Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy
Sept. 8th 2003

Introduction:Otogi is a 3rd person mystical action/adventure game, which was inspired by Japanese mythology. In Otogi you play Raikoh a resurrected warrior brought back to rid the land of the demon infestation. Otogi is breathtaking and overshadowed by the release of Soul Calibur 2. If you take the time to discover Otogi, you will pleasently surprised.

The Game:When you start playing Otogi, from the main menu and on you will find that the games atmosphere plays a major role in gameplay. From the characters to the story the settings are based around demons, sprits, magic and elements of Japanese mythology. Even the main character Raikoh is an expressionless warrior, sent to do battle being resurrected by a mysterious princess. Your job is simple, you have have to kill all the evil demons and free their souls. Atmosphereic, demon killing, mysterious princess... it's a sweet setup!

You’re main weapon in Otogi is the sword, although you can upgrade your melee weapons in the game to war hammers, staves, double bladed swords and massive two handed swords. Raikoh also has the power to execute spells, and like the weapons you can upgrade to different spells at then end of each mission. Otogi is efficient convincing you that Raikoh is a powerful sprit raised from the dead by the path of destruction he leaves in his way. The environments are destructible and with a few power strikes you can destroy buildings, sides of mountains and power through trees. Battles can become very convincing when you’re are fighting an evil demon and destroying the environment as you do battle. This gives the game an extraordinary feeling of power and importance, being in control of a being this powerful.

One problem I did find with the combat system is the dreaded 3rd person curse. In almost every battle you will encounter problems with the camera going in crazy angles where your enemy won’t be visible. With everything else having a high polish and great mechanics, I wonder why how they let this get so out of control. It is to be expected in all 3rd person games, but at times with the large amount of enemies it can be too distracting.

The gameplay is based around the basics of any hack and slash title. A cool innovation is that a mythological feel the gravity is very light, and Raikoh can leap high in the air to deliver high numbered combos. Leaving most of the battles to be finished in mid air.

The design of the levels is interesting consisting of mainly Japanese themes, but they do get played through quite quickly and are extremely fast paced. Each level can be whipped through, but you will end up replaying them for simply for fun, to better your rating or find the many secrets that are layered into the levels.

Graphics & Sound:As I mentioned above from the opening logo and on, it will become apparent that Otogi is a game of style and impressive art direction. Add gorgeous graphics on top of the mysterious backdrop of Japanese mythology and you have an A+ in the graphics department. The graphics are impressive and every aspect of the game shimmers in brilliance. This is one of the most distinctive titles for the Xbox and does a great job of taking the graphics to levels that other consoles can’t match.

The sounds and music add some eerie moments in the game. The sound track is a mellow, haunting and drone like. It gives the game a great push in the atmospheric feel, added with the unique art and content. This brings out the “Zen” like qualities in the game. The voice overs are equally as eerie. The main character hardly speaks, but the princess’s outstanding memorizing voice is all over the game. Her voice with the backwards panning effect is enough to bring chills to your spin. The sound couldn’t stand on its own without these great visuals, and that’s why Otogi works, because the graphics and sound work as a team to create one great package.

Innovation:Otogi is a innovate title, manly from its diverse and unique subject matter. The combat offers a unique approach in the way they deliver gravity and making a land based character fight a large number of flying enemies. The whole aurora gives a mysthical feel and added the destructive enivorments and structures adds a epic feel to the battle sequences. The character customization gives a bit of a role-playing feeling to the game, and the unique storyline makes Otogi stands out from the crowd, but overall doesn't shatter any gameplay barriers.

Mojo:Let the Zen flow throughout the body, relax. Otogi makes the combat fast and furious, but the feeling to be relaxing and Zen like. I was dozing off as I pumped through 30 hit combos, and demolishing buildings and the landscape. The mojo is confused in Otogi as many of you will be. The game has a cool vibe, and a unique twist to keep the imagination going, but the mojo suffers from the slow mojo. It burns a fire, but the fire is low.

Lowdown:Otogi is a unique, beautiful game which combines fast hack n’ slash gameplay in a mystical mythology wraping. The game itself if not for it looks would just be average, but considering the extra effect they put into Otogi to make it special gives it what it needs to be a great addition to the Xbox console. I would suggest renting this game first to see if the “Zen” like slasher is your cup of tea. If you’re deeply into Japaneese culture, you need Otogi in your collection. Check it out!

Gameplay: 7, Graphics/Sound: 10, Innovation: 7, Mojo: 6. Final: 8

  • More than 25 levels - face down hordes of demons, destroy mammoth bosses, and set the world right as an undead warrior in search of peace
  • Collect and customize more than 30 weapons, 12 varieties of magic and more than 10 special demon slaying items
  • Deep story based on classic Japanese mythologies
  • More than 15 hours of gameplay

From Software
Aug. 2003