One of the least talked about and underappreciated games in 2003 was Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors, the sequel to another media-lacking title a few years prior, Otogi: Myth of Demons. This explosive 3rd person hack-n-slash title brings a lot to the table that others in the genre don't, and that's true depth.
Everything from the story and characters to the creatures and environments themselves are all pulled together into a beautiful, poetic extravaganza that keeps you glued to the television set, leaving a flood of saliva as you carry your 5 warriors to battle against demons, ghouls, skeletons, and other nasty things that go bump in the night across 27 stages (and numerous bonus stages) that gives you dozens and dozens of hours of excitement and entertainment.
Like its predecessor, Immortal Warriors is set in Japan and steeped in real-life folklore and mysticism. While Raikoh, the famed undead warrior from the original game, “Otogi: Myth of Demons”, fought valiantly and defeated scores of demons, he was not able to vanquish them all before returning to his grave.
The demons have now resurfaced from hiding places within the sacred Capital, and they are ready to attempt ultimate domination once more. In response, five brave warriors ritualistically take their own lives to resurrect Raikoh. The ritual fulfilled, Raikoh rises along with the selfless warriors and with their individual mastery, and they wage war on the evil demons.
The playable characters include Raikoh (the sword-brandishing balanced fighter from the first game), Kintoki (a slow but powerful axe-wielding heavyweight), Tsuna (my personal favorite, a duel-sword wielding wolf with an attitude), Sadamitsu (the weak but fast-moving and high-combo female of the group), Suetake (an odd-looking man with a wooden wheel as his weapon and the ability to jump indefinitely), and Seimei (the great sorceress and leader of the group who can inflict great damage with both attacks and spells with the help of her fans). Every one of these characters have their own strengths and weaknesses (for example, Raikoh is probably the best choice for the beginners, while Seimei should be left to the veterans for now).
The graphics in this game are bar none the greatest you will see among on this generation of consoles, too. From beginning to end, players will face an onslaught of some damned beautiful visuals, with a close attention to detail given to every tiny speck in the environment that players can’t find anyplace else. Everything from character models to enemy and level design really shows what the new engine for this game is capable of producing.
The audio itself really adds to the atmosphere. The music was entrancing, with mysterious melodies in the background bringing a haunting focus to the chaos around the player. The taiko drums mixed with the plucking of a Koto instrument and the soft, drifting female vocals brings real immersion to the game itself. The sound effects don't disappoint either; whether it is the thick sound of an enemy being struck or the sound of them crashing through a wall is enough to make anyone shed a tear in the beauty of it all.
Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors happens to be one of the finest games to be released during the Xbox’s lifespan, and is backed with amazing graphics, smooth animation, and beautiful carnage, altogether improves upon its predecessor in nearly every way deemed possible. The consumer will even be entertained long after the game has been completed, thanks to its numerous unlockables and great replayability (after finishing the game the first time, the player can activate “2nd Play”, which lets you replay the game from the beginning with the items and levels you acquired your first time through the story mode.
It is a worthy addition to any RPG fan’s collection. Although the combat isn’t as complex as one might want it to be, it offers up just enough satisfaction and thrilling excitement to warrant the purchase. Currently, you can find it for about $30 in the stores, but you have a much better chance of finding it in a used gaming store for around less than $20. This is gaming bliss at its finest, so don’t let it slip through your fingers. You owe it to yourself to play this game.