For years PC owners had to look on in envy as the consoles were treated to one great fighting game after another, but thankfully this is no longer the case. Most of the major franchises are now also playable on PC and we are even starting to see some of the more obscure titles trickling through. Koihime Enbu definitely falls in the latter category as it was originally released as an arcade game in 2014. Even more interesting is the fact that it is based on the Koihime Musou visual novel, which is a reimagining of the Romance of The Three Kingdoms starring an all-female cast.
Koihime Enbu has a roster of 13 playable characters, which falls somewhat short of what we typically see in fighting games. However, despite the entire cast being female, each of them is very unique. Being familiar with the visual novel or anime will definitely help, but anyone with even a passing interest in the classic Chinese novel should be able to identify the cast. The visuals are very colorful and the character designs very impressive. Most of the girls fight with weapons like swords, staffs, spears and bows, which makes the fights a visual spectacle to say the least. Some of the special moves also trigger some nice animations, making them even more satisfying to pull off. The stage backgrounds look great, but we would have liked to see a few more animated elements added to them. On the other hand, by keeping the backgrounds mostly static it means they never become distracting or too busy, which often happens in other fighting games. The audio is very nice, but full Japanese voice acting for all the characters along with some energizing background tunes. Players who are not fond of excitable yells and screams during battle will probably want to turn the volume down a bit though.
In addition to the original Arcade mode the game also features a scenario mode, training mode, versus mode and ranked as well as unranked online matches. While playing the Arcade mode you can choose the difficulty level of your opponents, set the amount of rounds per fight and also adjust the time limit. The Scenario mode does away with these options, but adds a bit of a story in the form of conversations before and after each match. Compared to the story modes in other fighting games the Scenario mode is rather light on plot, but offers a good way to learn a bit more about the characters. Training mode not only allows you to practice against a dummy, but also features a challenge mode where you can get to grips with the combos. Playing online appears to be lag free for the most part, but depending on your location it can be tricky to find opponents. You can train while waiting for a match, which is a nice touch and also vital as some of the people online clearly knows the game inside out and won’t hesitate to wipe the floor with you if you come unprepared.
When it comes to the actual gameplay Koihime Enbu looks deceptively simple, but scratch a little deeper and you’ll find it has enough depth to keep you coming back for more. It is a ground based fighter, so you can forget about air dashing all over the place and focus more on timing and learning when to use which move. Speaking of moves, the list in Koihime Enbu is fairly short and quite manageable compared to many other titles. In addition to your standard weak, medium and strong attacks, you can pull off three special moves, one super move and then one ultimate super move. The motions required to pull off the super moves will be second nature to anyone who has ever played a Street Fighter game, so there is no need to spend ages memorizing moves.
While this might make it sound like the game is too simple it actually just makes it more accessible. Novices will enjoy pulling off special moves without having to commit to hours of studying move lists while skilled players can focus on learning when and where each move works best. The commands for the standard moves are the same between characters, so there is no reason to start from scratch when switching to a new character. Each character also has a “Tactics” bar and the factions all have access to two different “tacticians.” These secondary characters can be called in to assist with a special attack during battle, provided you have at least one filled bar on your Tactics meter. The bar is filled by attacking your opponent and must be used strategically. You see, in addition to changing how a special move works by using the light, medium or heavy attack button, you can also perform an “EX Move.” This uses up one tactics bar, but delivers a more powerful version of whatever attack you performed. In addition, the tactics bar is required to perform your Ougi and Hiougi moves. Overall the controls are responsive and it won’t be long until you are performing special moves, pulling off fatal counters and juggling your opponents before devastating them with a Hiougi attack.
Koihime Enbu plays great on PC, but a controller (or two if you plan on playing local matches) is highly recommended. The developers did a great job optimizing everything for PC and the game also comes packed with all the extras, such as online rankings, Steam achievements, cloud support and trading cards. Although not as impressive as games like Guilty Gear Xrd –SIGN- in terms of content, it is still a very enjoyable game that will appeal to both newcomers and veterans.
- OS: Windows Vista / 7 / 8.1 / 10
- Processor: Intel Core i3 2GHz or faster processor
- Memory: 3 GB RAM
- Graphics: Intel(R) HD Graphics 3000
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- Network: Broadband Internet connection
- Storage: 4 GB available space
- Sound Card: DirectSound
- Additional Notes: Xbox 360 compatible controller recommended