Kessen Soundtrack, Reijiro Koroku, 2000
Since their inception in the mid-80s, Koei’s many historical strategy games had always been more of an insider proposition. It felt a bit like series such as Nobunaga’s Ambition and Romance of the Three Kingdoms were reserved for those gamers who were willing to spend hours parsing menus and stats, while carefully planning their next move. Several of these titles had made it to the US market but never turned into eye-catching best-sellers. That changed with Kessen, one of the PlayStation 2’s launch titles. Set once more in feudal Japan, Kessen emphasised spectacular visuals and battlefield action, attracting far more attention internationally than any previous Koei game. Ultimately, Kessen was successful enough to spawn two sequels. However, several contemporary reviewers pointed out that the game lacked the usual complexity and depth of a Koei strategy game, making for an entertaining but shallow experience.