Genji II

Genji II is action adventure role playing game that takes place in feudal Japan. Control a powerful samurai and fight your away through numerous exciting levels.

Developer: Game Republic
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Release Date: November 13, 2006
Platforms: PS3
JustRPG Score: 67%
+Easy to learn combat system,
+Pleasant visuals.
+Immersive story line.
-Very linear.
-Too easy.
-Poor artificial intelligence.


Genji II Overview

Genji II is an action adventure role playing game that was developed by Game Republic and was released for the Sony Playstation 3 in late 2006. Players take control of Genji, a samurai, who is attempting to avenge his fallen allies. The game sports pleasant visuals and has an easy to learn combat system. Although the combat system can be pretty entertaining it is also very easy and the enemies barely attack you at all. The game is also extremely linear and predictable.

Genji II Screenshots

Genji II Featured Video

Full Review

Genji II Review

By, Josh Ferguson

.hack Part 1 Infection (Dot Hack) begins with a bang. Something disastrous happens to your character‘s real world friend, while innocently playing a 20 million-subscriber base, wildly popular online RPG game (MMORPG), The World. To unravel the mystery of your friend’s misfortune, you become an online, ingame rogue hacker, exploring every corner of The World, even some virus-infected ones.
The hero is armed with the special skills of Data Drain and Gate Hack, and some colorful, talented fellow adventurers to fill the two other available party slots. Different adventurers must accompany you depending on the plot‘s development. You have some control over the others in your party, including upgrading them through trades or gifts. You can play only a single class, Twin Blade. Other characters are from different classes, with varied strengths and weaknesses, from a mage type (Wavemaster) to a bully (Heavy Axeman).
Gameplay takes place in three principal areas – towns, fields, and dungeons. Towns house The World’s servers. There, the player can save the game, buy magic scrolls and useful and unique items, store items, buy equipment, and talk and trade with lots of other players in character online. One town has an unusual ranch to check out, a patent homage to an enduring feature of just about every Final Fantasy.
The town’s Chaos Gate provides instant teleportation to a particular wide-open Field, containing monster encounter hotspots, a mystical spring, treasure, and lots of mysterious food. You enter three distinct keywords, some known at the game‘s onset, and others learned through play. Whatever keywords are entered, the difficulty level of the destination is helpfully revealed. This prevents a low-level party from being massacred. Once the keywords are entered, you travel through the Chaos Gate. (You can enter specific keywords learned to continue the plot, do side quests, or do unlimited exploring. Or, you can instruct the Gate to enter random keywords, and take your chances. There‘s also an option to enter any keywords you wish from a word list.) Every Field houses a single Dungeon. The dungeons, where you spend much of the game fighting for your life, are not overly large in size, and always range between three and five average levels.
Many have compared Dot Hack to Phantasy Star Online Episode I and II (PSO) on the Gamecube. Let us gently discredit this. We feel Dot Hack has far better graphics than PSO. The Fields and Dungeons contain many colorful, over stylized backdrops and settings, including weather effects. Dot Hack’s monsters resemble the beautifully-drawn monsters of the later Final Fantasy’s. Dot Hack’s world is gigantic with a seeming infinite number of locations to explore. PSO’s world is relatively small, and plot is threadbare, with meaningless, though fun, side quests, which instill no enthusiasm in the player. Dot Hack’s plot is deep and complex, with each subplot advancing the story just a little bit further. (Remember though, the end of this game in no way comes close to wrapping up the story, to be completed in the three games to be released later this year.) One visual treat, however, was lifted directly from PSO – the cascading rings that accompany the teleportation of characters to and from different areas.
Dot Hack’s combat engine can best be described as modified real-time. Much like the action-RPG, Kingdom Hearts, button mashing can be effective to beat monsters. Monster combat icons appear as large yellow twirling landmarks. As you approach, the landmark dissolves, monsters come at you big-time, and, undoubtedly, players will feel a healthy adrenaline rush. Some of Dot Hack’s many monsters do not stand around waiting to be pummeled, rather some you need to catch. Dot Hack lets you turn combat almost into a turn-based affair. The player needs only to hit Triangle in the middle of battle to pause the game instantly. From there the player can give orders to the others in the party, anything from healing someone, reviving another, casting a spell, designating a target monster. Without jeopardizing your party from the hailstorm of monster blows, combat becomes a calmer, more strategic, experience. This will help the many action-challenged. Camera angles play a big role in successful combat. You must be facing a monster to do any damage. As in many games, manipulating opposing environmental elements, like fire vs. water, is a key to successful monster combat.
Dot Hack’s cyberspace setting provides a wealth of Wow-inducing outbursts. The Data Drain option in combat is a great example. When a monster’s approaches zero, the player can Data Drain to reduce a horrendous, gigantic steel robot, for example, into a sniveling, puny monster, easily defeated with a single blow. Data Drain always results in a nifty, rare item or essential Virus Cores so you can Gate Hack areas of The World now closed, but needing investigation. One bad side effect – if you defeat, a Data Drained monster, but a single experience point is earned. One REALLY bad side effect – if you Data Drain too often without giving the skill a rest, you may overload and explode. Game Over. In the case of Boss monsters, Data Drain works the same, but what remains is no sniveling puny monster, but a full-blooded slightly less tough monster. All of this makes for interesting and captivating combat, a large part of the game.
Fresh Features
Dot Hack is replete with new and interesting features that kept us riveted.
To start, the entire background and story of a real world gamer becoming a rascal hacker, penetrating deep into a virus-infected online game, is quite novel. Combine this with Dot Hack’s emulating the look and feel of an online game universe. (Message traffic on the web shows many gamers mistakenly believe Dot Hack is a real online MMORPG, along with monthly fees! No real Internet connection is required.)
