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Video Game / Kessen III

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Kessen III is a 2004 game, and the 3rd entry of the Kessen series. It once again took place in Japan's Sengoku Jidai and way further from the first game's Sekigahara setting... in particular during the era of Oda Nobunaga. It takes a little more realistic approach then Kessen II. This game is unique for one thing for its days of release... it completely gives a middle finger to the usual treatment of making Nobunaga a demon or cackling evil bastard and instead made him unashamedly romantic (in the classical sense) and The Hero, tragic and flawed yes, but ultimately a hero. Way to go.

The gameplay follows quite the same as its predecessor. You decide who deploys in what army, and controls your whole army, one at a time (The AI takes care of the other units unless the player intervenes), though you can still issue orders. You can also execute skills that can turn the tide of battle as well.


Kessen III provides examples of:

  • Adapted Out: The Emperor of Japan is not even referred to in the story, and one would reasonably expect him to show up along the way. Perhaps the creators didn't want to go into long explanations about the difference between Emperor and Shogun, and how everyone was loyal to the Emperor but he had no temporal control over his country.
    • Likewise, Nobunaga's siblings, children and parents don't even feature when they had a role to play in history, again to prevent possible complication in an already complicated story.
    • Some of Nobunaga's retainers like Sakuma Nobumori, Ikeda Tsuneoki, Murai Sadakatsu and several others are also absent.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Just look at Mitsuhide and Yoshiaki's death scene.
    • A number of them can be, such as Shingen, Kenshin, and Katsuyori's.
  • Always Second Best: Tokugawa Ieyasu laments as such. Since Nobunaga never bit it, his chance never came. He's still a very dependable ally of Nobunaga regardless.
    • Katsuyori Takeda (Shingen's son) is this and he grows sick of being compared to his father. This ends up disastrous for him (but advantageous to you/Nobunaga).
  • Amazon Brigade: The Naginata and Kunoichi units.
  • Anachronism Stew: Miyamoto Musashi shows up as a general working for Mouri despite him historically born 2 years after Honnoji.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Played straight. You usually get Armors or Helmets ("Clothes") by getting A or S rank in certain battles.
    • Averted in the sense that the "clothes" aren't actually useless, with many being awesome and completely practical. Every armor has its own stats that help you defeat your enemies even more easily.
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  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You must deploy exactly the required numbers of unit at the battlefield (the amount of required numbers of unit varies in each battles, usually 5 or 6), no more, no less.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Ninjutsu skills, they look cool and do crapton of damage, yet they cost 3 to 4 skill slots, and 4 is the maximum amount of skill slots you can have.
  • Badass in Distress: Yamanaka Shikanosuke was captured by the Mouri Army at the Battle of Akashi and must be rescued if you want to recruit him.
    • Also Kanbei when he was captured by Murashige.
  • Badass Beard: A number of characters have them, Nobunaga grows an awesome one.
  • Badass Mustache: Nobunaga starts off clean shaven but grows one after the first couple of chapters to show that time's passing.
  • Battle Couple: Nobunaga and Kichou.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Mitsuhide grows one during his captivity
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Hisahide would rather blow himself up within his castle than letting the Oda forces capture him.
  • Big "NO!": Played for Laughs, Hideyoshi gets two early on, one when he learns that Nobunaga had considered marrying him to Oichi but changed his mind when he married Nene. The other along with Katsuie when he finds out she is being wedded to Nagamasa
  • Body Double: Matsunaga Hisahide used this tactic at the first Battle of Mt. Tamon.
    • Shingen Takeda does this as well
  • Bodyguard Crush: Mitsuhide was a former bodyguard of Kichou and is very enarmored at her. It's one of the causes he initiated Honnoji.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Maeda Toshiie and Shibata Katsuie.
  • Bonus Boss: Takeda Shingen at Chapter 6 and Uesugi Kenshin at Chapter 8. Matsunaga may also count, as you can proceed the story without having to fight him at all.
  • The Cameo: Tokichiro Kinoshita (Toyotomi Hideyoshi) is first seen selling figurines of Sanada Yukimura and Da Qiao
  • Guest General: If you have the first Samurai Warriors and/or its Xtreme Legends save, you can unlock Maeda Keiji and Inahime, using the same model from SW1.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Mitsuhide is shown hitting the bullseye with a rifle early on and Nobunaga claiming that firearms are the way of the future. At Honnoji Mitsuhide is the one who fires at him
  • Children Are Innocent: Oichi's daughter is shown playing at times, blissfully unaware The Azai and Oda clans are at war due to Nagamasa's betrayal
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Yoshino gets like this at times as she's smitten with Nobunaga.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Black for Oda forces, red for enemies and blue for ally NPCs.
