Release Date: August 23, 2005
At its core, Inuyasha: Feudal Combat plays kind of like (but not nearly as good as) a very obscure game called Unholy War, which was released for the original PlayStation. A worse comparison would be the more recent (but not really recent at all) Power Stone for the Dreamcast, or even Smash Brothers. I'm not one to make bad comparisons, though. What we have here is a game in which up to four of our lovable friends from Inuyasha gather in a rather small, somewhat interactive battlefield and beat the ******* **** out of each other.
Press the square button and our character performs a weak attack, press the X button, and a strong attack is performed. These attacks are all that's needed to beat the game inside out (with a few exceptions); you don't even ever really need to block or use special moves or anything. My character of choice, when I had a choice, was Sango, and I won almost every battle using the strong attack button to throw her boomerang, which would hit the enemy for a large amount of damage, knock them down, and leave them open to be hit again the second they stood back up. Our characters do have partners for each battle, but they end up just acting as decoys for the computer to beat on while we get the real work done. There are four different formations to choose from, and these affect how our computer ally will act in combat. This really isn't that important, because again, just using our character's strong attack is usually enough to win any battle single-handedly.
So! Story mode must make the dull battles less dull, right? No! Each character has his own story mode, and all the stories for each of the characters are only about six chapters. Each chapter consists of a minute-long cut scene in which the characters yell at each other/themselves, followed by a fight. After the battle, the characters talk for a few more seconds, and then run off to start another fight. This all culminates with an anticlimactic showdown against Naraku in chapter six. Then the credits roll. The end. A new character has been unlocked.
This all happens within 25 minutes.
In mission mode, we select our characters, and then pick a map, each of which contains a different challenge for us to complete under a time limit. The concept alone already sounds UN-fun, I know, but bear with me (not that there's any reason to, because things just get even less fun, so I won't hate you if you just skip to the next paragraph <3<3). These challenges are all of the "destroy X amount of rocks," or "defeat enemies without destroying any rocks" variety. I would scream about how annoying these are, but in actuality, they are very easy. The only point that I can see in playing mission mode is if you want to drive yourself insane with monotony. You can also try staying awake for two days straight. (I did that once for fun, but by the end of the second day, I was talking to a box of Life cereal.)
That's pretty much the whole single player game, really. Versus mode is actually pretty entertaining, and if you have the right person playing with you, it can be quite intense.
Of course, after playing Inuyasha for about an hour, I realized what the focus of the game was. The characters, my friends, the characters. The battlefields in which we fight look nice enough, yes, but extra care was spent making the characters look very pretty. They all have a wonderful flat/cel-shaded look about them, and are gushing with detailed animation. Every frame of animation is designed to make these characters stand out. I can only assume that fans of the series are far more excited about controlling their favorite characters than I am, which is a-okay.
In fact, let me reiterate this point again by saying this is a game for the fans. Would I like this game more if it were Samurai Champloo: Edo Period Combat, or Ghost in the Shell: Future Combat? Yes, I would. Being able to control my favorite characters would be fun, but if the gameplay of those made-up games were the same as that of Inuyasha: Feudal Combat, well ... being a fan of a particular anime series only goes so far, you know?
Most of the music sounds like a cross between that of Soul Calibur and Final Fantasy Tactics, which isn't a bad thing. However, it lacks the fire that both of those games posses musically. For added fun, try playing the game while your neighbor plays bagpipes. My cat went into shock.
Oh, and do add another point onto the score if you're a fan of the series, and two points if you're totally crazy about it.
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