Otogi: Myth Of Demons

Year: 2003
Platform: Xbox
Publisher: Sega
Developer: From Software
Genre: Action
Review Date: 9/11/11
Rating: ***

"Otogi" is quite possibly the best action game available on Xbox. Unfortunately, its one fatal flaw is that it's way too difficult to play, which robs the player of fully experiencing and appreciating all of the magic that the game has to offer. In the game, a mysterious and enigmatic princess grants her powers to a man named Raikoh, whose duty is to purify the land and cleanse it of the demons that infest it. He does this through a combination of swordplay and magic, although I didn't last long enough to learn any magic skills.

The game's presentation is astonishing. The graphics are beautiful and the Japanese art direction is inspiring. The musical score is superb and perfectly complements the game's visual language and emotional tone. The voice acting is excellent, and the English dub does a good job of matching the tone of the original Japanese voices. I prefer listening to the Japanese, as it enhances the presentation even more. The game is fast and relentless, and the controls are tight and responsive. Unfortunately, the camera controls are inverted, which makes navigation and observation a constant chore and is also the leading cause of death in the game. It's a shame that the camera controls aren't configurable, and the game serves as a reminder that even in the early 2000's game developers still hadn't figured out how to optimally control movement in 3D action games. The Dreamcast versions of "Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation" and "Tomb Raider: Chronicles" are infamous for being completely unplayable. Another element that works against Raikoh is that each level must be finished in a certain amount of time, or else Raikoh's powers expire and he dies. The game's difficulty ramps up extremely quickly, and eventually all of the intense action and visual flair yields to frustration and aggravation. It only took two hours before I had to put down the controller in disgust and walk away forever. It's quite unfortunate to be denied such beauty and splendor as a result of one's abilities - or lack thereof.