"Startegic warfare at a new level but..."

I enjoyed the original Kessen. It made me more interested in Japanese history and I finally realized what my dad said about REAL plotlines being more interesting that video game ones was true. It also made me wish I stayed awake more during history. Same thing with Kessen II. When I played Kessen II I liked it a lot. And I don't think strategic warfare has ever been taken to a higher level but it still seems as though the obvious faults of any strategy game has been branded in Kessen II as well.

Story: 8/10
There is definitely a very enthralling story. The good guy emperor (Liu Bei) gets his woman (Diao Chan) kidnapped by the evil king (Cao Cao) of the other kingdom and even with much smaller forces he risks it all to get her back. And I would've given the story a 10 but this story isn't China's Three Kingdom story, It seems to be more of Koei's story. First of all, the Three Kingdoms Period did not revolve around the kidnap of Diao Chan. As a matter of fact I'm pretty sure that didn't happen at all. And what has happened to the third emperor of the ''Three'' Kingdoms, Sun Quan? You see him once but Sun was much more than a help for Shu at Chi Bi. Second, there really seems to be no interaction between any generals except for Cao Cao vs. Liu Bei. That's pretty intense but nothing compared to that of Kessen I like the intense hatred between Fukishima and Ishida, the effort of Hide Tokugawa to live up to his father's expectations, or the intent of Yuki Sanada to avenge his father.

Graphics: 10/10
Kessen I had revolutionary realistic mindblowing graphics. Same here. Kessen II's graphics are amazing with amazingly realistic and textured backgrounds, totally realistic and detailed generals, and gorgeous attack animation.

Gameplay: 8/10
I love strategy gameplay. Instead of needing intensely quick reflexes to mash buttons on time or a mind like the creators of the game to find out how to evade gigantically more powerful enemies. In Kessen you can use your logic and it's very fun to make decisions and see how they affect your army. There are also tons of new attacks for your generals. And it's very good feeling when you actually lead a whole entire army and triumph (hopefully) over your enemy. The major downside may be you might get tired of not physically going out and fighting your enemies.

Sound: 10/10
Sound is phenomenal. Not a single detail has been left out. You can hear loud explosions when comets crash to earth, sharp cracks when swords and spears collide, or even arrows swishing through the air. Voice acting is pretty good too.

Replayability: 8/10
You will want to play the game again after you beat it with Liu Bei you can play with the opposite side of Cao Cao too. And you can play expert mode on both sides for a different ending and an extra level.

Overall, Kessen II is a noticeable improvement over the first but it still has the weak points of any strategy game.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/29/02, Updated 01/29/02


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