Note: PS4 Review code provided by Degica Games.
When it comes to video games there are three genres I enjoy most: Platformers (includes action-platformers), JRPGs (with a select few WRGS) and fighting games. The following review is of a fighting game based on a tactical eroge series, though around here it is better known for its anime adaptation, Koihime Musou. Let us find out how it made the jump from genres as we take a look at Koihime Enbu, or to be more specific its expansion Koihime Enbu RyoRaiRai. Developed by Unknown Games and M2 co LTD, and published by Degica Games.
Platforms: PS4, PC (Steam).
Genre: Anime, (2D) Fighting, Yuri (A little bit)
G-Rating: Okay-Good, so long as the player goes online or has friends who like anime fighters.
Normally I would post the plot summary here but that is a good lead-in to the first thing players need to know about the game, its lack of single player content. What I mean is the game features the bare minimum of fighting games nowadays. That being Arcade, Versus, Online, Training and Challenge Modes (Found in Training Mode). There is no Time Attack, Survival or extensive Story Mode. Arcade is technically the old-school 9 battle method of telling character stories during intro and outro cut scenes featuring head portraits of the characters and each girl having their own reason for fighting; be it to prove one’s strength, loyalty/love for their leader, go on a personal journey or search for medicine. The cut scenes are lighthearted, similar to the anime, so do not expect thought provoking drama by any means.
The roster consists of 14 playable fighters and 8 assist characters with Choryo and Kaku being the new fighter and assist respectively. Now modern fighting game fans would think this is a small roster as many are used to most of them having at the very least 20 playable characters at launch (not counting DLC or unlockable characters). However, nowadays even big name fighting games like Street Fighter, Killer Instinct or beloved niche series like Fighting EX Layer are releasing their games with rosters of less than 14 (or 13) with the promise of expanding them over time…should they sell enough copies. Point being 14 characters is reasonable, especially for a $20 retail price.
Before we get to the combat let us briefly go over the animation. It is like a blend of cel-shaded anime style along with the character designs from the eroge. The character art during pop-ins, Ougi (Super Moves/Combos), Hiougi (Hyper Moves/Combos) and Ending CGs all look pretty good. The soundtrack is something I can only describe as “Poppin’ Three Kingdoms music”. It is fitting for a Koihime Musou fighting game and has some pretty cool beats.
And now for the gameplay. There are four types of fighting games I have noticed in both 2D and 3D: “grounded”, “free for all”, “arena” and “Smash”. RyoRaiRai falls under the “grounded” category, or to be more specific a “grounded 2D anime fighter”. What this means is fights are all on the ground yet can be very chaotic. Despite being able to juggle opponents there are little to no air combo setups. However, players who put the time and effort can pull off crazy combos worthy of posting on Youtube so do not worry about there not being combo potential. Moving right along Koihime Enbu is marketed as an accessible fighter game that is easy to pick up and play…provided the players know and can pull off basic command inputs.The following tidbits are some tidbits players need to keep in mind because (as far as I know) there is no tutorial in this game. I will update this information should I find it:
- Almost every fighter has the same command inputs for their special moves, super and hyper with a few exceptions.
- Fighters can run (Yes. In some fighting games running is an additional ability).
- Countering attacks deals more damage. It fits with the tactical motif of the game.
- Hiougi (Hyper moves/combos) can only be used after a successful “Hougeki” strike/combo, meaning attacks that stun opponents for a few seconds.
- EX moves (stronger versions of special moves that require the Light and Medium attack buttons be pushed at the same time), Assist Character attacks, Supers and Hypers all require certain amount of bars from the Tactics Meter. EX and Assist require 1, Supers 3 and Hypers 4.
- Speaking of Assist characters. Besides a new fighter and Assist character RyoRaiRai allows players to pair up their fighters with whichever Assist character they wish, providing extra strategy. In the original Koihime Enbu fighters could only pick Assist Characters based on the faction their chosen fighter is a part of (Team Kan U, Team Sonsaku, Team Sousou or independent). That is no longer the case in RyoRaiRai.
- There is no “rolling” in this game. Should the player be trapped in a corner by their opponent, especially a skilled one…be afraid.
There are other more advanced tidbits and techniques such as the Fatal Counter but this should be enough to give players an idea of what kind of fighter this is.
For a visual demonstration and guide check out this quick look video from Degica Games‘ Youtube Channel.
Unfortunately I was unable to test how the game ran but I imagine it has a decent to good speed so long as the player has good internet at home.
As usual we come to the Yuri portion of the review before wrapping things up. As fans of the Koihime Musou anime know or remember several of the ladies in the cast are lesbians, especially Team Sousou and her yuri harem army along with some from Team Sonsaku. Team Kan U has some ships. In Arcade Mode some of the girls get to show their romantic desires.
Overall Koihime Enbu RyoRaiRai is a simple to learn but difficult to master tactical fighter that favors fast paced destruction yet button mashers will not get very far, especially online. The presentation is nice and the girls all fight differently (No one feels like a clone character). While lacking in Single Player content It is a fun fighting all-female anime fighter that both fans of Koihime Musou and anime fighters can enjoy either for its mechanics or to beat people up as several butt kicking lesbians.
PS: Despite the source material having erotic elements Koihime Enbu RyoRaiRai does not go beyond sexy clothing or bouncing breasts.
Degica Game links:
Koihime Enbu English Site