Tag Archives: legends of troy

Musou Outtakes part 1: Western Musou games?

Last week I was lucky enough to have a very interesting Musou related conversation via Skype.  The conversation was with someone that I consider to be a true Musou expert, someone with ‘working knowledge’ of the series….Let’s call him ‘Mr. L’.

I will be doing a full Musou 2 Me interview with Mr. L shortly – right now I will post the transcript of our conservation regarding Western Musou comparators as I think it contained some interesting insights. Enjoy ^^

Mr. L: still waiting for your next What makes a Musou article :P
Leady: I have started the 3rd part…
Leady: but went off on a massive tangent lool
Leady: and confused myself hahaha
Mr. L: Just like Musou! :D
Leady: lool!
Leady: I have pieces of it written on my pc, ipad and bberry
Leady: Here’s a question for you….
Leady: what do you think is the closest a Western studio has come to making a Musou game?
Leady: or a game using design and mechanics close to the Musou formula?
Mr. L: Left 4 Dead perhaps? at least gameplay wise.
Mr. L: Not story wise
Leady: interesting
Mr. L: Left 4 Dead definitely has that one vs many feel to it
Mr. L: hundreds and hundred of enemies

Left 4 Dead features hundred of zombie enemies - is it the Western equivalent to Ikkitosen?

Mr. L: brb…
Leady: ok
Mr. L: ok back
Mr. L: Yeah, all the games that come to mind as comparisons to Musou are Asian
Mr. L: N3 and Kingdom under Fire are Korean
Mr. L: Final Fight and clones are all Japanese
Mr. L: I’m trying to think of Western games that have perspective based story-telling
Mr. L: but I can’t think of anything off the top of my head
Leady: I was thinking Lego Star Wars
Leady: in terms of the Character Action part
Leady: its basically Musou
Leady: but lacks the 1 v 1000 feeling
Leady: but then again so does Ken and other recent Musou games
Mr. L: actually, Lego might be a good example as well

Lego Star Wars 3 looks to ramp up the enemy count - maybe it's getting even closer to Musou? Notice that Ahsoka is reverse wielding her lightsaber here - just like in the TV show.

Leady: they really seem to have mucked Lego Star Wars III up
Leady: I was really looking forward to that
Mr. L: Marvel Ultimate Alliance might be another good comparison
Leady: oh yer good point
Mr. L: but yeah, I can’t think of a Western game where playing as different characters presents different points of view in the same overarching story
Leady: Also in Lego Star Wars all the characters have very simple controls and there are cloned animations rigs
Leady: on differing bodies
Leady: which really reminded me of Musou as well
Leady: and the fun is in unlocking all the characters and playing them just because they are ‘them’
Leady: and you know them from the outside fiction
Mr. L: True

Marvel Ultimate Alliance closely matches Musou's Character Action and RPG elements.

Mr. L: though pre-Dynasty 6, Musou didn’t clone rigs
Leady: damn i should put this transcript on my blog ^^
Mr. L: back in the good old days of Musou
Leady: yeah but the moves were accessed off the same basic commands/inputs so players could slip from one character to another without trouble
Leady: in Final Fighte etc. there is more strategy needed to play each character
Mr. L: well if we’re looking at combos, we shift back to Marvel Ultimate Alliance
Leady: I need to try MUA out
Leady: but I don’t like Marvel lool
Mr. L: awww… poor Willy
Mr. L: let me play a song on the world’s smallest violin for you
Leady: hahaha lool
Leady: this is definately going on the blog now
Leady: lol
Mr.L: I guess the problem is that it’s easy to compare games to Musou gameplay
Mr. L: but Musou story telling is what makes it unique
Mr. L: I think the fact that Koei has recycled the same story over and over is what has hurt Musou so much
Mr. L: because as long as the stories are unique, Musou can be very interesting
Mr.L: I think back to the Japanese RPG Seiken Densetsu 3

Multi-perspective JRPGs such a Seiken Densetsu 3 offer differing scenarios depending on which character the player chooses.

Mr. L: the sequel to Secret of Mana
Mr. L: in that game you chose 3 of 6 characters to take with you as your party for the entire game
Mr. L: and based on your main character you end up with one of 6 unique prelude scenes and one of 3 final areas and boss sequences
Mr. L: As such, even though the middle is the same for all the characters, it feels like you are fighting for different reasons based on who you choose
Mr. L: and you have a different “really bad thing” on the line
Mr. L: Perspective is just something that is missing in western games…
Leady: ah i c
Mr. L: either the central character is a blank slate for the player to fill, or a single fleshed out character with no alternate characters to choose from
Leady: Remember Shining Force 3 on Saturn?

Probably one of the dumbest moves I have ever made in my life was trading in all 3 parts of Shining Force 3 on Saturn for a Dreamcast Pad and VMU. I have never traded-in a game since then...

