reviews\ Oct 26, 2004 at 8:00 pm

Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors - XB - Review

Since the day I signed my life away to Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I have had many opportunities to enjoy the expansion of the action adventure genre. Since those days, games like Castlevania: Lament of Innocence and Devil May Cry have received so much hype that many new titles come and go, never being given their due respect! For instance, last year Otogi: Myth of Demons was released. Though its debut had been small, its surreal and fantastic setting had distinguished it from other such hack ‘n slash titles. Regrettably, as great as the game had been, very few people followed through upon its release. I myself missed the mark and let the game slide by for nearly half a year before finally going back to it. Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors offers close to twenty hours of gameplay that should not be set aside. Its air combat is superb and character designs (Yeah, all six of them!) are immaculate.

Welcome back to the world of the unknown, where undead warriors are resurrected and demons rampage.  The story, in case you haven’t been keeping up with the series, is nothing new to the action adventure genre. Demons have invaded the city and are hunting for the holy orb, a renowned source of immense power.  By order of the Capital, the priestess Seimei, the sorcerer Suetake, and the warriors Kintoki, Sadamitsu, and Tsuna forfeit their souls to resurrect the famed undead warrior Raikoh. Empowered through the ceremony, Raikoh and his new allies must protect the mystifying holy orb at all costs while ridding the city of demons once and for all.

Pick up the controls and get ready for some button mashing goodness.  Otogi 2 is played just as most others of its kind, providing an over the shoulder camera and an ample supply of hack ‘n slash terror. Providing six unique characters, there is room for just about every style of play. Provided you prefer magic casters and dealing with your enemies from afar, stick to characters such as Suetake and Seimei. If jumping into the heat of battle and swinging massive weapons holds greater appeal, then Kintoki is right for you. Though beware, each phase is divided up into a multitude of levels and no character is permitted to partake in any more than one stage per phase.  Many stages even go as far as to restrict specific characters!

Though similar enough that switching characters shouldn’t be too much of a hassle, be prepared for the necessity to adopt a variety of tactics.  For instance, characters are specialized enough that the use of quick characters may benefit your ability to catch fleeing enemies, while more durable characters such as Kintoki will be able to take heavier hits without having to worry. Jumping is yet another distinct difference among the characters. Though all are able to dash around the stage not all are able to jump more than twice. A few characters even have the distinct ability to jump continually hindered only by the size of the rooms!

As interesting as it may sound, the aspect of the game that feels most out of place is its intricate menu system.  At the end of each battle stats are displayed ranging from the amount of destructiveness that occurred throughout the stage to the amount of experience gained. After analyzing just about every possible aspect of the scenario you just experienced, perhaps you’ll be ready to continue back to the main menu. Here you will be able to save, load, buy just about everything ranging from accessories to character attributes, equip everything and everything, and finally, when the time is right, continue to the next stage.

Though the main menu takes getting used to, you’ll be spending time here upgrading your characters and readying them for their next undertaking. Different weapons and magic can be equipped, though many of the game’s more powerful spells are reserved exclusively for Suetake.

As if the game weren’t difficult enough, prepare to spend near half an hour becoming accustomed to the Otogi controls. Perhaps the most difficult aspects of the game to become familiar with are the camera and lock-on controls. Alas, the camera’s orientation is often hard to work with and its manual rotation is far too slow. Often you’ll find yourself mashing combos and darting in directions that the camera is slow to recognize. Being swarmed with enemies and attacking those both on and off screen has been one of the genre’s basic dilemmas for some time now and unfortunately Otogi 2 is no exception.

Perhaps the game’s most distinguishable feature is its destructible environment. In fact, at the end of each stage, the player is shown a grade based upon how many and what objects were destroyed!  As for the game’s visuals, Otogi 2 thrives on its extravagant illusory art that decorates its many scenarios.  Though the voices are nothing to go crazy over, the music could be described as one of the game’s greatest assets.

Simply put, Otogi 2 is a game that deserves more than your “to play list”.  Buy it, rent it, or borrow it, Sega has proven their worth and this game merits your support.  Just don’t expect to be putting the controller down any time soon. Immortal Warriors sports six playable characters, imaginative graphics, and an amazing musical score. 

Reviewer's Scoring Details

Gameplay: 9.1
Very few games of late hold the potential to reach the heart of gamers. With the key element to each game’s success being the gameplay, Otogi comes out on top. Though the game may not be a Devil May Cry, it does include six characters for the player to experience and a great deal of top notch demon exploding combat.

Graphics: 8.5 
Alas, there is a wee bit of slowdown presented at a few of the game’s more chaotic moments, though it holds little weight when compared its dazzling particle effects and gorgeous character designs.

Sound: 8.9
The Otogi soundtracks are certainly something that should be noted. The music is comprised of what sounds to be a traditional Japanese string instrument complimented by light percussions. Throughout the numerous phases, music will depict the games mood as much, if not more so than its dreamlike graphics.

Difficulty: Hard
Otogi 2 is a surprisingly tough game. For those of you who consider themselves ‘beyond’ leveling expect some rough encounters. For the rest of us, some good advice calls for returning to previous stages and building up your character’s attributes and levels.

Concept: 8.3 
There is nothing new regarding the notion of ‘famed’ warriors defeating hordes of undead. However, the execution of the concept is rarely done so exquisitely. Graphics so surreal that they closest resemble dreams, and music that perfectly complimented the game’s desired mood. Myth comes alive and suspension of disbelief is possible as Otogi 2 captivates its player in what can only be described as a pristine execution of true legend.

Overall: 8.8
If you are looking for some sword swinging hack ‘n slash action or just something to hold you over ‘till Devil May Cry 3, than this is the game for you. With six characters each with their own unique abilities, attacks, and combos you’ll experience the best of both worlds. Whether it’s the brute strength of Kintoki and his mighty axe or the agility of Sadamitsu and her swift scythe, there is fun to be had by all and close to twenty hours to do so. Don’t let another fabulous title slide by; give Otogi 2 a try if for no other reason than in respect to its predecessor Myth of Demons.



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