Just like in the real word, Dot Hack replicates your excitement level when “New” appears before a popular forum or on your email screen. Some of the game involves receiving emails as the plot develops, as well as new, crucial information surfacing on The World’s Board. (Look out for emails challenging you to a strange game of Tag.) The online game world looks very familiar with a bunch of characters wandering around the game’s towns, with the ubiquitous balloon icons talking typical “trash” to each other, even criticizing “newbies“.
Combat grippingly called for surprisingly strategic decision-making to succeed, not related to the usual attack or defend choices. Do you go for experience and upgrade your character or try for some special equipment or a Virus Core, vital to Gate Hacking? The innovative control of other party members became second nature to us after some practice. The game rewards a player taking chances, like entering a Field or Dungeon rated 5 levels above the player’s current level. On the other hand, the game scoffed at players entering areas much lower rated the their current level, by awarding negligible experience points for victory.
Dot Hack takes progress reports to a new level, by slowly unlocking books that contain much in the way of statistics and information. There’s even a monster compendium with tips for defeating them.
Some might complain about the minimal “Save Game” ability, but we thrived on it. You explore a very hostile cyberspace environment without the facility to save. Only in a server-hosting town is saving possible at the local Recorder. We may be a solitary voice in the Wilderness, but we like this throwback to the good old RPG days. Those of you old enough to remember the Wizardry series, may recall those fingernail-biting multi-combat treks back to the Castle just to save the game. In case you’re really stuck deep in a dungeon, a common item will teleport you to the outdoor field, from where you can simply gate back to town from the command menu.
Many pieces of equipment come with distinctive powerful attack, healing, and status skills, essential to combat dominance. The player must tradeoff whether to equip something that will raise defense or offense or something less vigorous that lets you use a powerful skill. Trading is the most successful way to upgrade equipment.
In a first, Dot Hack comes with a 45 minute anime video. This gives some great background on what’s going on in The World, as well as provide clues for completing the game. In a nice twist, voiceovers for game speech can be set for Japanese or English presentation. Listening to the authentic Japanese voices really keeps you glued to the game.
Though some may scoff at what follows as meaningless, we liked the game’s unlocking of some nifty new “toys” to like, some only available when the game is cleared. You can unlock many different background music play lists. Tired of creepy tunes, just switch to something more upbeat, or futuristic. Just like real world gamers, who constantly change their desktop wallpaper, new and different wallpapers are unlocked along the way. Some are concept art of characters, while others are full blown anime renditions of the characters. This makes for great fun, and seems to pump additional energy into the game. As you progress over a dozen special cut scenes or movies will become viewable after defeating the game.
Though Dot Hack’s extras and new wrinkles enhance the RPG game experience, much of the gameplay will ring true to those who enjoy RPG‘s. Expect plenty of exploration in a huge 3D world, frequent monster combat, tons of treasure to earn and discover, upgrading your character’s weapons and armor, and needing to level before tackling pivotal story dungeons. The status screens for the characters and all equipment are well laid out and easy to grasp.
Time for Completion
Game length in hours always concerns many purchasers. A short RPG normally takes a lot of flack, and many online are asking about Dot Hack‘s time for completion. (Some have questioned whether Bandai should have released a single 80 hour game for $50, rather than four 20-hour games for $200 for a single story. This matter is beyond the scope of this review, but our high opinion of this game as a standalone is obvious.) Our experience, playing the plot without doing side quests or extra exploration, is in the 12 to 15-hour range. Players side-questing and extensively exploring, aside from the main plot, can expect to spend 25 hours to complete the game. You can even continue to advance your character, after game completion, to get a jump start on Part 2 due in May. In the next game, your character can be imported from Part 1.
Furthermore, imagine trying to explore every nook and cranny of the fields and dungeons accessible by a large number of 3-word combinations. Doing that would put the game in the 50-hour range, if not more. However, at a certain point, new items dry up, and a single experience point is earned for any defeated monster, no matter how tough.
While, as is evident above, there is much to recommend in Dot Hack, certain concerns to varying degrees deserve mention.
From the “Why oh why did they leave this out?“ File. Pregame game board traffic and information about the Japanese version released months ago had many salivating for replaying the game in “parody” mode. This mode apparently converted all Dot Hack’s game world characters into satirical comedians. Sorry to say, this highly-anticipated feature is missing from the version released here.
The game requires massive amounts of button pressing. Every item or treasure uncovered from combat victories or exploration (opening chests, searching expired adventure remains, collecting food for Grunty’s, as examples) must be confirmed with a button press. When there could be 50-100 such occurrences in a single dungeon or field, over the course of the game, finger cramps seem inevitable. Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance also required lots of bashing for buried treasure and chests, but the items literally flew into your inventory, a much better way to handle this.
The manual is woefully terse and lacking in some crucial information and guidance. While the ingame tutorials fill in many of the gaps, one extremely important gameplay feature is missing from both the manual and tutorials – instructions on control your characters directly during combat.
Final Word
We got a kick out of Dot Hack. The feeling of “just one more dungeon” dominated our lives for the 3 days to completion. The engaging environment held our attention without much effort. The strategic nature of combat, plus the convoluted plot kept us going for hours on end. The constant unlocking of both frivolous and important gameplay features created a “what’s next” anticipation. Now, if I could only read Japanese better, Dot Hack Part 2 is already out in Japan!
Final Grade: B
In 2005, Sony released the action title Genji: Dawn of the Samurai for the PlayStation 2. When the game was released, critics praised it for its beautiful presentation, but weren’t so kind when it came to the actual gameplay. However, in November 2006, coinciding with the launch of the PlayStation 3, comes Genji: Days of the Blade, the sequel to the 2005 action game. Will Genji: Days of the Blade improve on the flaws of the original, or will it create even more? Read on to find out.