Leady: It had 3 different scenario missions
Leady: sorry, disks
Mr. L: I recall Shining Force for Genesis, not Saturn
Leady: the Saturn one
Leady: had 3 disks
Leady: one for each character and his party
Leady: so each disk was an individual part of a main story
Mr. L: neat
Leady: then at the end all three characters and parties came together
Leady: for the big fight. (saved data crossed between games)
Mr. L: though japanese again :P
Mr. L: very neat
Mr. L: I approve
Leady: It was awesome

So that was the exert from our discussion. We went a bit off topic and got into JRPGs at the end there but I think it shows that while other games contain certain similarities the Musou formula remains quite unique – it’s either an inimitable piece of know-how to Koei or no other games company sees any profit in trying to copy it!

Leady247 ^^

What makes a Musou? – Now in Print!

I spent quite a bit of time in December working on the first two parts of my ‘What makes a Musou?’ series. In these articles I have been trying to tie-down exactly what constitutes the Musou (‘Warriors’ series in the West) formula and why the franchise is adored by fans yet often cruelly misunderstood by the gaming media.

The first article I wrote was an introduction to the Musou formula followed by a look at the key element of Theme.

I was quite happy in January when UK Trade Industry Magazine MCV approached me for quotes to support a ‘FRANCHISE FOCUS’ piece they were working on to support the release of Dynasty Warriors 7.  It’s really awesome that they would consider writing such as piece on the Musou series ^^, thanks x 1 million to them.

I managed to use a lot of the work I had already done for ‘What makes a Musou?’ on this blog to answer MCV’s questions and I think it resulted in a great article. (The MCV writer is much better than me – he managed to say everything much more concisely and make things much more interesting than I could ^^).

You can read the article below. Many thanks to MCV and I hope this will really help people understand the appeal of the Musou games better.  Leady 247 ^^

Edit (11/02/11):  If the scan is hard to read, there is an web version of the article here: http://www.mcvuk.com/features/858/Tecmos-ten-year-Dynasty

PS. If you are in any way interested in the UK and European games industry you should read MCV every week or even better get a subscription!

Leady247 – January Round-Up

Yes! And we have made it through the worst month of the of year! Good riddance January.

It’s been an interesting month on the gaming front with the Nintendo 3DS going up against the SONY’s NGP in the battle of the ‘dedicated videogame’ handhelds.

Personally, I found the announcement of the Playstation Suite for Android to be the most exciting development – SONY has realised that the next generation of videogames is platform antagonistic and about services and content. This is a big step for an electronics and hardware company.

For me this was the biggest news of January...

On the blogging front I was a little frustrated, a generally manic January schedule cut into my blogging time and meant I could not get out the What Makes a Musou? part 3 which is floating around in my head. If I had managed to launch that article I would have comfortably beaten my December ’10 traffic – in failing to do so I have to be content with stability -_-.

On the Beer front January was definately a Leffe month as I caught up on all my Xmas drinking:

Leffe Radieuse
Leffe Leffe Bière de Noël (and my new glass)
Leffe Blonde (canned version)

Leffe's all round this month. 'Promise to switch it up for Feb.

The thing I am most happy with in Januray blog-wise is the start of two new categories: Star Wars & the mighty Arsenal. Both sections only have one post right now but I will try and develop those over the coming months.

I hope to bring you more of this stuff soon...

On the videogames side I continued my coverage of Warriors: Legends of Troy with a look at the item & upgrade system. This game is starting to take shape now – hopefully we will have some more information released in February. For now you can check out the official site here. Which brings us too…

My favourite two posts of the month which were my gamer interviews: I managed to trap Gischie on the train to Avignon for her thoughts on Angry Birds HD and Insp. Chin in Subway for his thoughts on Plants vs Zombies.

Let's do lots of this in Feb ^^

That’s it for January. The shittest month of the year is over and in Feb I’ll be moving in with my beloved ^^. It’s all downhill from here people ^^

Leady 247 ^^

WARRIORS: LEGENDS OF TROY – CHARACTER UPGRADE & ITEM SYSTEM REVEALED (PARTIALLY?)

I haven’t posted about Warriors: Legends of Troy (WLOT) recently, largely as there has been no new information…

However, buried within yesterday’s new screenshot release from Tecmo Koei was a couple of interesting tidbits that explain part of how the character growth/level-up system in this game is tied to its item system.

The Grid

In  the above screen you can see the status screen/grid for WLOT’s main-man: Achilles.  To the left we can see his stats grouped into Health, Fury, Quick Attack, Focused Attack and Stun Attack (presumably this means shield strike?). I like the way the attacks are ‘bar-based’ rather than just represented as numbers as this makes the game a little less abstract/’RPG-ish’.

