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Otogi: Hyakki Toubatsu Emaki aka Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors

version: jp, 1st print (includes Otogi 1 usa vers.) - year: 2003 - developer: from software - publisher: from software - format: xbox - condition: mint - rarity: slight

 

 

Otogi 1 is included in the japanese version of Otogi 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review - "When one seeks the truth, he may find that it does not exist. Instead, he is left with his own fragile soul, scarred. A fool you might say...but it matters not...it matters not." Michizane

Premise: Honestly, I have never been a fan of FROM Software maybe because their most popular RPG saga, King's Field, always left me unimpressed. Weak character design coupled with empty and unrefined 3D worlds never did much to convert me. Last year, when Otogi came out of nowhere and got critically acclaimed by the press, I still wasn't entirely sure if the game was indeed worthy of my cash. When Otogi: Hyakki Toubatsu Emaki (or Otogi 2) came out, and I learned that the 1st print came with Otogi: Myth of the Demons (US version) as an extra, I just thought it sounded like a good deal so I gave it a shot.

Otogi Myth of the Demons - Otogi is a 3rd person action slasher set in a fantasy interpretation of medieval Japan.

As soon as the title screen loads up, it becomes clear that the programmers tried to give to the game a distinct look and feel. As I entered the 1st level, Raikoh (the character you control) materializes from a whirlpool of petals…The surrounding forest populated by ancient trees and bamboos has a distinct Japanese feel while ethereal apparitions attempt to lure you into their deadly grip. And then the destruction begins. Entire rows of trees get hacked to pieces and every obstacle between you and your foes gets destroyed. The amount of damage that you can inflict is truly immense, almost akin to that of a god.

In the first few stages, all the enemies will seem to be weaklings that really stand no chance against you but as you progress deep into Otogi lugubrious world, your enemies will gradually become stronger and eventually, you will be the one that has to fight for survival. In fact, the difficulty curve tends to become pretty steep towards the end, so acquiring the right weapons and magic will become crucial to stand a chance against the nihilist Michizane, the last boss.

As you probably have already understood, the graphics in Otogi are very well done. They really take advantage of the Xbox capabilities. Maybe the most impressive moment is when you enter stage 22: Lair of fire. Heat distortion is rendered flawlessly and as time goes by, the distortion worsens as you desperately try to spot the last few enemies to annihilate!

The music sounds eerie and a bit alienating at times, but it does enhance the experience. Gameplay is very similar to Magatama, but here you have the ability to glide (or actually fly) and perform lethal combos in mid-air!

Otogi is involving and challenging even though sometimes, the enemies can feel somewhat cheap and levels can become frustrating. In particular, I am thinking of level 12: Untamed Winds where when the wind howls, you can easily get thrown out of the stage for a quick death. I got so annoyed with this stage that at one point, instead of following the standard path to the boss (having to take care of lots of baddies), I just circumnavigated the whole stage and bypassed all the enemies as I flew into emptiness for about 3 minutes. I was then able to get to the boss anyway…obviously this was a level design flaw :) Learning to fight while gliding is very important and as you play through the game, you will become pretty impressed by the amount of moves that you can perform.

All in all, Otogi was a pleasant game although I must admit I had a better time with Magatama. The 2 games have actually a lot in common (Magatama came out later and it borrows a lot from Otogi) but I think Magatama has cooler character design, cooler music and a way cooler last boss! This reflects my personal preference since I think both games are worthy picks!

Otogi Hyakki Toubatsu Emaki (Otogi 2) - As soon as the title screen appeared, I got literally blown away by the amazing effects. Droplets of water fall to form the title screen as some exotic female voice resonate in the background.

In Otogi 2, From Software improved the game in every respect and for the occasion, it created what feels and looks like a brand new 3D engine that is even more detailed and colorful than before. As if this wasn't enough, the amount of destructible stuff on screen has double if not tripled, and in some occasions, overwhelming waves of enemies will attack you from every direction. The amount of stuff thrown at the player is simply incredible.

Imagine just the following situation: You are in the midst of a 1 on 1 fight against some kind winged boss. He pulls out some nasty moves that hurt but you manage to destroy him. As he sinks in the middle of a lake, water suddenly turns red as his blood corrupts it. For a moment, it seems like you won and the battle is over but a few seconds later, armageddon is unleashed on you. Hundreds and hundreds of skeletons rise from the ground, and attack you from everywhere. Drowned in a sea of enemies, you start unleashing literally a vortex of destruction. Ray of lights and explosions rain all over your assaliants as you swing your weapon and cast magic spells in a battle that brings you close to ultimate glory. But then, from all this chaos, some stupid little skeleton clubs you on the head, and you die, miserably.

This kind of situation can often happen unfortunately, so even if Otogi2 looks good and plays well, combat feels a bit chaotic at times, and maybe relies a bit too much on luck. But it must be noted that airborne fights have rarely been implemented as carefully as in Otogi.

Flying is a big component of the game, so you better learn how to fight in mid-air quickly or else you won't stand a chance. For this reason, I would advise anybody to start first with Otogi1 and then eventually move to chapter 2 which has a lot of flying sections and combats. Technically, Otogi2 flexes the muscles of the xbox hardware. Characters are flawlessly animated while the backgrounds are often captivating both for their amazing detail and breath-taking scale.

Also, the music is excellent this time around and achieves unprecedented highs of quality only matched by Magatama's unforgettable soundtrack. The game difficulty level has been lowered in my opinion, even if Otogi 2 is still a pretty hard game to complete! I don't know what's happening but Xbox games are becoming way harder lately…

Otogi 2 is certainly a great sequel that improves many aspects of the original. Be warned though: Otogi2 has some important stuff written in Japanese like for example characters stats which you will need to increase by spending money.

The game is pretty straight forward but the language barrier can be a pain at times so I suggest getting a faq or walkthrough online to get some vital info in English. Finally, it must be noted that in this sequel, you will use a team of fighters all with unique abilities, weapons and characteristics. Moreover, the game doesn't let the player always play with the same character so it will become important to learn to use every character. This certainly adds an element of variety in an already winning formula.

Bottom line: an amazing package rich of beauty and challenging gameplay. Hardcore! 9/10


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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