Warriors Orochi 2 Review

After many years it was finally time to jump into the second Warriors Orochi title. The first one had definitely been a lot of fun so I was eager to see how the sequel would respond. Once again this is definitely a great title. I do think there’s a bit more they could have done with the story to highlight the crossover aspect but on the whole you should be very satisfied here.

The game lets you choose between playing as the Dynasty Warrior series, Samurai, or Orochi. I went for Dynasty and it’s fun that the fire team gets to be the head fighters here. The Sun clan is always a fun team to get behind even if the leader Sun Jian doesn’t look his best this time. He is determined to keep the kingdom at peace so he doesn’t make a move against the new villains until he is effectively forced into doing so. Then he is ready for action but it all feels a bit late in the game.

With Orochi destroyed everyone is just trying to get used to living in this strange world since there appears to be no way back. Unfortunately peace isn’t something that will be maintained for long as Lu Bu has returned along with one of Orochi’s trusted followers and they intend to plunge the world into chaos once more. Meanwhile, a bunch of other villains from Samurai Warriors and Dynasty have decided to use the confusion to take over as well. It’s going to be a tough few days for the Sun clan but they have to take them all down without mercy.

The gameplay is pretty self explanatory but I’ll quickly run over it anyway. The goal of the level is to take down the enemy generals. You have to do this without letting your own men be destroyed. You have your standard attacks, power moves, and super attacks. Use them wisely as you take opponents down. As this is a hack n slash there are hundreds of opponents to defeat to the point where they are practically never ending. Never let yourself get distracted in any one area too long or your partners will die pretty quickly. I died in the first level but never after that. As long as you stay sharp you’ll be fine. It’s also worth noting that this is a rare game where you keep your EXP even when you lose a level. I was really glad to see that.

There are 8 levels in the game and on average you should complete them between 10-13 minutes. The levels feel fairly short but that’s because they are a lot of fun. Your attacking speed is a little on the slow side but you can call up your horse to move great distances when needed. Initially you’ll want to beat a lot of the minions to gain EXP but then in latter levels you can run straight for the enemy generals. Once I unlocked the 5 hit combo which burned my opponents I was definitely ready to go with a more aggressive strategy. This combo could even be used repeatedly if the opponent didn’t block the launcher move which would result in a lot of damage Without that move the levels would have certainly been a lot more difficult to navigate.

The graphics here definitely look good as expected. The character models are on point and the stages are suitably ominous. I like how everything looks, the game just has an epic feel from start to finish. It feels like a grand crossover and that’s exactly how this game is supposed to be. The character roster is also impressive although not surprising since the warrior games usually shine like this. The soundtrack is always very good. Optic Lines is the most memorable track (The name is at least something like that) but there are a lot of good tunes throughout.

Naturally there is a lot of replay value here. You can play the other story modes and really perfect your skills. Maxing out all of the characters is bound to take a lot of time as well since there are so many and level ups can take some time. I think I got my character to around Level 50 by the end though so that was a pretty reasonable jump. You’ll easily be able to find 20+ hours here by the time you do everything.

One unfortunate thing though was that in the end I beat Orochi before I could even see his little pre rendered cutscene. I had too many backed up by this point as I ran through the level so it wasn’t quite up to his I suppose. Unless he didn’t have one but I would be surprised since every other boss has one. It was definitely cool to see him there though. I’m wondering how Orochi 3 will handle the plot since I’m sure they don’t want to go for the same angle of him reviving again and yet it feels like that is what they will have to do. A lot of tough decisions there to be sure.

Overall, I am one step closer to being caught up with all of the Warrior Orochi games now. Orochi 2 was definitely a blast and I expect the rest will be as well. It’s a fairly simple/direct game so there isn’t much more to say on it. If you like the main Warrior games then of course you’ll like this one. The more you’ve played the other two series, the more you will really enjoy the unique interactions here as well. I’d like to see more interactions in future games but as it is, it was fun seeing the final boss of Samurai Warriors Katana show up here since I just beat that game the other day.

Overall 8/10

Touhou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet Review

This is my first Touhou shooter game so I’ve finally been able to start a new franchise! The gameplay is certainly a lot of fun and it is a solid game. The plot is the main thing that holds this title back, but not enough to really take any points away this time. There’s a good amount of replay value after all and that tends to help quite a bit.