  • Cool Old Guy: Mori Yoshinari, Momochi Sandayu, Takeda Shingen, Uesugi Kenshin, probably Hisahide.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The Miyoshi Trio may look like a bunch of blabbering idiots at first glance, but they are actually quite competent in battle and may kick your ass if you're not careful.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Every battle has the potential to be one (with you being either the stomper or the stompee) depending on your preparations and planning.
    • Nagashino is easy to become this like it was in history. Just give all your troops riflemen and let loose on the Takeda cavalry. If played correctly none of your characters will even take damage during it!
  • Defeat Means Friendship / Defeat Means Playable: Many (if not most) of the optional officers can be recruited this way.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Kani Saizo; you can recruit him quite early in chapter 6, has simple recruitment condition (beating him in a normal battle), quite high stats and high spear proficiency, and most importantly, he leads the third-best spear unit in the entire game with endgame-tier stats. Of course, actually defeating him is no easy task, especially with the equipment you have at the moment.
  • Escort Mission: The first Battle of Sekigahara.
  • Evil Old Folks: Hisahide Matsunaga
  • Face Death with Dignity: Baba, Yamagata and Naito at Nagashino. Hisahide as well saying he will watch what Nobunaga does from now on from hell before he blows himself up.
  • Foreshadowing: Before the Battle of Sawayama Koroku asked Mitsuhide and Murashige about the possibility of a traitor within the Oda forces. It turns out that the two were The Mole planted by Yoshiaki from the very beginning.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Yoshiaki has very high INT stat (probably one of the highest in this game) yet one of the most tactically incompetent. He often rely on his subordinate(s) (usually Mitsuhide, Fujitaka or Fujinaga) to make tactics for him, and when he tries to make a tactic himself, it fails horribly (see General Failure entry below).
    • His intellect may be better suited for political and diplomatic affairs rather than military, as he can maintain the unity of the Ashikaga coalition (which consists of the forces of several independent daimyos) for more than a decade.
  • General Failure: Yoshiaka Ashikaga is this during the first fight at Kyoto, all his plans fail and when met he closes the gates...locking HIMSELF in with the Oda troops
  • Genius Bonus: Katsuie and Hideyoshi's constant bickering throughout the game may be a reference to their Real Life feud after Nobunaga's death that culminated in the Battle of Shizugatake.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss:
    • The main objective in "The Fall of the Asakura" is to defeat Asakura Yoshikage before he flees the map completely.
    • In the first Battle of Mt. Tamon the several Body Double of Matsunaga Hisahide (and later Hisahide himself) will run around the map, forcing you to give chase.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Hojo Ujimasa appears as an enemy at Battle of Fuji without any explanations other than a one-line "Ieyasu is fighting the Hojo" and he never gets a mention again afterwards.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: This game is merely about a civil war so no one really "good" or "evil" and Nobunaga is only one among many Daimyo who aspires to "Unite the Land and End the Chaos" aka Total Domination.
  • Happily Married: Unlike history, Nobunaga and Kichou clearly love each other here.
  • Hard Mode Perks: If you play on Expert you can play as Oichi after Nagashino. There is also an extra battle you can (and must) play that is available only on Hard or Expert to unlock the Golden Ending.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: The Ninja units are just as visible as any other units.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: Saito Tatsuoki is historically regarded as incompetent, yet in the game he's shown to be quite a capable commander (albeit with some temper issues), and at one point he kills Mori Yoshinari with a clever Batman Gambit.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: And how. Take the usual victim of Historical Villain Upgrade in Japanese media (so much that he got his own trope), give him a better, but tragic light, skip some of his worst moments (like the burning of Mt. Hiei), and voila.
  • Honor Before Reason: Why Nagamasa refuses to join The Oda after they attack The Asakura, Nobunaga wants him to join him not wanting to kill his brother in law but Nagamasa is bound to his ties and spends the game as an enemy.
  • How We Got Here: The game begins with Nobunaga in the middle of Honnoji, fighting for his life, and was suddenly shot dead by a mysterious assailant. As his life seemingly seeping away, we get into a flashback on how he started, being the Fool of Owari. And nope, reaching Honnoji is not the end of the game.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Hideyoshi nearly does this to Katsuie when he tries to figure out how to use his rifle and winds up holding it backwards and accidentlly sets it off.
  • I Owe You My Life: Why Fujinaga Isshiki sticks around with Yoshiaki, its revealed that Yoshiaski rescued him one time when he was about to die and since then Fujinaga has stayed with him no matter what.
  • In-Universe Nickname: Niwa Nagahide got 'Potato Samurai', first coined by Nobunaga, and then Toshiie used that shamelessly.
    • Hideyoshi is called 'Monkey' by Nobunaga and Katsuie.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Yoshino realizes that Nobunaga is in love with Kicho despite the fact she's in love with him and thus decides to support them.
