Kessen II Preview

Kessen II borrows its concept from the Chinese epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and it is centered on the Shu and Wei kingdoms.


Koei recently announced Kessen II for the Sony PlayStation2, which, according to producer Kou Shibusawa, is a historical fantasy drama. Kessen II borrows its concept from the Chinese epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and it is centered on the Shu and Wei kingdoms. You take the role of the Liu Bei, leader of the Shu kingdom, in his battle against his rival, Cao Cao, leader of the Wei kingdom. Although in the first game you could play as the opposing force after playing through the game once, the sequel does not let you play as Cao Cao. Koei hasn't mentioned specifics, but you can expect other hidden features after finishing the game. The Wu kingdom led by Sun Quan will appear as the third influence in the game and will play a key role in the main story of Kessen II.

Talents from all sectors of the Japanese entertainment industry will lend a hand in Kessen II. Veteran voice actors Toru Furuya (Gundam, Sailor Moon) and Makio Inoue (Captain Harlock) will play as Liu Bei and Cao Cao, respectively. Japanese idol Emiri Nakayama is the model and voice for Diao Chan, and Hinako Saeki will do voices for Queen Himiko. Respected Kabuki performer Somegoro Ichikawa is the model and voice for Zhuge Liang.

You can expect more than 40 hours of gameplay in Kessen II. In the first Kessen you played through seven stages in one game, for a total of 11 stages after you played through using the secondary character. In Kessen II you will play ten stages in one game, for a total of more than 30 stages after you've played through the game using the alternate characters. The first Kessen closely followed the storyline according to Japanese history books, but the sequel will have a more original storyline. But fret not - fans of Romance of the Three Kingdoms can expect to see key events from the epic saga included in the storyline. Unlike in the first Kessen, no alternate scenarios occur if you lose a battle in one stage. When you win a battle, though, there are different paths to take, and the story branches off.

The gameplay is similar to that in the first Kessen: You go through briefing, strategy, drama, and meeting phases, and then you enter the main battle. The strategy and meeting phases involve planning between you and the generals. The first Kessen let you plot conspiracies where generals of the opposing force might betray their loyalties and end up working with you. Though details have not been disclosed, Kessen II will include more elements during these phases. For example, the outcome during the battle phase will be affected by which general you choose to side with.

During the battle phase, Kessen II can display up to 500 soldiers onscreen - five times the number in Kessen I. The battlefield is now 3.2 square kilometers - 16 times the size of the battlefield in Dynasty Warriors 2 . While Kessen I only featured plain fields and daytime missions, Kessen II features fortresses, air/water battles, and night missions. There will be various types of terrain, such as marshes. You can now control smaller battalions consisting of about 50 soldiers each, and you can assign them individually to move and attack different targets. You can also combine battalions to increase morale and attack. And the generals become stronger as they level up. Their stats increase, and they are granted special attacks.

A unique feature in Kessen II is the fantasy-based forms of attacks, such as the eagle forces, elephant forces, and magic spells. The eagle forces are battalions equipped with wings and launched by catapults to fly across the air. And the magic spells allow certain characters - such as Queen Himiko, one of the main characters - to unleash the destructive forces of lightning and tornado. The elephant forces are what you'd expect - cavalry and other units atop huge, lumbering elephants.

Although Kessen I is scheduled for a US release this November expect Kessen II to take the higher ground with more action, drama, and fantasy. The game will not be network compatible, but the company plans to implement that in the third installment.

Kessen II is expected for a winter release in Japan.

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looks fantastic

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