Inuyasha: Ougi Ranbu (Inuyasha: Feudal Combat)

Did Eighting and Bandai just throw this game together so Inuyasha fans pick it up?


The Lowdown

Pros: Story and mission modes give this game some decent first player options.

Cons: A horrible fighting system, PS1 like graphics and horrible computer controlled characters ruin this title.

Purchase at Play-Asia

Purchase at Lik-Sang

Will Inuyasha fans ever get a break? The past Inuyasha PS2 RPG was so-so and the PSX fighting game was at best second-rate. Itís reasonable for fans to be a little reluctant about Inuyasha Ougi Ranbu (Inuyasha Feudal Combat in the US) another fighting game set in the feudal fairy tale Inuyasha universe. On the bright side the game is designed by fighting experts Eighting known for making some 3D successes with the Naruto Gekitou Ninja Taisen series and Gash Bell Tag Battle. Is this a ticket to success?

Inuyasha Ougi Ranbu is a four player brawl not unlike the Gash Bell Tag Battle and Full Metal Alchemist Dream Carnival. You control one character and have a computer controlled partner against a team of AI opponents. On the top of the screen, under the life bars, you may notice an element symbol. This symbol determines how your partnerís action. Wind positions your character in a favorable position for a special attack and Fire concentrates your characterís damage. Earth is one of the more useful tactics where you use your partner as a shield from incoming attacks. The characters that you select make a sizeable difference in how your team plays out. If you pick characters that get along like Inuyasha and Kagome or Miroku and Sango youíll have a friendship bond that dons more spirit points. Teams that donít really have a definitive opinion of each other like Kikyou and Koga wonít get any bonus to the spirit point meter. A team that doesnít get along at all like Naraku and Inuyasha takes a huge hit in spirit meter growth. You can alter the relationship during battle by protecting your partner from attacks to increase the bond between them. So while it is possible to play as a Sessoshrmaru / Shippo team and eventually gain spirit points at the same rate as a favorable team, itís a huge disadvantage. The amount you bond to a character doesnít carry over, which makes unfavorable teams born underdogs. The idea of a bonded team is certainly unique, but it probably isnít a good play mechanic since it throws the fighting system off balance.

So whatís the deal with spirit points anyway? Spirit points let you use a more powerful attack when you press the circle button. These attacks are things like Mirokuís wind tunnel and Kagomeís charged up arrow. A player that has a full spirit point meter can easily unleash spirit attacks over and over just to chip away at a playerís life bar. By the way, continuously using spirit attacks is an easy way to plow through the computer. Outside of spirit attacks you have an elementary fighting system with a heavy attack and a light attack. There are a couple of different combos you can do by starting out with a light attack and finishing with a heavy attack. Intuitive controls are a plus since this game takes nearly no time to learn. On the other hand there is absolutely no room for mastering a character either. Completing a combo doesnít do much bonus damage than the same attacks not strung together. Why even bother to master anything when you can just mash buttons to victory? Thatís the mantra of Inuyasha Feudal Combat.

The opening video is shot with the in game graphics instead of an anime sequence, which most anime titles get. There is nothing wrong with using in game graphics, if they looked decent. The character models are a distasteful use of cel-shading. Blurry and devoid of detail, theyíll fail to impress fans of the series. This becomes apparent when characters pull out their special moves. With only a few characters actually in the game itís expected that they look good. Backgrounds are pretty bland too and suffer the same unfinished cel shading look. There are some interactive elements like rocks that can be slashed in half. One level even has a wooded platform that can be broken at the legs so it comes crashing down on players underneath it.

The overall feel of Inuyasha Ougi Ranbu is that it was rushed out of the door. The game could have clearly been polished and more refined like other Eighting titles. Regrettably this 3D fighter isnít much better than the PSX 2D fighting game.

Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 2

The mission mode can give importers some minor problems when you're trying to understand the goal. Otherwise the gameplay is straightforward enough to jump into.

US Bound?

Bandai has this game titled under "Inuyasha: Feudal Combat" and it's set for a release in August.

Overall

There are so few redeeming qualities that even followers of the series will regret purchasing this.