  • Kick the Dog: Tatsuoki, did you really just have to gloat over killing Mori Yoshinari!?
    • No, but it's understandable why he does. Yoshinari is (in-story) one of Nobunaga's finest commanders so his death will be quite a considerable blow to the Oda army, and Yoshinari at the time is attacking the Ashikaga coalition's base at Sakamoto, so yeah, successfully defending your base while at the same time killing one of your enemy's best does deserve a celebration. Also this is no different than Nobunaga celebrating the death of Imagawa Yoshimoto or the conquest of Sakai.
  • King Arthur: There are heavy allusions to the Arthurian tales throughout. Nobunaga is such a just, romanticised figure who wishes to end chaos he is more or less a Japanese Arthur, with his retainers the Round Table. The love triangle with Kicho and Akechi is very similar to Guinevere and Lancelot. Just like Lancelot, Nobunaga considers Akechi more or less to be his best general, and when Akechi dies Nobunaga is quick to forgive him posthumously despite the chaos he caused as he is glad he is finally at peace.
  • The Mole: Mitsuhide and Murashige.
  • Manly Tears: Whenever someone important dies. In fact, the voice director also tried applying this effect by telling the voice actors to bawl and sob during scenes like this: Mori Ranmaru is voiced by the same guy who voiced Zhao Yun in Dynasty Warriors, and when delivering the news of his father's death (Yoshinari), he was reporting in the middle of sobbing, something the VA never did in DW.
    • Honda Tadakatsu also cried as such, on the news of Imagawa Yoshimoto's defeat and the liberation of his vessels.
    • Katsuie sobs as well after a believed to be dead Nobunaga rescues him and Toshiee from the Uesugi
    • When Shingen dies his generals instantly burst into tears.
  • McNinja: Pedro Cortes hails from Spain and somehow belongs in Ninja class.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Nobunaga expresses this after the battle at Odani castle has resulted in Nagamasa's death the castle in flames, and his sister heartbroken.
  • Older Than They Look: Mitsuhide is about six years older than Nobunaga and already in his mid-fifties at Honnoji, and Baba Nobufusa is either 59, 60, or 61 years old at Nagashino (He was born in either 1514 or 1515 with unspecified date).
  • Only Sane Man: Fujitaka was the only one from the shogunate who think that opposing Nobunaga was a bad idea.
  • Original Generation: Young shrine maiden Yoshino and foreigner Lady of War Amalia van Kyre.
    • From the opposing side we have Pedro.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: Shooting the enemy form behind their own fence proves to be effective. This is possible because the enemy can't break their own fence, so if an enemy unit is fully barricaded means they're doomed. This tactic is very useful at The Final Battle of Ishiyama to take out the Miyoshi Trio and The Saika Faction with minimal damage.
  • Palette Swap: Used on Weapons and Armors.
    • Subverted with the Helmets, only very few of them are this while most are different in shape.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Nobunaga and Kicho, Oichi and Nagamasa.
  • Pocket Protector : When Nobunaga get shot at Honnoji, the bullet hits Kicho's hair ornament at his chest, leaving him uninjured.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Tomomichi of the Miyoshi Trio's dialogue consists of him praising and applauding Nagayuki and The Shogunate, this guy could give Smithers lessons in butt kissing.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: Well not exactly the horrific rape, and it's Played for Laughs, the screen switches to Nobunaga conversing normally with Yoshino while Amalia 'rapes' Hideyoshi.
  • Recurring Boss: Several, with the Saito duo, Tatsuoki and Toshimitsu, taking the cake. Tatsuoki can be fought in 10 battles (Kiso River, Sunomata, Sekigahara I, Inabayama, Sakai, Echizen, Anegawa, Sawayama, Kyoto I, Asakura) and Toshimitsu 12 battles (all mentioned above plus Sekigahara II and Gifu).
  • She's All Grown Up: Nobunaga's first chronological appearance is about saving a little, adorable Kicho. And the next time he meets her, he hasn't changed much, but Kicho already transformed into a smoking hot Lady of War.
  • Shown Their Work: One scene depicted Nobunaga cheering on a sumo match. That wasn't something random to further give him the Historical Hero Upgrade: Nobunaga in real life was a sumo fanboy that organized tournaments for his and other people's funs and handsomely rewarded the champions, one of the few traditional Japanese things he's fond of.
  • Sibling Team:
    • The 2 of Terumoto's closest generals who always accompany him, Kobayakawa Takakage and Kikkawa Motoharu, are biological brothers.
    • You can fight the 3 Hojo brothers: Ujimasa, Ujiteru, and Ujikuni at Fuji.
  • Skewed Priorities: When it rains at Okehazama, Yoshimoto is upset. Is it cause it will slow the march of his army and also hide Nobunaga and his men while they try to ambush him? No, it's cause it will ruin his face paint.
