Top 10 Games by Koei Tecmo [Best Recommendations]

Koei Tecmo is a company that originally had focused much of its attention on major IPs such as Dynasty Warriors as well as Ninja Gaiden, but as of late have branched out into new territory to create fun and exciting experiences for everyone. Koei and Tecmo were separate companies until 2009, when both Japanese companies decided to merge together to create Tecmo Koei Holdings, but it was in 2014 when they officially called themselves Koei Tecmo. Ranging from anime titles such as Yoru no Nai Kuni, to the survival horror Fatal Frame, Koei Tecmo has always dished out some popular titles so let’s jump right into the top 10 to see which of their games comes out on top.

10. Ninja Gaiden Black

  • System/Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Team Ninja
  • Release Date: September 20, 2005

The Ninja Gaiden started off in the arcades back in 1988, and since then main protagonist Ryu Hayabusa has been slaying demons with ease. It’s popularity skyrocketed once it hit consoles, first on Nintendo’s NES then branching out to other major consoles several years later. Over its lifespan the Ninja Gaiden series has released 17 titles, all of which have created a huge fanbase behind it. The series has always been known for its crazy difficulty at the highest settings, and Ninja Gaiden Black is no exception.

What made Ninja Gaiden Black stand out far more than its predecessors is that series director Tomonobu Itagaki received complaints about past versions being too hard, so he placed Ninja Dog as a mode for players who needed a silver spoon on their adventures. Instead of receiving the normal accessories for defeating bosses, players would get ribbons as a mockery to their complaining. He also made the other difficulty settings in the game much harder than before, as salt to the wound. The greatest selling point however is the incredibly challenging yet rewarding Mission Mode, that had well over 50 combat missions that players had to complete and master with overwhelmingly powerful enemies that would take hours to beat.


9. Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of The Mysterious Book

  • System/Platform: PS4, PS Vita, PS3
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Gust Co. Ltd.
  • Release Date: November 19, 2015

Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of The Mysterious Book is a fantastic role playing game and is the 17th title in the Atelier franchise. You control Sophie, a girl with a mysterious power that allows her to perform alchemy to form new and interesting items. Your goal is to restore the memories of a mysterious book that you found, and bring it back to human form.

For those who’ve dabbled with the Atelier series, you’re probably already familiar with the alchemy system and exploration features in the game. Much of the gameplay places its attention on Sophia, as she wanders across the vast lands in search for rare items so she can harvest them to build her knowledge on alchemy. Throughout the game you’ll encounter numerous battles with enemies in the field, which allow you to team up with your allies to take them down with beautifully detailed magical abilities. Atelier Sophie does require some trial and error to complete certain puzzles, but that’s what makes the game so enriching because you receives bonuses for clearing it perfectly. If you’re into magical spells, alchemy, and just a relaxing adventure then Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of The Mysterious Book is certainly for you.


8. Toukiden: Kiwami

  • System/Platform: PS Vita, PSP, PS4, Windows
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Omega Force
  • Release Date: August 28, 2014

Toukiden is an action adventure role playing game that plays similarly to the popular Monster Hunter series, where the player must gather materials and customize items to take down fierce monsters in battle. Much of the world you play in takes place in a medieval Japanese styled universe, where slayers specialize in fighting Oni and hunting them for income. A powerful demon has emerged to bring suffering upon the land and so you must band together to defend the people before it’s too late.

Through collecting special items such as souls, players can upgrade their weapons to unleash powerful attacks to take down voracious demons, while mitama have different abilities that can be transferred among different stats such as offense. One cool new addition to Kiwami over the original is that there are far more demons to slay in this version, with an extended story for added gameplay. New weapons such as the powerful naginata firearm were added, and with the multiplayer feature implemented players can work together to take out these bloodthirsty demons with ease online. Be sure to check out Toukiden 2 as well if you haven’t already.


7. Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence

  • System/Platform: PS3, PS4, Steam
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Koei Tecmo
  • Release Date: December 12, 2013

Another one of Koei Tecmo’s staple titles is Nobunaga’s Ambition, which is quite similar to that of Romance of The Three Kingdoms, but now allows you to take part in consolidating Japan with a heavy emphasis on building loyalty among your assistants. As the title states, you play as Nobunaga as you fearlessly try to conquer and restore Japan back to its origins, while overcoming conflicts along the way. The option to choose other famous Daimyo’s from the period is there, but why play as them when you can try to defeat the enemy with the true warrior Nobunaga himself?

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence focuses on four different scenarios, all of which correlate to the warring states period. One of which is the Battle of the East, and you basically need to ensure that your resources are plenty in order to raise a powerful military, but more importantly sustain a healthy economy. Through various turns that the player must take, gameplay differs depending on what section you’re looking at. For example, map view corresponds to a change in season, while during battle each day is focused on. With so many strategic choices that the player has to make, Nobunaga’s Ambition will surely take more than just himself to conquer Japan, but your own ambition is needed as well.


6. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly

  • System/Platform: PS2, PS3, Xbox
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Koei Tecmo
  • Release Date: November 27, 2003

Just when you thought Resident Evil scared the pants off of you, here comes Koei Tecmo’s version of Survival Horror. Taking bits and pieces from the Silent Hill and RE series, the character controls twin protagonists Mio and Mayu as they inspect a deserted village, while experiencing encounters with creepy ghosts that haunt the town. Things take a turn for the worse as these spirits begin to possess the two, and now have become targets for an ancient ritual.

Fatal Frame is unique in terms of its gameplay when compared to your typical survival horror, since you use a special type of camera known as Camera Obscura that can see ghosts and allow you snap photos of them in order to kill them. Using this exorcist camera to your advantage, the player must desperately search for clues in this creepy and desolate village, overcoming their fears at every corner. Taking bits and pieces from Japanese Folklore and mythology, Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly is a magnificent tale that really plays with your psyche, and puts you on the edge of your seat every time with its twists and turns.


5. Romance of The Three Kingdoms 11

  • System/Platform: Windows, PS2, Wii
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Koei Tecmo
  • Release Date: March 17, 2006

Known in Japan as Sangokushi 11, Romance of The Three Kingdoms 11 is a popular turn based strategy game that takes place during the Han Dynasty in China with many warring factions battling to secure dominance over the other. Much of the gameplay revolves around managing certain statistics that each represent various attributes of cities, or that pertain to characters. Essentially you’d be focusing on ensuring that your city is well maintained and protected from natural disasters, as well as dealing with domestic affairs.

Characters can attain new ranks by focusing on leveling up abilities such as leadership, diplomacy along with melee tactics, and from there players can then wage war on neighbouring territories to gain control. A fun fact is that Romance of The Three Kingdoms was actually Koei Tecmo’s forerunner long before Dynasty Warriors took over. With so much depth to this game, it’s arguably one of the best simulation titles in existence. If you love learning about Chinese history and its warring periods, don’t miss out on this spectacular piece of work.


4. Dead or Alive 4

  • System/Platform: Xbox 360
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Team Ninja
  • Release Date: December 2005

So many fighting franchises have come and gone, but Dead or Alive has managed to stay afloat in this ever growing market of fighting games. We can only give thanks to Sega’s Virtua Fighter franchise for giving birth to 3D fighters. Dead or Alive plays similarly to that of Tekken and Virtua Fighter combined, placing characters in a 3D environment and having to duke it, using various techniques to come out on top. Aside from being well known for having a long list of female characters, Dead or Alive focuses on quick strikes and efficient takedowns to overwhelm your opponent.

The other big difference that sets Dead or Alive 4 apart from other 3D fighters is how heavily emphasized quick combos are in battle, using air juggles to rack up damage and optimizing the game’s innovative counter system to outplay your opponent. Depending on the button and direction you press on the stick, you can counter incoming attacks which if timed correctly, would result in you performing a counterattack. Guess wrong however and you’ll be eating a ton of damage, so Dead or Alive is all about reading your opponents patterns, timing your combos, and adjusting on the fly. With other cool features such as the Danger Zone, Dead or Alive 4 is an all time classic on the Xbox 360 and shouldn’t be slept on.


