|Release date:|| March 29, 2001|
|Game modes:||Single Player|
Kessen II (決戦II) is a strategy game based on a highly romanticized Three Kingdoms era. Like the previous title, the producer wanted to make an interactive film that the players could enjoy from several different angles. He particularly strove for an "original historical fantasy" as most of the events in the game do not follow the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel. This move was met with mixed impressions as most fans were expecting the quasi-historical approach that the first title took. According to the game's development blog, the main theme of the story is "love and battle".
To distinguish itself from its predecessor, certain characters were voiced and modeled after idols or media icons in Japan. The most well known figure for audiences outside the country would probably be Hinako Saeki. The game adds a contemporary touch and is less archaic than the first game.
The following is taken from the game's prologue:
"All things are Yin or Yang, created from two essences. The world of man is ruled by the Mandate of Heaven's Will. When the Mandate is absent, kingdoms collapse and a turbulent age begins. Calming this disharmony is the mission of the one who is chosen by the Mandate. The sun is setting on the Han Empire, which has reveled for 400 years of prosperity. Throughout the land, catastrophes abound, rebellions multiply; the divine rule falls. Thus begins the turbulent age of rival warlords. The child emperor, lacking both the power and the experience to manage royal affairs, entrusts the Imperial seal, the symbol of the Mandate, to one woman. Fate now calls forth a new hero..."
Whilst fighting to defend his home, Liu Bei is saved by Cao Cao's timely reinforcements. On whim during their victory banquet, the two generals have their fortunes read by a prophet named Himiko. Diao Chan, Liu Bei's lover, was also asked to attend. His oracle read, "Heaven is beyond grasp. The woman of destiny brings ruin." Months later, Cao Cao attacked Liu Bei at the capital to kidnap Diao Chan. Barely escaping with his life and only having a handful of loyal men by his side, Liu Bei declares war to save his beloved.
Losing his mother from childhood, the once gentle Cao Cao forged himself to be a cruel tyrant bent on world conquest. Though enemy troops may surrender to him, he refuses to allow them mercy. He meets Liu Bei's army on the battlefield and they share a shaky alliance. Himiko foretold his fortune as "The Mandate of Heaven is with you. The woman of destiny will change your fate. There is no other way." Knowing the true message behind his oracle, Cao Cao kidnaps Diao Chan months later to learn the Imperial Seal's location.
Players begin the game on Easy with Liu Bei's story. Directly following Shu's ending, Cao Cao becomes the main hero on Normal difficulty. Once both stories are cleared, the player can choose to replay either scenario on a harder setting. Each story has a time when it experiences a three way split simultaneously, asking the player to choose one to follow. It happens twice in Shu and once in Wei's scenario. Though the results of the battles generally remain the same, extra characters or troops can be unlocked based on the path the player chooses.
If either scenario is finished on Hard, a bonus battle will be unlocked after the last stage and the accompanying cinematics are basically the game's epilogue. Additionally, losing the last story battle depicts the "bad ending" of the game.
As before, the game is basically split into three sections.
The time when the leaders can check on their army's status based on troop strength, supplies, and technology. Three generals propose an idea for the army to carry out and the player is asked to choose one. Suggestions range from farming for more supplies, killing beasts to increase fame, or inventing new weapons for battle. Envoys can also be sent to add a general to the army's ranks. Other strategies can damage the opposing army's morale or supplies. Some policies' effects can only be seen in battle.
Story cutscenes take place before and after this stage.
Battle planning stage. Generally, three generals from the army will report on the enemy's position, the conditions for victory and defeat, and a strategy to win the day. Units for each army are predetermined and cannot be changed. However, their placement can be determined based on the strategy chosen. Strategies can also implement traps, ambushes, and various deceptions to ruin the foe on the field.
Unless the player orders them to do otherwise, each general will carry out their missions according to the chosen strategy. Movement is different in this installment as armies can be individually controlled by the player through the analog stick. Friendly armies can no longer pass through one another and must maneuver their men around. Additionally, they no longer suffer from fatigue. Other changes from Kessen are as follows:
- Players can control generals during encounters with the enemy. From their general's viewpoint, they can lead a battalion of men and calm confused troops.
- Each general can have secondary generals in their army. The leading general serves as the name for each unit.
- Officer skills can only be done while a player is personally controlling a general. After selecting a skill, each move has a set attack range with an adjustable aim. These skills are more damaging than normally attacking and can be "leveled up" based on the officer's stats. Used skills need time to regenerate itself for another performance. Raid, originally a damaging morale tactic, turns into a number and morale damaging move. The player controls the general who wants to stampede through enemy troops and it can result in the loss of thousands for the opposing army.
- Duels can be refused and initiated by the player. They happen in real time and cannot be skipped. Special introductions can occur if the generals are personal rivals and the victor gains a significant morale boost.
- Magic is a new officer skill that can be performed by select units.
- Though armies can be tens of thousands strong, morale is often the deciding factor for routing an unit. An army of 200 can stave off 10,000 men if the general is skilled and their morale is higher. Defeat by numbers, though possible, is a rarer occurrence.
- Surrounding an enemy confuses them and decreases morale. Usually, a maximum of four units can attack an opponent at once. Additional surrounding units merely lower enemy morale with their presence.
- Formations can now be changed on the field so long as the unit is not engaged in battle.
- In some battles, generals will be granted with a unique invention such as arbalests or cannons. They will automatically use them when the conditions are met.
- Storehouses are present on the field. Allies who stay close to them will regain their abilities and morale at a quicker rate. Losing a storehouse results in a great drop in morale for the affected army. Destroying storehouses is also the easiest way for an officer to gain experience to learn more skills.
- Castle sieges and naval battles are added. In sieges, players often need to take a castle by breaking down its gates. They can also invade the castle by climbing over the walls and using the stairs to descend. Naval battles often restricts certain officer abilities and limits engagements to one enemy at a time. If an ally is surrounded by two or more enemies, they will not be able to intercept and troops will be muddled.
- Aside from the final confrontation, players are allowed to rebound from defeat and can retry the battle until they win. Experience earned from their previous attempt will be kept.
- Battle of Xu
- Battle of Ru Nan
- Battle of Bo Wan Po
- Battle of Chang Ban Po
- Battle of Chi Bi
- Siege of Cheng Du
- Battle of Tong Gate
- Battle of Mt. Dinjun
- Siege of Fan Zheng
- Southern Campaign
- Battle of Tian Shui
- Race at Wei Xing
- Defense of Chen Cang
- Campaign Against Xi
- Battle of Wu Chang
- Wei-Shu Conflict
- Battle of East Lau
- Battle of Chang Zheng
- Meng Huo parodies a dance done by Teruzumi Akashi in Kessen. Unlike Akashi, the king congratulates his men for the workout and leisurely moves to quit the field. In response, his wife beats him with a harisen.
- Puma makes a cameo as one of Zhuge Liang's gadgets. Zhang Fei picks him up and marvels at how the toy can move by itself.
- Gan Ning in his Dynasty Warriors 2 appearance makes a cameo during one of the cutscenes.
- Performed by Mariko Ide
- Official American site
- Official Japanese site
- Official Korean description
- Compilation video of duels
- Compilation video of magic
- Koei information page
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