Taikou Risshiden V Soundtrack, unknown composer, 2004
There’s no doubt that Koei’s most prominent franchises of historical war simulations are Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Nobunaga’s Ambition – both of them spanning several dozen games and ports. However, Koei worked through this particular subject matter in other games as well – enter the Taikou Risshiden titles. The first game in this particular franchise – almost unknown outside of Japan – was released in 1992 for PC-98, Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. The series continued up until Taikou Risshiden V, which saw the light of day in 2004 and concluded the franchise. The Taikou Risshiden games set themselves apart from other Koei history simulations through their sandbox-style gameplay that gave players greater freedom in choosing their path to victory. For example, available job classes included not just samurai but also pirates, merchants and blacksmiths, while gamers were free to roam the game’s world at their leisure.