3. Samurai Warriors 4

  • System/Platform: PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Windows
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Omega Force
  • Release Date: March 20, 2014

Samurai Warriors 4, known in Japan as Sengoku Musou 4, is a hack and slash action title by Koei that focuses on the Sengoku Warring States Period in Japan. Players would take control of a commanding general and then tear their way through a massive horde of soldiers, while trying to complete objectives given to you by the AI. You can choose from some of Japan’s most legendary generals at the time and take them into battle to secure victory for your clan and region.

One of the special features that you’d find in Samurai Warriors 4 was that you could swap freely between characters in battle, which was taken from Samurai Warriors: Chronicles, a spin off of the regular series. Since most of your time is focused on hacking and slashing, two features were added to create a more exciting experience while playing through the story. Hyper Attacking and Rage Mode were thrown in which allowed the player to unleash incredibly powerful attacks, taking out a group of enemies in mere seconds. With a variety of different modes to choose from such as the popular Story Mode and the newly introduced Chronicle Mode, Samurai Warriors 4 was a fresh new take on the franchise and is one of the best from the series.


2. Hyrule Warriors

  • System/Platform: Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo | Nintendo
  • Developer: Omega Force | Team Ninja
  • Release Date: August 14, 2014 [Wii U] | January 21, 2016 [3DS]

Hyrule Warriors takes place in the Hyrule universe, but outside of the actual Zelda timeline. Ganondorf was defeated and his soul had been fragmented into four pieces. Something mysterious has happened and a new enemy Cia shows up to wreak havoc on Hyrule. To restore peace back to Hyrule, Link along with his fellow friends must now band together to take out Cia’s army of minions and close the Gate of Souls before it’s too late.

If Dynasty Warriors wasn’t enough to satisfy you, then how about taking one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises and throwing it into a hack and slash world. Hyrule Warriors is exactly like your typical Dynasty Warriors series, but now every enemy stems from the Zelda series with the player controlling various star protagonists such as Link and Zelda in an all out melee. Many of the weapons and attacks that you’ll find in the game are also taken from the series such as Link’s signature spinning attack, along with the popular bombs that you can plant on the floor and wait for it to take out your enemies. If you enjoy Dynasty Warriors with Nintendo’s collaborative efforts tied in, then definitely check this one out.


1. Dynasty Warriors 8

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Omega Force
  • Release Date: February 28, 2013

The one series that really cemented Koei Tecmo’s name in the history books (literally), is none other than Dynasty Warriors. Not to be confused with Samurai Warriors, which focuses mainly on the Japanese military conflicts of the Sengoku Era, Dynasty Warriors focuses on The Romance of The Three Kingdoms, which is a famous novel written by Luo Guanzhong.

Dynasty Warriors has become such a cult classic for many because of its astonishingly rich story mode, allowing players to take control of famous generals during the time and fighting your way to restore peace to the kingdom with your factions. 83 historical characters were available to choose from in 8, which is a huge jump from the previous iterations, some of which are new additions to the series, while others were added in from other titles. Through playing the story mode you can unlock various characters over time, while difficulty levels vary depending on the story path chosen. With optional objectives to take part in also, along with Ambition mode, players will find themselves sitting through the game for hours on end, while learning a thing or two about Chinese History.


Closing Statement

Koei Tecmo’s titles are some of the best out there, spanning across many genres that have captivated the souls of many die hard fans out there. With 2016 coming to a close and the door to 2017 opening very soon, new titles such as Yoru no Nai Kuni 2, Nioh, and Musou Stars are on their way. Let’s not forget the popular Attack on Titan series that came out with a bang, and blew many fans of the series away with its unforgettable action packed gameplay. Which Koei Tecmo game is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below, and be sure to share our articles to keep the community buzzing!

As always, if you want to know about all the latest buzz straight from the bee’s nest in Japan, be sure to keep it locked here at Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

A passionate fan of gaming, anime, and philosophy. I do lots of graphic design, and stream a lot of games on twitch. I play fighting games competitively, as well as hearthstone. I've lived in Japan for 4 years now and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love ramen, and various types of Japanese style cuisine. Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles! Take care!

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