So, there is a story mode, but most of the stories don’t really have anything to do with each other. You play as one of the magical girls as they go around picking fights. The fights are called Danmaku battles and in cannon it seems to be similar to the actual gameplay, but naturally it is not lethal. One girl’s story has her beat everyone up because her mistress told her that dinner would taste better after these tough battles. In the end, it all turned out to be a lie though. Another story had a girl host a tournament and then she went around beating everyone up. The others didn’t want to enter the tourney, but they had no real choice in the matter. Another girl needed inspiration for her puppet shows so she went around challenging everyone. Rinse and repeat.

The story suffered from the same problems as AquaPazza. There just were not any real interesting characters and none of the stories were particularly interesting either. There simply were not any stakes to be had here as they were all just having fun. That can work out fairly well of course, but the game didn’t do much with the concept. It doesn’t help that there are no actual cutscenes here either. There is a still image for the beginning and the end as well as quick text conversations between the characters prior to each fight. It’s just not much though. Ah well, you’re really here for the gameplay anyway.

Each character has a standard attack where you can shoot a barrage of bullets at the opponent. You really want to land as many blows as possible since the opponent can absorb the energy from the stray hits. That means that the closer they get to the bullets without getting hit, the closer they will be to a final smash attack. Aside from the standard bullets, you also have power bullets and alternate bullets. I call them all bullets, but they won’t all necessarily look standard. One character’s alternate bullet has her summon a doll which shoots lasers and one power attack has a lot of energy stars appear and blow up, which sends energy everywhere. Each character can also move in slow mode, which decreases your speed, but also allows you to absorb more energy. There is also dash mode where you can quickly move with a burst of energy and you also have access to 3 new bullets. Speed Bullet, Speed Power Bullet, etc.

Once you have gained enough energy, you may use your final smash. This takes you to a new field where you will try to land hits on the opponent. While in this mode, the opponent cannot escape and can only leave by waiting out the timer or eliminating all of your health. Not to worry though, the health that you lose during the final smash has no effect on your actual health bar. That will only change if you activate your final smash when you have exactly 1 HP left. When you reach 1 HP, all bullets vanish for a second to give you a chance to launch a counter attack. The Ultra Smashes never work on computers, but I’m sure that they would be decent against a second player. If you don’t want to engage in bullet battles for long, you can also quickly turn things into a hand to hand battle if you charge into the opponent’s circle. There, you can use 2 attacks, standard and power. Standard attacks can be blocked and countered while power attacks beat the counter, but lose to standard.

As you can see from all of this, the controls are really quite complex. There is a lot happening in the game at all times and this is certainly not a cash in. It’ll take a little while to get used to all of the controls, but you’ll get the hang of it soon enough. It’s the kind of game that is definitely a lot more fun against actual players than against CPUs though. CPUs are simply too good at perfectly dodging the bullets and predicting your every move. Not to mention the fact that they are able to defeat your final smashes in an instant. I always thought that was pretty suspect.

On a technical level, the graphics are quite good. With all of the bullets hitting the screen at once, the area always looks very colorful. The game never starts lagging up either so they did a good job with the coding. The soundtrack is very limited though so that isn’t quite as impressive. None of the themes are particularly good either so that’s something that I would like to see improve in a sequel. At this point, a sequel is certainly not in doubt so if it is licensed as well, that would be the top priority for improvement. I’d also like a better story mode if that’s possible.

Aside from Story Mode, there is a good amount of other content to play around with. There is boss battle mode, where you only fight against Ultra Smash opponents. If you can beat 8 opponents with any character, you will get a trophy. I was only able to beat 3 opponents myself when I gave it a whirl so that sounds incredibly tough. You need to get really good at the game if you want to pull something like that off. There’s also Arcade Mode, which basically seems to be Story Mode without the story. I haven’t actually tried that mode yet though so maybe there are some wrinkles to be found there.

The main incentive for playing around in these modes is definitely the fact that this game has a lot of trophies to grab. Almost all of them were listed as Ultra Rare when I last checked so they are certainly no joke. I don’t see myself getting the Platinum anytime soon as I would need to get a lot better, but it’s a fun goal to strive for. You also can’t underestimate how good simply having Multiplayer is for the replay value. This is the kind of game that you can play and have fun with at any time.

Overall, Bullet Ballet is a fun title to have. I have not played a whole lot of games like this and the one that I have played didn’t have a multiplayer option so that was completely new for me. It’s a novel concept and if you have seen the game, but weren’t sure if you should take the plunge, I recommend jumping in. You will have definitely not played anything quite like it.

Overall 8/10