Review by Master LL

Reviewed: 10/11/01 | Updated: 10/11/01

The type of battles Romance of the Three Kingdoms game series should have!

Kessen 2, no word can describe it. This is a game which KOEI fans, like myself, wish that Romance of the Three Kingdom series have these kind of battles. Basically, Kessen 2 IS a small feature of what is to become a great series in the near future for those who's into strategic type games.

How so? Read and learn.

Story-wise, it's FICTIONAL HISTORICAL. Basically it is based on the novel and past China history of the ''Three Kingdom'' Dynasty. But the storyline between Liu Bei & Cao Cao's battle for the lovely Diao Chan. Also, the ability to cast magic and natural disaster is obviously fictional (unless this is a secret art that was lost to mankind later into the future).

Gameplay, it's a combination of several different type of ''games'' that it mimics: Ogre Battle, Kessen 2 & Dynasty Warriors. First off, the game is based on stages. You have to decide on 1 of the 3 course of diplomat action which can lead from gaining more troops to gaining more provisions. After that, you have to decide on 1 of the few strategies for the upcoming battle. When battle begin, it first starts off in the Kessen 2 mode. Basically you see a large army of formation which you can control where to lead. You can change to the Ogre Battle mode which you can directly control each party telling them exactly where to go and such (gameplay freezes in this mode). Last, when encountered in battle you can directly go to Dynasty Warrior mode, which you can directly control the general to kick and slice some enemies to pieces. Please note that these modes are names I figure it's similar too and it's not the official names used in the game.

Battles can range from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on your course of actions in the battle and more. The battle itself, is VERY realistic (try doing a siege and see how fun siege is) and makes it feels like you're in the game itself!

If there is any problems, that will be the ability to micromangement. No matter which stragety you choose for the upcoming battle, you CAN NOT decide the amount of soldiers or the type of units for each generals (it's pre-set for you already). Other than this minor loss of feature, it doesn't really hurt your strategies when you battle.

Controls may take a while to get used to, luckily it'll also have a menu at the bottom to remind you of the controls, plus the first few stages will have a tutorial to teach you how to play the game (which does it real well).

The battlefield is LARGE, the siege on a castle is beautiful (high wall, huge doors to break, big town inside). Characters are defined real well also! The FMV & magic effects are also excellent in the game. Not much to complain from, but it can't hurt to add a few more details when fighting in the plains (it's just a green, green grassland.. heh).

-MUSIC/SFX- [07]
The music, although is not the best, it still fits the game very nicely. In fact, it fits
real well when in battle or in any scenerio in the game. Unfortunately, that's left to be
said about the English dubbing which some are good and others are terrible.

-REPLAY- [07]
The only 2 problems with this game is the linear gameplay and lack of sides. You can barely go anywhere in this game, after all this is a linear storyline between the battle of Liu Bei and Cao Cao. You're usually limited to one place you can choose to go.. but regardless, it's always the same path in the end. For lack of sides, there are 30 stages total, 15 each for Liu Bei and Cao Cao. After beating both sides, there is really no reason to play again unless you want to play the HARD difficulty (which is unlocked after beating both sides).

My best advice is the RENT first. If you like it, then you buy it. While beating the is within 5 days, it makes up for the plot, especially fun battles and music. If you're a Kessen 1 fan, obviously this is a game you need to buy due to it's mass improvements.

This IS the very first game I own on the PS2. I AM very proud and glad I own such a great game. As a Romance of the Three Kingdom fan, I seriously hope KOEI will put this system in the Romance series as the battles... cause not only will it feel more realistic from the battles (long and feels like you're in the battle).... the replay value will be nearly unlimited since Romance of the Three Kingdom can be different every time when trying to conquer China! Now THAT would be a perfect Strategic RPG game, *shutter* I hope my dreams will come true :P

Overall Summery [+/-]
+ Battle System (MUST HAVE as the new Romance of the Three Kingdom series' battles)
+ Historic Characters (Almighty Cao Cao, Charming Liu Bei)
+ Plot Development (some nice twists)
+ Music acting
- Only 2 sides (Liu Bei & Cao Cao)
- English dub voice acting
- Linear
- Short game (30 hours average or 1-3 days' worth PER side)

Master LL- thinks Kessen 2's battle system should be in the Romance series games! Really!

Grade Scale (01-10):
01- Avoid like plague
05- Average
10- Perfect

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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