Review by KasketDarkfyre
"Large breasted strategists and rampaging elephants..."
Kessen brought a different view of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms saga by adding in plenty of large, real time battles and several likable characters revolving around a well known political struggle. Through that game, many found that the fact you had to sit by and watch most of the action didn't really settle well, and had plenty to complain about! Kessen 2 on the other hand brings more control to the player, while adding in several different aspects that weren't seen in the first. The story continues and focuses around the General Liu Bei and his love interest who has been stolen by his one time ally, Cao Cao. You'll find that the battles now range on land, as well as by sea, and all tell a rather deep and involved story that has characters coming and going as well as defecting from one side to the other depending on the choices that you make! Add in new things like magic spells, player controllable Generals and a slightly shallow political interface and you have a game that is much more of an improvement over the first!
-Game Play 8/10-
As with the first Kessen, you take control of several armies that are led by Liu Bei in an attempt to change a destiny of ancient China. You'll come across characters that range from the comical to the deadly serious, although the game doesn't always center around them, but inevelopes them into the deeper story line! In the battles, you'll have better control over what the Generals do, and you can singlehandedly turn the battle in your favor with enough attention, or lose it just as quickly if you don't pay attention. After tha battles, you'll have the opportnnity to raise the overall values of certain aspects of your armies, or gain defectors depending on the various choices that you may make! This adds in another challenge, in which you need to even out your entire army instead of making it a mass of uncontrollable mob that doesn't do anything but get themselves killed. A complete tutorial of the game controls in different situations will help to educate the gamer and ease them into the different situations that the game has to offer, so no worries here!
The control interface is user friendly, and anyone of any skill can learn how to use it. With the different tutorials that the game has to offer, you'll find that the control is fully explained to you through the first ten minutes of play. The different interfaces are also user friendly, when revolving around either specific Generals in the middle or battle, or on particular armies that you have control over! However, you may find that the amount of rushing that you have to do between the different squads can take a little time to get used to, and if you hit the wrong button, it may take you a minute to get your barings.
Visually stunning, Kessen 2 offers up to 500 characters on the screen at any given time, and it does show when you take control of the specific Generals! You'll find that the different magical attacks that you use are also very well done, and visually stunning to boot. Each amry is has plenty of detail and design, and it is easy enough to see the differences in armies that are fighting, and the different squads of soldiers each show their particular traits depending on what rank and weapons they use! There is nothing like watching a rampaging wave of elephants mowing down a stream of people to make your eyes widen.
The voice over that tells the story, and the different characters all have elements of emotion depending on their mood and otherwise, and the roar of the armies clashing is enough to make just about any gamer feel completely immersed in the action on screen! With the different defeat and victory phrases, you'll find a certain amount of realism in the game that wasn't quite there with the first. However, the amount of music in game is overshadowed by the cheer sound effects that you'll encounter!
Kessen 2 is an improvement over the first in terms of easier to use control, tutorials, visuals and sound. However, the game play really hasn't changed, and the limited control that you do have a plus, even though it really isn't too much more than the first! Strategy gamers who found Kessen to be a thrill will die for this on, but action gamers will probably stick to Dynasty Warriros 2 for their hack and slash action. With the amount of battles and different options that you can undertake and use at your disposal, Kessen 2 will keep a certain amount of people riveted, while the others will find their fill in a single weekend rental!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/10/01, Updated 10/10/01
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