Warriors Orochi (Xbox 360) review
"Warriors Orochi is a Japanese boy's craziest fantasy come true. It combines the greatest Chinese heroes from Romance, the strongest Japanese warriors from historical samurai epics, and mashes them all together in a battle against SERPENT WARRIORS FROM SPACE."
Video game companies have been milking Romance of the Three Kingdoms for over twenty years. Of these companies, Koei has been the most successful. They've been so successful that, although Japanese fans know better, I wouldn't blame Western gamers for thinking Koei invented the franchise.
Truth is, Romance of the Three Kingdoms was a serial work of historical fiction, penned by Luo Guanzhong back in the 14th century. It took actual figures from China's "warring kingdoms" period and creatively embellished their legendary personalities. Romance's larger-than-life approach to history was immensely popular across all of Asia, and inspired several artists to adapt the story into manga form. It also inspired countless Japanese authors to pen similar novels about their own homeland's "warring states" period. Both Romance and the samurai epic -- stories with different settings but similar characters -- remain enormously popular in Japan.
However, even though such novels are barely known in the West, Koei has insidiously laid the groundwork for American pop culture conquest! Every year, manly brawler fans can count on a new episode in the Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors series -- games that capture the sweeping battles, political intrigue, and fan service cameos of their literary inspiration. Even though the series began as a simple one-on-one Playstation fighter, most notable for the scene of one guy eating his own eyeball, it quickly ballooned into a chaotic blend of "one man against hundreds" third-person action and experience-driven level grinding. Players select one warrior from an assortment of dozens, and then slice through officers with fancy names (and throngs of their nameless underlings), while assisting allies who are visible on the playfield... allies fighting their own desperate battles. It's exciting and, in its own subtle way, educational. Although highly exaggerated, the events depicted onscreen could have actually happened.
In no version of our world could Warriors Orochi have actually happened.
Quite simply, Warriors Orochi is a Japanese boy's craziest fantasy come true. It combines the greatest Chinese heroes from Romance, the strongest Japanese warriors from historical samurai epics, and mashes them all together in a battle against SERPENT WARRIORS FROM SPACE. Basically, the demon god Orochi has warped time and reality, plunging heaps of Chinese and Japanese soldiers into one messed-up world.
Staff review by Zigfried (September 24, 2007)
Zigfried likes writing about whales and angry seamen, and often does so at the local pub.
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