on 1, opponents can actually get behind you so in this game you have the ability to face left or right. Doing so created the need to add a ‘block’ button as pressing back on the controller would no longer work. Also each button does not represent a single type of attack (‘X’ for punch, ‘Circle’ or kick, etc). Instead each button represents a different range of attacks. Although ‘X’ usually involves the Oni’s weapons somehow, and by pressing ‘Circle’ repeatedly goes into a crazy combo.
Also when your health gets low (about 3/4) a disk animal symbol will appear in the top left or right corner of the screen. By pressing ‘R1’ you can summon a few friends to help attack or just get your opponent off your back for a brief few seconds.

Okay so the standard fighting is one thing, but what about facing the BIGGER monsters that are in Hibiki? Well, I’ll get to that in a moment.

Graphics
Right at the beginning, you see to baddies running in the woods…chased by Hibiki…cutting to CGI of the various Riders attacking w/ their instrument weapons…all until Hibiki finishes running and stands, quite heroically, atop a cliff. While not the bigger, spot-on character models by RenderWare, you can clearly identify everyone in Hibiki. And since the each character is not so graphics heavy, this lends itself to the characters being able to move a lot quicker and with a lot more grace.

Game Modes
Story Mode-
Hibiki is always who you start with, and it’s usually against the very same spider type evil that was in the first couple of episodes. After beating the bad guys in a regular old fighting game style, you take on the Monster “child”, fighting the beast at first (like normal) till you drain their health about 3/4 of the way. Then you go in for the kill. After a cut-scene of you getting your weapon ready, it now becomes a timing game where you have to press a button when a rider symbol enters a circle in the middle of the screen (ala- classic music beat style games). By completing this task, you will concentrate and give the monster the final stroke and blow it into a million pieces of confetti.
Playing through story mode is how you unlock all the other hidden characters, so you’ll have to replay this mode again and again, but each time is a little different, with other characters you get to play with.

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1st Player 1 Mode-
Here you can (at first) pick between the first three riders; Hibiki, Ibuki, & Todoroki. After they are unlocked, you can eventually also pick Zanki, Danki, and 3 others that I won’t spoil.
Playing this mode is pretty much just 5 rounds of straight up fighting 5 different opponents.

2nd Player 1 Mode-
Here you can pick all the characters that you’ve unlocked (along w/ bad guys) and then pick your opponent for a couple rounds of action against that opponent.

1st 2P Mode-
This is straight up fighting between you and a friend. Each person picks a character and then have at it in a 3 round contest.

2nd 2P Mode-
Just like the 1st 2P Mode, although now you can pick 2 characters to duke it out against a friends chosen 2 characters.

?????-
This mode remains unlocked until the end of the game. I won’t ruin what it does right now.

Gallery-
Every Kamen Rider game has it and Hibiki is no exception. Unlock snapshots from the show with each completed ‘Story Mode’ session and come here to look at the cards & hear the actors talking.

Options-
Self explanatory.

Conclusion

Well, like the other Kamen Rider fighting games, Hibiki isn’t too incredibly hard, I was able to unlock everything in about 2 days worth of playing (a couple of hours each day), but FUN all the same. All the combos and how fast the characters move really is a breath of fresh air compared to the stiffness of Blade & Faiz. Also the added ‘Beat Style’ gameplay in ‘Story Mode’ is pretty fun and really makes you feel like you’re playing the show. All the cool Hibiki music is in here too, and blends in so well that it never gets annoying like most video game music does after awhile.

In addition to the Hibiki disc, this game also includes a PS2 BONUS disc for a Taiko drum game that was released in Japan. Since I don’t have that game, I’m guessing it’s the same type of Taiko drum game only w/ Hibiki’s music instead of J-Pop or whatever music was in the other game. Definitely a bonus if you own the other game as well.

All in all Hibiki will make a FINE addition to your Kamen Rider PS2 collection.

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