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The storyline in Genji 2 continues to follow Yoshitsune, the original game’s main character, and takes place three years after the events of the original game. News has begun spreading that demons have joined in the heishi army, but many of these reports have been overlooked as rumors. Nevertheless, when Heishi troops begin storming Shishi Temple, Yoshitsune, Benkei, and two new companions join forces to try and stop this new Heishi threat.


Similar to the original, the storyline in Genji 2 is loosely based on Japanese historical events. I say loosely because while the events may be similar, I kind of doubt demons were around for the battles, and, after all, we all remember the whole giant crab-flipping fiasco that plagued internet forums for some time. Still, the storyline isn’t necessarily bad, but that’s not exactly the game’s high point, nor does it intend to be. Genji: Days of the Blade focuses much more on action rather than story, which I will get into later.


Throughout the game, players will be taking on the role of four different characters to battle through the enormous Heishi armies. If you have played through the original Genji, then each of these characters should seem somewhat familiar. During the game, players are able to switch back and forth between any of these four characters by pressing the direction on the D-Pad that corresponds with that particular character. Players can switch back and forth between these characters at any time of the game, which definitely helps with some of the game’s larger-scale battles. Throughout the game, you will also run into areas that can only be accomplished by certain characters, such as breaking down walls, jumping across large gaps, or running up walls. Also, each of the four characters at times might be more effective against certain enemies, which gives another reason to switch back and forth between the different characters. It might not be necessary to constantly switch, but this can make the experience easier and more interesting.


As for the four different characters in the game, each of them plays out a little differently than the others. Yoshitsune is basically the game’s balanced character; he’s extremely fast and has a good amount of strength, but no one carries as big of a punch as Benkei. Similar to the original, Benkei is the game’s powerhouse, extremely slow but his attacks can devastate nearby enemies. While Yoshitsune and Benkei are basically the same characters in the original, this time around there are two completely new characters named Shizuka and Buson. Like Yoshitsune, Shizuka is very quick and agile, but her weapon of choice is a chain blade, which can be used very effectively against enemies. While her attacks can be somewhat on the weaker side, her chain blades can effectively damage enemies from a great distance, which allows her to defeat her enemies before they even have a chance to get near. The next new character, Buson, uses a sort of spear to twirl around and defeat his enemies. Out of the four characters, Buson is probably the oddball of the group. There really isn’t anything about Buson that sets him apart from the rest of the group. However, when he constantly twirls his spear around on a few enemies he can be very effective.

