Toku Tuesday: Kamen Rider Battride War Review

What could be more awesome than playing as your favorite Kamen Rider? Playing as all the Kamen Riders, of course. Kamen Rider Battride War (Playstation 3) seeks to fulfill that fantasy for little Japanese boys and Rider fans alike.

Released in May of this year, Battride War is an Asia-only, PS3 exclusive hack-and-slash beat ’em up from developer Eighting and Namco Bandai in the spirit of Dynasty Warriors. Admittedly, that isn’t a very high franchise nowadays to aspire to, but for the purposes of entertaining eight-year-olds, the concept is sound, and there are a lot of interesting concepts thrown in to spice things up. Before I get too deep in the review, let me make this clear: I don’t speak, read, or otherwise understand Japanese with any fluency. Therefore, I won’t spend much time talking about the story, which isn’t hard as there really isn’t much of one – just some mess about the Riders losing their memories and being trapped by some family of dimensional baddies. It makes no sense, and is clearly just an excuse to get all of these Riders together in one game. On to the review…

All the Riders…

Neo-Heisei Riders uniteAll of the Heisei Riders at least, excluding most of the movie-only Riders. About 18 of them are playable: all 14 main Riders, including Wizard in his video game debut, the 4 “Neo-Heisei” secondary Riders (Accel, Birth, Meteor, and Beast), and FangJoker is oddly included as a separate character. Each one fights completely differently from any other Rider on the roster, indicative of their respective combat styles in their respective shows. This means that Riders with multiple forms actually have access to those forms. All of them. Riders are able to switch between each form essentially at will based on how they use their forms in their series, and doing so grants them the appropriate weapons, armor, and powers. Riders who lack multiple forms, but use differing weapons, armors, and stances are able to access and switch between them in the same manner. The result is the limited feeling of being your favorite Kamen Rider. It simply isn’t quite as robust or intuitive as, say, Batman in the Arkham games because each Rider only has 2 special attacks per form/weapon, but it is serviceable. It’s a nice touch that OOO and Birth must spend coins to use their special attacks, Blade’s specials require him to properly activate his cards, and Decade can morph into any Rider whose card you’ve included in his deck before a mission.

With so many Riders, though, some will inevitably be better than others. This is a game after all. While each Rider is certainly capable in combat, a few easily stand out as being best suited for the type of combat asked of you in the game, which I’ll get to shortly. If a Rider doesn’t use weapons in normal combat, or lacks a staff or long-range options, that Rider is basically useless and a chore to play with seriously early on. That said, Kuuga, Blade, OOO, Birth, and Waizard go too hard with their high-damage strikes, long-range potential, and ability to rack up massive combos reliably and quickly.

Speaking of combos…

Battride War gameplayThe game’s story mode, Chronicle, is split into chapters further split into missions. Each mission is nothing but combat from start to finish. You are tasked with fighting hundreds of grunts from the various Heisei shows, the occasional helicopter, and, of all things, lots of hourglasses. They fit into the story someway, but, remember, the story is pretty stupid to begin with, and no one is playing this for the story anyway if we’re being honest. Each mission ends with some sort of boss fight, which is really no different from fighting any of the hordes of grunts. You level up your Riders by gaining experience points from beating enemies to a pulp and completing missions, and your completion is ranked based on several factors, most important of which are your combos, which also increase the amount of experience you get. Clearing most of the early missions unlocks new Riders for use later in the campaign, and leveling up your army of heroes unlocks their various forms and power-ups.

That’s all well and good, but it shouldn’t be hard to imagine how boring that ultimately is in practice. And since the enemies don’t make much of an effort to actually attack you most of the time, the game is pretty easy – even on hard. Combined with the sub par fighting abilities of several of the Riders, and you quickly find that level grinding and combat in general isn’t much fun or rewarding in this game. Sadly, you are forced to do just that because…


Heisei RidersAction figures to be specific. Each one also serves as a skill upgrade that you can equip to you Riders for different buffs/debuffs to use during missions. You must buy these figures from a store using Shop Points earned by completing missions. And those points are also tied to combos. Luckily, there are a few figures that provide buffs to increase your combo count and the number of coins you earn; paired with a high-combo whore like Wizard using his Hurricane Form, it isn’t hard to amass a lot of experience and “buy the bar.” Pay attention to the shop, though; sometimes items go on sale, and other collectibles are purchased there like sound effects and music you can sample in the Gallery and use to create a custom soundtrack for game play (you can even use songs stored on your hard drive if you want).

It’s Showtime!

Wrapping things up, the game features a Free Play mode that allows you to replay story missions using any Rider you choose as well as a special challenge mode called Rider Rode, in which you replay three story missions back-to-back with certain constraints, buffs, and debuffs. Aside from the repetitive combat, these two modes exasperate the other biggest issue I have with this game – repetitive, uninspired level design. There are a total of maybe six maps, and every story mission takes place on one of these maps, with no variations. Repetitive, boring combat on repetitive, boring maps dominates this game from start to finish in all three modes across 19 Riders that you must grind away for at least 12-15+ levels to unlock all of their forms… At least the trophies are easy; time-consuming, but easy, mostly low-hanging-fruit-style trophies you will pop just by beating the story and Rider Road once each on any difficulty. There are only two trophies that may stand in the way of your platinum (two that I have yet to commit to completing myself): one for driving your bike for 555 kilometers and one for racking up a total of 100,000 combos.

Kamen Rider WizardThe game plays OK and has decent graphic polish despite a few off textures and “growing” scenery at distance. The load times are pretty bad, and that’s with an install. Audibly, the game is great as nearly all of the Heisei actors return voice their respective characters. Too bad, most of the story is told with static, unvoiced portraits.  If you don’t mind putting up with uninspired game play, the chance to kick ass as your favorite Heisei Rider is pretty neat. I wouldn’t recommend this title if you aren’t a hardcore Kamen Rider fan. If you want mindless, clearly-milking-the-cash-cow hack-and slash with any depth, Dynasty Warriors is your still your best bet.


I'm an otaku, avid gamer, and electronic "musician." I'm forever indulging in the amazingness that is Japanese tokusatsu.

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