The original River City Ransom is over 25 years old now, but remains a well-known and loved series in Japan. Unfortunately, it felt like the series was shunned in the west for years until Natsume started bringing it back recently much to the chagrin of gamers. Kunio-kun’s latest adventure is perhaps the strangest yet in River City: Knights of Justice. This eschews the modern day Japan aesthetic for something much closer to a fantasy RPG with knights and kingdoms.
Say goodbye to Riverdale and hello to Riverandia. The game begins after a Crystal Tower has become enveloped by darkness – a sure sign that evil is afoot. As things turn to the dark side, a hero emerges as the one who will help save this realm from total destruction. Wouldn’t you know it but it’s Kunio and his pals who have apparently been transported to a totally different world. That’s effectively how the gameplay works out as well.
Even though it may initially appear like a JRPG, the gameplay is still pure River City 2D beat ‘em up goodness. The main difference is that now you can equip yourself and buddies with swords or magic rather than picking up random garbage from the street. The silliness doesn’t stop there. Instead of bringing the beat down to thugs or high schoolers, you’re now fighting against RPG-style enemies such as knightly enemies or even zombies in a graveyard. While there are some modifications to the formula, it’s safe to say this is primarily a reskin of an otherwise standard entry into the series.
The main RPG aspects of River City: Knights of Justice come in the form of quests. There will be over 100 quests included in the game for you to complete. Of course, you can also gain allies along the way to help out. As characters talk to you, and as you make decisions, there shall be occasions that require a choice. These choice points are important because there are actually multiple story paths. As such, your choices and actions actually influence where the game goes by the end.
It’s hard to keep from smiling when playing River City: Knights of Justice. It just seems so weird to have the visuals of a JRPG mashed with beat ‘em up gameplay that is incredibly familiar with series fans. Still, the match does work. Some have definitely wanted to see more fantasy-styled weapons in River City before. Others will certainly enjoy using magic to make enemies barf. Of course, the multiple story paths ensure that the most diehard of fans have at least one reason to replay the game.
Are you intrigued by what River City: Knights of Justice brings to the table? Fortunately for you there’s hardly any time to wait before playing this game at all. The release date is June 20 for 3DS as a digital exclusive release. Sorry, but the original Japanese version was an e-Shop exclusive so this version is as well. Be sure to show your support if you’d be interested in a retail release, which many fans have already suggested to Natsume.