A Badass Blast from the Past
Now, that we've got the basics of manhood out of the way, let's get back to beating on Bancho leaders. Beat on them efficiently and effectively. You're allowed to call reinforcements to your aid in the duel if you're pansy enough to bring a gang to a one-on-one fight, that is. Save your pride, just don’t. After single-handedly beating on said leader, s/he will admit defeat and automatically become one of your all encompassing minions that comes running to your aid at the notice of just one cell phone call. On some occasions, they'll even impart some wise words as to the location of other leaders that you've yet to find itineraries for, but if you're anything like me, it's more fun to just beat Shabazos up for the same type of information.
As if you didn't have enough on your plate with picking fights with Shabazos and challenging Bancho leaders, you also have a modest bevy of beauties who would like to take it to the next level with you. Expect to get invited to do menial activities akin to eating lunch under a cherry blossom tree or going shopping for souvenirs. However, if you're not an innate cassanova, participating in these events isn't mandatory and you can totally blow them off in favor of more intimate bonding experiences with your fellow male friends by gifting bouquets of bloody noses to clusters of Shabazos.
It's no surprise that fighting makes up a majority of what you'll be doing in this game. All the buttons on the PSP's body are utilized during fights. Not a single one goes forgotten, not even the shoulder buttons. Sadly, the fighting system's mechanics are a little rusty and often distracts from the overall enjoyment usually had by opening a can of whoop ass. Executing different moves happens at a snail's pace and the essential act of blocking was lacking in responsiveness so much that I practically never did it. It was more effective to simply run around an opponent to escape his blows instead. Also, in attempting to initiate fights with my Menchi Beam, I often found myself unintentionally targeting civilians, which in turn would lower my badass rating. The shoddy targeting system and slow to adjust camera also became a hindrance during fights in general as well as those with any of my peons present, which led me to believe that peons are utterly worthless during Bancho leader scuffles. All they do is get in the way and often hits meant for leaders become wasted on peons instead.
As mentioned earlier, there's a vast selection of moves to be learned throughout the game that enables players to determine their Bancho's fighting style. Additionally, beat down after beat down will award Bancho points that can be distributed throughout different statistics (i.e. strength, endurance, speed, defense, etc.) in order to further personalize strengths and weaknesses. The game also does a great job of allowing players to alter the appearance of their badass fighter by buying different articles of clothing and hairstyles. And thankfully, money is easy to come. Whenever you're running low on cash, all you have to do is beat a bunch of Shabazos up for their lunch money.
KBBR by nature is a very niche title and it actually came to me as a fairly big surprise that Atlus decided to localize this game for release in English. Though this game is easy to write off due to its unimpressive graphics and simple gameplay, the title's strongest features lie with its level of customizability and sandbox gameplay. The game's itinerary system is meant only as a guide where the choice of whether one decides to bulldoze through the game or enjoy the sights with leisurely strolls is completely up to the player. KBBR is a great example that shows western territories that Japan isn't only good at making RPGs, they can make entertaining unique brawlers as well.