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Earlier, I stated that the game focuses heavily on combat, and this is definitely true. Players will be thrown into battle after battle against these Heishi warriors. Of course, everyone loves to be thrown into combat over and over and over again, right? Well, yeah, but the problem is that the combat in Genji can become somewhat repetitive quite easily. One problem with the original Genji was that the characters really didn’t have any types of abilities, which made combat a little repetitive. Sadly, aside from Buson, the characters still really don’t have any abilities. Basically, you will be hacking and slashing your way through the hordes of enemies throughout the game. Luckily, each of the characters will have a few different types of weapons at their disposal, which alters that character’s types of attacks. In other words, one weapons attack maneuver will more than likely differ from the next. Also, players can switch back and forth between any of their weapons in real time, which makes this even nicer. Still, chances are most players will find one weapon that they like and continue to take advantage of that particular one.


One of the reasons players will more than likely stick to using one particular weapon is because the game allows you to upgrade your weapons. Throughout the game, you will encounter certain enemies who bare something known as “Mashogane”, which can be used by your characters to increase the strength of a weapon. Each weapon can be upgraded a total of four times, so unless you are a completist, more than likely you will upgrade the hell out of one weapon and continue to use that one over and over. Also, by using the “Essence of Amahagane,” which was in the original, players will be able to increase their characters’ HP and something known as Kamui.


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As I’ve stated numerous times, throughout the game players will be hacking and slashing their way through a number of enemies. Any time your character successfully attacks an enemy, that character’s Kamui bar will begin to increase. Once that character’s bar has become full, the player can then press the L1 button to go into a sort of alternate realm and battle against the enemies on the screen. While in this alternate realm, the player will have to successfully press the appearing shape on the face pad. If you correctly tap the appropriate button, then your attack will be successful, but if you miss, the enemy will block that attack, or at times may even swing and hit your character. This type of attack is interesting at first, and looks really nice too, but the problem is that it is basically the same almost every time. While the combination of presses may differ from one enemy class to another, each of the classes has its own attack combination and when you battle the same enemies over and over, this starts to become a little repetitive and almost too easy. There are also certain enemies in the game who can use Kamui against your character, particularly some bosses. This is basically the exact same as when your characters use it, but rather than using the button presses to attack, you are now using them to defend your character. The problem with this is that the enemies also will be using the exact same combination of button presses too, making this almost feel too easy. To make matters even worst, some of the bosses will use this against you, and when all you have to do is press the same buttons over and over, it not only becomes a little repetitive, but almost too easy.


Graphically, Genji: Days of the Blade is probably one of the better-looking titles to be released for the PlayStation 3 so far. The game features some great-looking environments that would make any player want to explore, but sadly the game is quite straightforward and doesn’t really allow for that. Character animations and the actual character designs of the game all look great and are very detailed. Like all of the other graphical areas, the cinematics are also great looking and shouldn’t disappoint. Sadly though, one of the biggest issues with the look of the game isn’t the actual graphics, but flaws with the camera system. Similar to the first game, which suffered from some camera issues, Genji: Days of the Blade also features many of these same problems. Since players can’t truly control the camera to get a better view of some of the environments or enemies, this causes some issues with off-screen enemies, especially with many of the boss battles. With the large amount of enemies that do appear on screen at times, often an enemy general will accompany them. With the large amount of enemies, it can be difficult to truly track down certain enemies, specifically the generals who need to be defeated before they summon more enemies.


Concerning the sound department, the game doesn’t fare quite as well as it does graphically, but it still is done pretty well. The sound effects are top notch, and the score is good too, but at times can be a little repetitive. There is also quite a bit of voice work in the game, which, unlike the original, is in English this time around. For the most part, the voice acting is pretty good, but there are a few characters that could have been a little better.


Overall Genji: Days of the Blade is an excellent-looking game for the PlayStation 3. Even though it is a beautiful game, the actual gameplay is somewhat hampered by repetitive combat, a difficult camera, and lack of exploration. Still, the game is by no means unplayable, and if you were a fan of the original game, then you will probably find something to enjoy here, or at least something good to look at.

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Final Grade: 67%


Genji II Screenshots


Genji II Videos

Genji II Trailer


Guides / Links

Genji II Guides / Links

Genji II Wikipedia Entry