  • Slasher Smile: Mitsuhide gives one that is this and Nightmare Face when he is killing Fujinaga
  • Smarter Than You Look: Koroku may look like a witless brute, but he's actually Hideyoshi's advisor and the leader of Hachisuka intelligence squad. He's also the first to aware of the treachery spreading through the Oda and is suspicious of Mitsuhide prior to Honnoji.
  • Smug Snake: Some of the rival warlords such as Hisahide.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Saika or Saiga? Kagekatsu or Kagekatu?
  • Sucksessor: Katsuyori to Shingen. Even the Takeda retainers lament if God has forsaken their clan seeing Katsuyori getting too hotheaded to prove himself better than Shingen and opts for a Leeroy Jenkins strategy for Nagashino. It ends with just about the same it goes in history.
  • Take That!: Mitsuhide is accompanied by his nephew Akechi Hidemitsu Samanosuke (yes, spelled like that). During one scene, Nobunaga just had a normal duel with Samanosuke as normal Samurai in the battlefield, Nobunaga commends on Samanosuke's skills before he killed him in fair combat. Yeah, quite the reverse from the usual 'Champion of Goodness Samanosuke defeating Evil Demon King Nobunaga to save the world', huh.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: It's more like Casting Officer Skills is a Free Action.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: After defeating Imagawa at Okehazama, Nobunaga claims if necessary he'll become a demon to make peace but we don't really see him do anything evil.
    • The stage "Siege of Sakai" encourages you to destroy the merchants' residences for loot, which gives the implications that Nobunaga either allows, encourages, or outright orders his men to sack and loot the residences, and possibly slaughtering their inhabitants.
  • This Cannot Be!: Having lost his territory, his castle, and his army the last sight of Tatsuoki Saito is him surrounded by Oda troops on his hands and knees ranting in disbelief that he has been defeated by The "Fool of Owari" before he is silenced with an arrow. (Possibly fired by Ranmaru seeing how he vowed vengeance before him see below and Bowmen are what he specialises in)
  • Took a Level in Badass: Tokichiro Kinoshita. Of course, we know he's Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
    • Nobunaga of course, when the game starts he's The Fool of Owari, it doesn't take long to shed that.
    • Mitsuhide too. When he was seen in the services of Mino, he's either incompetent or getting stomped around by the Saito. When he joined Nobunaga, he's already transformed into a hypercompetent officer that becomes Nobunaga's greatest asset and eventually rival once he betrays Nobunaga.
    • And for that matter, Kicho as well. That little girl whom Nobunaga saved in the very first chapter suddenly became a stunning Lady of War in a span of few chapters.
  • Translation Convention: Amalia, Frois and Pedro are Europeans and they talk to each other in Japanese.
    • Probably justified, since they came from 3 different countries (Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, respectively) and Japanese is pretty much their second language.
  • Trick Boss: The Shingen you defeated at the north of the map is just a Body Double, the real Shingen shows up at the center of the map (along with some reinforcement) after you beat the stand-in.
  • True Final Boss: Yoshiaki at the Battle of Yamazaki.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Until Honnoji that is.
  • Villain Decay: Tatsuoki starts off as one of the regional lords and rulers conspiring to rule Japan. By the time he's defeated for good, he's stuck as a subordinate under Asakura.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Imagawa can be this, you gotta take Nobunaga and Yoshino around and attack him without being spotted but while your doing this you gotta protect your main camp with your other troops from his armies attack and that includes not only Tokugawa but Tadakatsu as well and did I mention they are likely stronger than you are?
  • Warrior Monk: Uesugi Kenshin and most male, Priest-class officers like Honganji Kennyo or Ankokuji Ekei. For the troops, basically any unit that has "monks" in its name.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The elemental walls, while very powerful, can easily be countered by casting a debuff to the user.
  • Wham Episode: The Battle of Kanegasaki starts off as a battle against Yoshikage Asakura only to find out Nagamasa has betrayed Nobunaga and you must retreat, and at the end Nobunaga is shot and wounded by snipers
  • What If?: The game ultimately takes on a spin on history, in if Nobunaga survives Honnoji
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Mitsuhide's retainers disappear with no explanations after Nobunaga retakes Gifu castle (sans Toshimitsu, who dies in the battle).
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Nobunaga's sister Oichi.
  • Yes-Man: Masayasu very rarely says anything other than "Yes, yes!"
  • You Killed My Father: Because of Tatsuoki's Kick the Dog moment, whenever he appears, Ranmaru will declare his intent of vengeance.
    • And when he dies at Honnoji, his brother vows to avenge him as well.
  • Younger Than They Look: Terumoto was born in 1553, so he is just in his late twenties/early thirties when he confronts Nobunaga.


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