Review by Bumper347
"A VERY good sequel to the orignal, does it proud"
Kessen 2 is a real-time war strategy game, involving a dramatic remake of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story from KOEI's (the game's designer, by the way) previous Three Kingdoms games and the Romance of the Three Kingdoms book by Luo Guanzhong. This remade story centers around Cao Cao and a much-younger-than-we're-used-to-seeing-him Liu Bei. They both have their traditional aides and generals, but there's a number of made-up people in this too. On to the review:
Gameplay(8/10): Gameplay is generally pretty good in Kessen 2. Thing is, it may look intimidating at first when you first start a new game, and the tutorial starts up. As long as one pushes all the way through the tutorial at the start of the game, they'll be just fine. However, this intimidating tutorial might scare away some folks.
Of note is the different types of battles in this game. Regular battles, sieges, and naval combat all have differing characteristics to them. Sieges, for example, require you to bust through gates, as the enemy unit on the other side annoys the assaulting unit with rocks and barricades the gate.
Very noticeable early on is the experience and fame system. As generals participate in battles and win, knock down gates, and perform various other tasks, their fame and experience increases, resulting in soldier increases and the learning of new formations and attacks. Very good system.
One last thing with the gameplay is with the actual special attacks generals perform on the field. They can only be performed when the unit is engaged in battle, and they have areas of effect within that battlefield. This creates a lot more interactivity with them. My only gripe with specials is with the 'Raid' attack. All you have to do is run into enemies and they go down, but I wish there was a little more button mashing involved in that. In the battlefield, too, you can take control of any general on your side and run around and hit enemies. too bad when you hit them, they just keep getting up.. kinda irritating.
Sound(8/10): I don't have so much to say here. Probably the worst element of this game is somewhat poor voice acting. It's tolerable, but there's lots of room for improvement. However, I feel it's made up for by the effects on the field, especially the spell sounds, at least for me, personally.
Graphics(9/10): Quite well done. While the details on the soldiers haven't seen much improvement from the original Kessen, almost everything else has. The generals look ever so much better, even in battle. This is especially true when they nail a lot of their special moves, particularly dueling and raiding. The spellcasters and their spells look awesome! You'll love it when you unleash a spell for the first time and watch the results. Totally awesome.
Equally great are the cutscenes accentuating virtually every part of the story. They look stunning, and very well created and directed. Really something special.
So, only real quirk I have with the graphics is that the details on the soldiers could've been a lot better.
Replay Value(8/10): This is a lot better compared to the original. More stages, and playing at higher difficulty levels is somewhat rewarding. Beyond that, however, not much to speak of. Other than just playing the game differently, anyway.
Story(10/10): Amazing! Nothing short of amazing. KOEI took a wonderful established story, remade it, and came up golden. They even dared to throw in a fair bit of comedy, and a number of brand new faces on both sides. It's familiar enough for most fans, but different enough for newcomers to really get into. Really refreshing.
Well, I suppose we've come to the end of my first review. Hope you enjoyed it!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/27/02, Updated 05/27/02
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