Otogi: Myth of Demons is held in high esteem by many, and is widely regarded as one of videogame history’s biggest sleeper hits. With visual qualities to match the best graphics of any game to date, excellent voice acting, solid gameplay, and superb level design, it is somewhat disappointing that Otogi became such a cult obscurity. However, with the sequel, Sega have successfully given Otogi’s handful of loyal fans a reason to live – again – and Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors certainly does its predecessor justice.
Immortal Warriors takes place soon after Myth of Demons. Even though Michizane has been slain, the Great Seal (the barrier between the human and demon world) is still not entirely fixed; many demons still squirm their way into the world to terrorize humanity. With the threat of a complete demon invasion becoming ever more real, a powerful female magician, Seimei, has concocted a plan to resurrect the legendary demon slayer, Raikoh (hero of Myth of Demons) to restore order in the world. Using several live sacrifices, Seimei succeeds in raising Raikoh to the living world to aid her in the battle to purge the remaining demons from the planet. From here the plan evolves into systematically annihilating all remaining demons to keep them from ever returning.
When it comes to graphics, Immortal Warriors is one of the best looking games on Xbox, rivaling even the likes of Splinter Cell and Halo 2. Each character, stage, and monster is simply gorgeous and lushly detailed, but what pushes this one over the top is its remarkable finesse. The sakura and kanji at the loading screen, the excellent character renders and the creepy monsters all mean Raikoh stands eye-to-eye with both Master Chief and Sam Fisher when it comes to the art of looking good. The voice acting is also outstanding (except for the strangely mediocre opening movie). However, aside from the assorted grunts and groans emanating through attacking or taking damage, there is only the occasional in-mission hint from Seimei and between-level dialogue to show it off.
Some people accuse Otogi of merely being a Dynasty Warriors/Devil May Cry knockoff but, be assured, while there is a similarity or two, neither Immortal Warriors nor Myth of Demons exist as ?mere knockoffs’. Each button has a singular functionary use: ?A’ executes a jump, ?B’ a standard attack, ?Y’ a strong attack, and ?X’ casts magic. Pressing ?B’ repeatedly means performing a simple, multi-hit combo, and pressing ?Y’ during the process ends the combo with a powerful attack. Obviously, you can create different combos by inserting ?Y’ attacks at different points in the stream. There are six playable characters on offer: Raikoh (well-balanced swordsman), Seimei (stereotypical magician), Sadamitsu (fast but lacking strength), Tsuna (fast and strong but lacks magic), Suetake (sluggish but great with magic), and Kintoki (big, slow, but hard-hitting). Each of the characters is unique, having virtually no similarity to their comrades in type, fighting styles and special skills, and, while it doesn’t sound like much, the incredible diversity of the characters is one of the greatest aspects of the game.
Otogi 2 also has RPG elements, including the standard statistics, level ups, changeable weapons, and magic – all of which greatly contribute to the game as a whole. As good as the character arrangement is, it isn’t the game’s best aspect. Immortal Warriors’ single greatest achievement is its incredible levels. Each one is beautifully crafted, and very, very interactive. Say, for example, you smash an enemy; they’ll fly backwards into another enemy, and they both smash into a mountainside and send hunks of rock crashing down everywhere. You can pick up an enemy in a forest and hurl them through four trees. You can attack a foe on a bridge and send him skimming across the surrounding water like a flat rock. It is a simply flawless physics engine, which is perfect for this game, and it certainly prevents it from falling into Dynasty Warriors-style repetitiveness.
Everything unfolds over the course of dozens of missions. Of course, each mission has a main objective that you need to complete in order to advance. However, not all characters are available for every stage; the plot sometimes breaks the band up into two or three groups, and Seimei is unavailable for much of the game. Don’t worry, though, after a level has been beaten, it can be replayed with any of the game’s playable characters – including Seimei. There are also many features that make each level worth playing through many times; you are graded on how thoroughly you’ve ravaged the terrain, which pays off the mindless destruction which Immortal Warriors emphasizes. Additionally, each level has a handful of spirits hidden in various locations, which can be unlocked for special bonuses. To top it all off, stat boosts and new weapons are hidden throughout the game, so that will make exploring and re-conquering the levels even more worthwhile. Once again, don’t worry because it does not get boring.
With that said – do yourself a favor – go out and pick up Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors. Its high quality action and diverse characters will keep the game feeling fresh and unique for a long time. Featuring some of the best visuals and voice acting currently on the market, it will please anyone looking for an aesthetically pleasing game. Investment in Immortal Warriors is a wise decision for any action game fan and guarantees them a good time from start to finish.