As fun as River City / Kunio stories can be, chances are that you’re playing a River City / Kunio game for its cartoonish violence and physics. In River City: Knights of Justice, the core base of that same brand of punching, kicking, throwing and weapon-bashing is there. You whack enemies until you KO them and take their money. You can use anything you find on the ground as a weapon, even downed enemies.
Money can be used on weapons, food, quest items, armor, skill scrolls, and charms. While there are weapons that can only be bought in stores, there are also several that you can simply snatch up off the ground or from your enemies to then put in your inventory for keeps. Skill Scrolls are purchased in shops and are then equipped to activate the special attacks that they unlock. Some of the old River City classic moves are still around, like the unarmed attacks: Stone Hands, Dragon Feet, and Acro Circus. Different in River City: Knights of Justice are the edition of magic attacks. Magic attacks use up magic points and perform magic attacks that are unique to the wands or staffs being held at the time.
There’s a Save and Load system in River City: Knights of Justice, giving you three save slots to work with. You’re encouraged more than ever to save often as having your team knocked out in this game doesn’t lead to simply a loss in money. You lose the entire game and you’re brought back to the start menu, where you can load your preferred save file.
Going deeper into the whole medieval theme, River City: Knights of Justice practically encourages you to wield a weapon at all times. Around half of the game’s special skills are to be used with weapons. The glove armor type not enhances punch attack strength, but also grip, which appears to manage your ability to maintain your grasp on weapons even when you’re knocked down. This yet another change to previous games where being knocked down or even hit meant you lost your weapon onto the floor.
Also unlike other in River City / Kunio games, your character’s stat builds is 100% dependent on armor worn as opposed to a combination of armor worn and items consumed. It sort of made visiting restaurants in River City: Knights of Justice obsolete, as food simply replenishes health and magic points while doing nothing for your character’s stats. You’re also more inclined to visit hotels to fully replenish HP and MP, all while spending an immaterial amount of money.
There is a decent array of armor choices to go with, though. You can sacrifice the space for special move scrolls to wear more rings or charms to buff your character’s stats. Gloves and boots can also have special properties that can add more variety. There are definitely plenty of builds to try out throughout the game. River City: Knights of Justice also does a pretty good job at coaxing you to buy everything, just to see how certain moves, skills, and abilities play out.
Acquiring the money to buy all kinds of things is actually not much of a grind in itself. You don’t have to simply spend hours smacking around the same enemies over and over again to farm their drops. There are a number of side quests to tackle giving you either items or monetary rewards. Those side quests usually involve either fetching items or beating baddies at specific locations, which each of those types of quests not taking too much of your time. Devote enough time to side quests and you have yourself plenty of money to experiment with. The only downside to questing is that you will find yourself talking to the townsfolk over and over again just to see if the main story’s progression unlocked something new. There’s no real hint as to when this happens outside of you revisiting people in person.
Continue onto Gameplay and Final Thoughts…