Planned as a launch title in Japan for PlayStation2, Kessen is due on March 4, 2000. Koei let IGNPSX know that Kessen, PS2 Dynasty Warriors (Shin Sangokumusou), Soldnerschild 2, and Mahjong Taikai are all launch titles in Japan, while Kessen and PS2 Dynasty Warriors are planned to launch in North American with PS2 in the fall 2000. Kessen is also the first DVD-developed game for the system, and will arrive on Sony's specialized silver DVD disc (the PS2 CD discs are colored blue, while all remaining PlayStation discs will remain black in color).
The central concept behind Kessen is war strategy and battle. Gamers engage in one of the most beautiful game ever seen as two war-torn Japanese societies, which take place in the Warring States period of Japan's history. The player takes on the role of the Grand Commander of either the troops of Tokugawa Ieyasu or Ishida Mitsunari (choosing between four different characters), and through a series of 10 battles, the player decides the fate of Japan.
Koei has not held back in any way with Kessen, its first PlayStation2 game, as even a single screenshot tells the story. Lush, giant backgrounds with no pop-up reach far into the distance as legions of horse riding warriors gallop toward each other for hand to hand combat of the bloodiest kind. The screen-shots and movies we've already posted show just a small segment of the game (the battle), but represent a few new aspects to console gaming that have never been seen before. Koei's game enables players to control dozens of horse-bound warriors, which can be shown on screen at the same time without slowdown, have them rally into formation, charge into battle, and fight head to head, just like the old, old, old days.
The sheer number of characters on screen is one thing. That's a simple demonstration of PlayStation2's new power. The control is another. New information from Koei is both specific but vague. The feature controlling characters is called "Agent technology," and enables more than 300 characters to run on the screen simultaneously, each able to move with its own action. However, it's also believed that players will have control over one central character, and will determine what the rest of the group, i.e. army, does en masse, perhaps like characters in Warcraft or Starcraft. Perhaps the player will have even more control. The real amount of control is actually not known yet, and Koei couldn't come up with that information just yet.
So you're thinking, "What gives? Why is this any different than a high-end PC game?" Having watched the realtime gameplay battles, I was truly amazed by some of the little aspects that occurred prior to battle. When the lead character summoned the horses into formation, and they all lined up individually, each one showed different animations and make different noises, as if alive. The level of unique animal behavior animations and behaviors appears unprecedented in console, or perhaps even PC games. Some horses whinnied, while others threw up their heads and shook their manes. Others stomped their hooves, blinked, and reacted just like real creatures. None of them exhibited this behavior in any kind of systematic or obviously programmed way.
While every game on PS2 demonstrated the new system's awesome graphic power, Kessen was able to show animalistic behavior as well as scope and power. In addition to the landscapes being huge and everything moving in realtime, the graphics were also outstanding. The level of minute detail in the armor, horses, and the people themselves is truly remarkable. While our movies are a little crude, they do show what we're talking about, so do make a note of viewing them.
I think that this game will add a whole new meaning to what the PS2 console is capable of. PS2 is not your average gaimng console.
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