It is quite difficult to start a review without talking about the context. After having almost done with the contents of Yo-kai Watch 1 & 2, we realized Yo-kai Sangokushi (no "Watch" in the title) is a game with a poor Western community support. With a lack of artworks, data, and knowing the fact that the game was developed by Koei instead of Level-5, we decided to jump right into the matter. After getting all the required data and official artworks, we finished the game and now here we are, trying to give you a clear view of what Yo-kai Sangokushi is.
To battle ! Get yourself ready.
But what is "Sangokushi" to begin with ? Here is a quote which can be read everywhere:
Sangokushi or Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is a Chinese historical novel based upon events in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era, starting in 168 AD and ending with the reunification of the land in 280 AD.
Yokoyama Mitsuteru's adaption begins from the decline of the Han Dynasty until the fall of Shu-Han.
Yo-kai Sangokushi is a mix of Yo-kai Watch and the manga adaptation of Sangokushi from Yokoyama Mitsuteru. Level-5 is providing artworks (which are the most beautiful artworks we have ever seen so far), 3D models, sounds, while Koei is working on the gameplay of Yo-kai Sangokushi.
Let's be honest, almost everyone who ordered the game do not speak Japanese fluently, and neither us. Through out the game we did not analyse all the texts, plots, jokes, story etc. Instead, we focused on the gameplay.
To battle ! Charge !
Yo-kai Sangokushi is a tactical genre game, (Fire Emblem, FF Tactics...) adding all the elements well known elements from Yo-kai Watch serie: your character can directly or remotely attack an opponent, use a technique to "cast a spell" (limited to a certain number during the battle), inspirit (giving a buff or debuff to a foe/ally, also limited in battle), and cast the soultimate move, the ultimate attack of a Yo-kai. Everything is limited to a certain amount of square.
Plus, you can use items put here and there on the battlefield to inflict damages, get energy, healing, you must move your characters wisely. The game offers two types of winning goal: capture the flag or kill everyone.
The more you fight, the more area you capture, the stronger you get, befriending more new allies to capture more new areas etc.
On the paper, the idea of combining the best of the tactical genre and the Yo-kai Watch serie's elements, it sounds fantastic for those who like tactical games.
Repeat Retreat at once !
The reality does not sound this epic. You see, the game's pace is totally slow, so slow that in Japan a few people died of old age.
More seriously, every battle in this game has a duration of 30 minutes approximatively. This is mainly due to extremely long animations. I pick Jibanyan up, he moves, now I want to fight a foe, he dies, I got a bonus, I got an item, it is now the turn of a friend/ally. It sounds fast but it takes about 20s to do a "perfect" turn. If you add the "Toy Story" levels, implying a huge amount of time waiting for a Yo-kai to reach you due to the huge size of battlefields, it takes 30 minutes to end a battle.
When you use the Yo-kai soultimate move, it is because you have no other choices. In Yo-kai Watch a soultimate is a mini game in which you must be fast and not fail, otherwise your Yo-kai will suffer from its inactivity, getting hit by the enemy, it is a strategical or key element of Yo-kai Watch gameplay.
In Yo-kai Sangokushi, you have to deal with a very long and easy soultimate mini game (3 mini games total), then the soultimate animation is launched, and the final animation is as beautiful as any animation from Dora the explorer. The game has a total of 3 animations for each Yo-kai, no matter if you explore or battle.
The picture above shows one of the three soultimate mini games. In this case, you must press the right button when the purple Ubisoft logo reaches the letter. It was so tedious I missed.
Also, don't be fooled by the first two chapters, to be fair it goes quite quickly since it's pretty much tutorials.
General, we lost the capital !
With a gameplay preventing us from getting any sort of fun, Yo-kai Sangokushi makes sure you do not get any. At all. Every quest, every battle, everything in the game is a mere copy paste, repeating the same actions over and over to progress in the story.
You had fun with a 30 minutes long battle in order to get a crank-a-kai coin, completing the quest and getting a few EXP points and money ? Repeat what you did 100 times, because you have a lot of quests to do and areas to take from the enemy.
And this is what all the game has to offer to the player, there is no awesome mini games, bonuses, 20 new maps, none of this. Be prepared, you are entering the loop of fun.
The picture above summarize by itself what the whole game is about and what you can expect from it.
Gotta go slow.
Yo-kai Sangokushi is suffering from a very slow pace, a lack of gameplay and wrong design choices. It leads to a game which is not planned to be played often, the opposite of Yo-kai Watch. It can be seen as a mobile phone game: you have 30 minutes to kill, beat your map, your quest and stop the game to do something else.
As a Yo-kai Watch serie's fan, I am happy such initiative was taken, there is a really good work from Level-5. However, Koei had no idea what were the key elements of the Yo-kai Watch serie, thus, it led to mistakes and the result is disapointing. (or all the money was spent into artworks).
As a consumer, the game is not worth the candle if paid more than 20$/€. We recommend you to invest such money and time in either Yo-kai Watch 2 or 3.