In the middle of the screen we can see the item grid itself and on the right we can see a selection of items that that Achilles can equip.  In this image he is equipping the Gem of Bellerophontes which unlocks a ‘Focused Attack Combo 3′ for him – square, square, square, triangle.

The Gem of Bellerophontes takes up 2 horizontal blocks and in 5 x 7 grid.  In the above image we can also see items of other shapes and sizes.  This suggests that players will have to manage their item grid space effectively and use mix of items tailored to their playing style – it’s unlikely that they will be able to fit every item into the grid.

The Troy item grid is reminiscent of the inventory grids in games like Resident Evil..

This item grid is important as it fits into WLOT’s overall theme of being a more strategic Musou game.  It looks like character growth will not be completely linear (the-longer-you-play-it-the-more-powerful-you-get) but players will have to put some thought into which items are the most effective to equip to their item grid.  Hopefully it will not just be a case of there being a ‘best’ line up of items and different players will be free to explore different selection patterns.

Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce did quite a good job towards a non-linear character growth system via it’s chi, orb and weapon matrix – hopefully WLOT will go even further.

WLOT also offers a 'shop' where players can purchase new items.

In the above screen you can see that like many other Musou games WLOT will have a shop where players can purchase upgrades for their character – in this case new items.

Important information to glean from this screen is that players can actually upgrade the size of their item grid – allowing more space for equipping items.

We can also see that more expensive items such as ‘Foreign Soil’ take up large blocks of space in the grid – in this case 2 x 3. This suggests that players will have to select their items carefully and may only be able to have 2 or 3 ‘big’ items per grid.

Also it looks like players can stock multiple copies of the same item.  This either means that effects will be ‘stackable’ or items are going to wear out over time…this adds another little layer of depth to things.

One other thing I like is that WLOT’s items also add a little texture to the back story of the game.  For example the aforementioned Gem of Bellerophontes: a quick google search showed me that Bellerophontes was a legendary Greek hero that not only tamed a pegasus but also defeated a chimera.

Bellerophontes may not be a character in the game but it's cool Tecmo Koei Canada are putting some of this lore into WLOT

That’s it for this little WLOT update – I think this item system looks quite promising and non-linear character growth is definitely a good upgrade for a Musou game.  Hopefully we should see more of the game revealed soon.

Leady247 ^^

WARRIORS: LEGENDS OF TROY – MCM MEMORABILIA NOV ’10 ACHILLES COMBOS

I wanted to share a little video I made at Memorabilia Nov ’10 at the NEC.  As you know there was a playable demo of Warriors: Legends of Troy (WLOT) there.  It was a combat demo featuring Achilles.

As discussed in the last blog.  Shield attacks are very important in WLOT as they allow you to break the guard of your enemy and then use a finishing move. One cool thing is that you can now finish string combos with a choice or either charge or shield attack.  This raises the number of available strings for each character above a normal Musou game (usually we can only finish a combo with a charge move).

Depending on the situation and the type of enemy you are facing you need to choose the best way to finish your combo.  For example if you are surrounding by shielded enemies you might use the slash, slash, slash, shield combo which results in a round kick that breaks the guard of all the surrounding enemies. If you have alot of enemies in front of you without shields you can use the slash, slash, slash, charge move which has a wide arch of damage in front of you.

Anyway, here is the little video displaying Achilles fighting against thin-air to show his move set. Sorry for the bad quality of the video and shakey camera (and the bad text lol!).

WARRIORS: LEGENDS OF TROY – MCM MEMORABILIA NOV ’10 ACHILLES COMBAT DEMO IMPRESSIONS

WARRIORS: LEGENDS OF TROY – MCM MEMORABILIA NOV ’10 ACHILLES COMBAT DEMO IMPRESSIONS

This weekend I have been at the MCM Memorabilia show at NEC, Birmingham and between buying Stars Was figurines (Jawas, Astromechs & the ‘fit him with a restraining bolt’ driod from Jabba’s Palance) I got to spend some decent time playing the Warriors: Legends of Troy demo on PS3.  This was  the same ‘Achilles’ demo that has been shown at E3, TGS & London Expo this year.

The demo involves bad-ass Achilles bloodily massacring his way through grunts and officer squads towards the Temple of Apollo and then fighting the supernatural-possessed statue in a boss fight that involves a God of War-style QTE sequence at its climax. (On a side note – I wonder if the games industry’s developers are paying enough tribute to Yu Suzuki for inventing the Quick Timer Event [QTE] in Shenmue?).

Whilst playing the Warriors: Legends of Troy (WLOT) demo I noticed a number of changes to the Warriors/Musou system combat formula.  From this point on I will call Warriors games ‘Musou’ as it just sounds so much better.

I thought for my first blog I would list my top-3 combat system changes.  I hope this helps the Warriors fans out there to understand a bit about where Tecmo Koei Canada are going with this game. WLOT is not just a DW game which switches Achilles in for Zhao Yun, adds some blood in and is done what it.

