Console owners looking for experiences that recall the bloody days of medieval China and Japan rarely need to look further than KOEI’s impressive portfolio. The long running Samurai Warriors and Dynasty Warriors series, now in their third and fifth iterations respectively, put you in the thick of the epic and legendary battles of the ages, as a single hero whose high deeds can change the course of great battles.
For those who wish to try their hand at generalship, there has always been the Kessen series. The first game, released in 2000 on PS2, charged the player with the task of making the Shogunate of the Tokugawa dynasty a reality, or alternatively preventing them at all costs from achieving this destiny. Design Lead Koh Shibusawa wanted to create an ‘interactive war movie’, and Kessen’s combination of real time strategy and cinematic cut-scenes made the game a satisfying play. Kessen II brought a rather more fantastical slant to the game’s premise. As well as marshalling forces five times the size of those in the original, the player could make use of magical attacks, elephant cavalry and elemental attacks, including lightning strikes and meteor showers to defend the mythical land of Xu.
In Kessen III, the action once more takes place in historical Japan, with legendary swordsman and general Nobunaga Oda the chief protagonist. Impressive pre-rendered sequences take a front seat once again, with two hours of cinematic cut-scenes, and 3D voice-acted battle analysis after the struggle. Content is doubled from Kessen II, with more battlefields, officers and special skills, and you can customise the appearance of your army and officers.
The impressive Crowd Engine allows you full real-time control over your mighty forces, as you attack and defend where appropriate over the vast battlegrounds. Astute generalship and timing will allow you to conquer powerful enemies. So, strap on your armour, buckle on your sword, and prepare for a meeting with destiny.