Everyone has heard of Jet Li, mostly from his work both in Hong Kong and here in the States for being a master of martial arts. Now when you think about it, it would make a great deal of sense to create a game after him. I mean everyone loves the martial arts titles (I know I do anyways), so when SCEA announced this title early last year I was really excited about it. The game has got a good deal of hype surrounding it, and now it has finally been released for the PS2? So can Jet Li rise to honor, or will it just fail miserably, read on to find out.
Rise to Honor is presented in a movie fashion where Jet Li plays Kit Yun, an undercover cop. The story takes place in San Francisco where you are off to go and rescue Boss Chiang’s daughter. Unfortunately for Kit it seems like everyone wants to stop him from reaching that goal and throughout the game you will be fighting your way through the game in order to reach that goal.
Without reading anything up on Rise to Honor, you can already pretty much guess that this is going to be an action beat-em up title that will involve you as Jet Li running around environments beating up enemies in order to reach your final destination. Rise to Honor features both hand to hand combat combined with using guns, these two are the weapons of choice throughout the game and it stays like this throughout.
The control scheme for Rise to Honor takes on a "different" approach from most other titles. The left analog stick is used for moving Jet Li around the environments and the right analog stick is used for attacking. Moving the analog stick in any direction will cause Jet Li to attack in that direction, this control scheme although having a bit of a learning/getting used to period does work well when you get to fighting multiple enemies. At first I will be honest, I despised this control scheme, but it does grow on you, and once you do get the controls down the game at least becomes a little bit more enjoyable before, but not much more.
Along with the ability to attack enemies you can also block, grab, counter-attack, and pick up adrenaline. Blocking can become key in the later parts of the game, but by far the most important tool in this game that you truly need to be successful in Rise to Honor is the counter attack. Once you get that ability down and mastered you will have no problem making your way through the levels. The adrenaline boost is also an interesting aspect to the game where Jet Li goes crazy and unleashes a ton of different moves, leaving the trails behind him, which becomes bullet time when using the guns.
While all of this probably sounds great on paper, things start going bad right from the start of the game. The biggest issue is that you have no control what so ever on which combo you will perform, that has already been chosen for you when you decide to attack. Now I don’t know about you, but I really would like to know what type of attack I am doing before I press the button, but unfortunately that is not the case in Rise to Honor. As we look at the combat it was truly made for fighting multiple enemies at a time. Well that’s great, but when you are in a one on one fight the game gets really frustrating to control. It’s really hard to lock on to one enemy and try to just pin point your attacks with the control scheme that they give you.
The gun levels are much more enjoyable then the fighting missions, but they aren’t without there flaws either. Everything about the gun modes feels so unpolished that it’s really hard to enjoy what Sony was trying to bring us with Rise to Honor. You are given unlimited ammo so if you’re smart you can just keep your finger on the trigger and run through the levels.
Overall the gameplay of Rise to Honor isn’t anything horrible, it’s just disappointing. The biggest problem the games are it’s whacked controls that really caused me quite a few headaches throughout the game. The game does have a nice flow to it, but the gameplay just doesn’t hold up it’s half of the deal, which is why Rise to Honor is just a decent playing game.
Probably the best feature of Rise to Honor is not the gameplay, but the graphics which have been done quite nicely throughout the game. There isn’t any one part that truly stands out about Rise to Honor’s graphics, other then that it stays pretty consistent throughout.
None of the environments are running with a tremendous amount of detail, but rather all of them look good throughout. Each level really does look different from the last, which means you won’t feel like your playing through the same level over and over again. The character models fall along the same lines as the environments, things are done nicely, but they aren’t filled with a ton of detail, just done to the point where no one can complain.
Overall Rise to Honor is a good looking action title that does a nice job of staying good throughout the whole title. This is the one category in the review that you can’t complain about.
The one thing about third person beat-em up action titles is that the main goal of these games is to be fun. And unfortunately although Rise to Honor does show signs of being fun throughout the title, it really never goes much farther then that. The game is just frustrating, because you really don’t have much control of what is happening. And speaking of controls, the controls of Rise to Honor really hinder the game’s performance, which means that you will be spending a lot of the time with this game chugging down Advil.
Rise To Honor does do some things right, but unfortunately there is still plenty of room for improvement. The controls really started to wear me down, and the Gameplay can get a bit repetitive. On the flip side the combo’s turn out looking really nice and fighting with the guns is quite fun. Overall if you’re in desperate need of a third person action title then you should go rent Rise to Honor, if not you can probably afford to pass this one up.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.