So here are my top-3 changes to the Musou combat formula for WLOT:

1. Shields & Enemies with Defence Tactics.

In WLOT enemies of all levels have developed ideas of self-preservation.  Soldiers, squad-leaders and even the sub-boss of the demo I played – Troilus – hunker down behind large (sometime spiked) shields.  Trying to attack with the usual Musou game hacks and slashes will just see your sword harmlessly ping off your enemy’s shield – leaving you stunned and easily counter-attacked.

The addition of shields and enemy defensive strategies adds a new layer to the Musou combat system – it’s  also the reason why your character cannot jump.  Pressing X now results in a shield attack.  If you time you shield attacks well you will be able to knock your enemy’s shield down and break his guard.  Once the enemy’s  guard is broken you can hack and slash at the exposed flesh of the enemy and do some serious damage.

The shield attacks tend to be focused directly in front of the player’s character and slow to launch hence they are not useful for crowd control. This means players cannot just spam out shield attacks – instead using them only when they have an enemy singled out and under-pressure in most cases.

The satisfaction of killing and enemy that has actually made some attempt to defend itself certainly adds a level of excitement and tension to WLOT that hasn’t been there in Musou games before.  (I actually felt a pang of guilt as Achilles deftly whipped a cowering grunt’s shield aside and ran him through the heart!)

Which brings me neatly on to too:

2. Finishers

If you stab someone through the neck in real-life does it instantly kill them or does it take off some hit-points from their life-bar?

In past Musou games the amount of damage done to an enemy is generally calculated by the relative power of the player’s character + weapon vs. the enemy’s defence stats.  Depending on how the equations played out you did a set amount of damage to the enemy’s life-bar.  This type of ‘RPG Rules’ combat worked great within a Musou formula that constantly forced players to keep levelling their characters – however it is not conducive to a player’s suspension of disbelief.  If you impale someone on your spear/sword/axe/claws etc by the laws that govern our reality you expect them to just die right?

In WLOT –  if you play smartly you will open up your enemy’s guard and get the opportunity to perform a one-hit-kill finishing move.  (In the game the possibility of executing a finisher is signified by the appearance of a triangle symbol over the enemy’s torso – it’s kind of like a bulls-eye for Achilles glinting blade.).

In the demo shown at Memorabilia we could see Achilles using a number of finishing techniques depending on his position relative to the enemy.  Recognition of the player character’s position relative the target enemy and execution of a suitable/believable finisher animation is another example of WLOT attempting to keep the action within the realms of the believable.

During the Memorabilia demo I saw four finisher animations for Achilles:

1. Sword straight through the belly and out via the spinal column.

2. Sword through the spine and out via the belly

3. Overhead throw with the shield and stab through the neck of the prone enemy.

4. Flying neck slash.

Who knows there could be more?

In the demo finishers can be used on basic soldiers, squad leaders and sub-bosses.  This means that if you play smartly you can kill the most threatening enemies with a single a move.

For me the finisher system in WLOT represents a big change from the traditional Musou game  system where more powerful enemies just require more slashes with no real change in strategy required by the player.

3. Two Combo String Options

WLOT has a neat addition to the Musou formula in the form of a second option to finish slash-string combos.

As you will know the traditional Musou combos are things like:

square, triangle

square, square, triangle

square, square, square, triangle

Simple, addictive stuff really.  We have seen changes to this basic system recently such as the addition of boost chaining in Dynasty Warriors: Gundam but overall the system has stayed the same.

In WLOT we have the option of using X (shield attack) to finish slash-strings rather than triangle (charge).

This doubles the amount of combos each character has at their disposal and because of the shield system mentioned earlier adds an extra tactical level to the game.

For example Achilles’ square, square, square, X combo ends with a very slow to launch but devastating circular kick and shield attack that breaks the guard of all surrounding shielded enemies.  That means that all surrounding enemies are then susceptible to a finisher.

If the player is fighting shielded enemies finishing a slash combo with an X is the superior option.  If the enemies are unsheilded then finished with a Triangle charge is quicker and has a wider AOE. It’s not exactly rocket-science but at least WLOT is challenging the player to employ some sought of tactical thinking to the way they deploy Achilles’ movset.

In this blog I have limited myself to the top-3 changes WLOT combat makes to the Musou combat system.…

…..There are other cool things such as rag-doll physics that means each enemy death animation is unique depending on the force and direction of the killing blow, dead bodies that stick around, picking up dead enemy’s weapons, throwing swords and spears, squad based AI, the best lock-on system I have seen in a Musou game ….

….but I do not have time to write about them now…maybe in a forthcoming blog if anyone is interested?

I want to say thanks to Gischie who is helping with the graphic design on my blog.

Please keep checking back for more info. on WLOT other Tecmo Koei games.

LEADY 247/365 ^^