E3: Dynasty Tactics Impressions
Koei had an impressive lineup of software at this year’s E3, showcasing sequels to established franchises and introducing new titles that continue the retelling of Chinese legend.
Dynasty Tactics, Koei’s latest strategy RPG for the PS2, was playable on the exhibition floor. Drawing from the classic Chinese legend that influenced the Romance of the 3 Kingdoms saga, Kessen II, and the Dynasty Warriors trilogy, Dynasty Tactics tells of the conflict between Liu Bei, Cao Cao and Sun Ce. Players will assume the role of one of the three legendary generals and engage in a military campaign to conquer all of China. Familiar characters from the Romance of the 3 Kingdoms saga will be present throughout the game.
Koei informed us that Dynasty Tactics would feature fully voiced FMV cinemas in addition to significant character interaction and development throughout the three campaigns.
Dynasty Tactics represents a relatively new strategy genre for Koei. While the previous Romance of the 3 Kingdoms games were hard-core strategy simulations, and Kessen II being little more than an interactive movie, Koei hopes that Dynasty Tactics will appeal to a more casual gaming audience.
Dynasty Tactics employs a tile-based movement system and control scheme similar to strategy-RPG notables, Final Fantasy Tactics and Shining Force. The firm difference between Dynasty Tactics and the more established console strategy-RPG’s is that combat is unit based instead of character based. Each unit is controlled by a general that is integral to the storyline and HP has been replaced by number of troops remaining.
Koei’s previous cinematic prowess of the Kessen series has not been forgotten. Though movement and troop strategy is handled on a simplistic 3D overhead map, Dynasty Tactics employs real-time rendered combat cinemas when units are engaged in melee. The seamless integration of these gorgeous cinematics into turn-based gameplay is impressive. Thankfully Koei has made significant attempts to keep these combat animations brief to keep the pace of the game from bogging down. The loading time for these sequences was amazingly non-existent, making these cinematics a stylistically subtle bonus for troop thwacking.
Koei hopes that Dynasty Tactics will tantalize gamers who have been looking for a middle ground between the overwhelming complexity of the typical Romance of the 3 Kingdoms game and the limited gameplay options of the Kessen series.
From what I have played thus far, I believe Koei has done an admirable job in addressing the aesthetic and gameplay needs of the casual strategy-RPG fan. The depth of the character development and troop interaction has yet to be seen. Dynasty Tactics is slated for a Fall 2002 release. Thanks to Chris Colon, Sales and Marketing Coordinator for Koei, for taking the time to answer our questions.