FromSoftware's Rarest Franchise Is Finally Digitally Available On Xbox

FromSoftware has developed some of the most iconic, beautiful and difficult games of the modern era, including classics like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, as well as the upcoming Elden Ring. But the company has been around for decades, and in that time, they were known for other titles that, while well-received, have gone under the radar when compared to their latest series. The most obscure of these games may be the Otogi series, a duology consisting of Otogi: Myth of Demons and Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors. 

Otogi was hindered by a low print run and Xbox exclusivity at a time when the console and brand were still finding its footing. There are very few physical copies that have survived to this day, and the series has largely been forgotten by the gaming community. The first entry was even nominated by GameSpot for their 2003 “Best Game No One Played” award. Now that they’re being made not only backwards compatible on Xbox console but digitally available for the first time ever, many gamers finally have a chance to try them out.

Related: The 5 Rarest Games for the Original Xbox

In celebration of Xbox’s 20th anniversary, the Otogi series is being made digitally available through backwards compatible for current Xbox consoles. Both games are 3D hack and slash played from the third-person perspective, released in 2003 and 2004 respectively, taking place in feudal Japan where it’s under attack from demons of the underworld. Players take control of a former executioner and assassin named Raikoh Minamoto, who seeks to purge the demons from his world and redeem himself for his sins.

While obviously dated in many aspects, the Otogi series can be seen as the inspiration for FromSoftware’s first major hit, Demon’s Souls. The art style and in-game environments are dark, ominous and meant to fill players with a sense of dread and unease. The enemy’s players face are demons of widely differing sizes, appearances and abilities, sometimes appearing in huge numbers that can overwhelm Raikoh. Similar to many Souls-like games, the main character occasionally receives help from a mysterious Princess that brought Raikoh back to life in exchange for his services. It also features numerous boss battles against larger, more powerful demons, with players having to dodge their attacks and find the right opportunity to deal damage.

Related: How FromSoftware Refined Elden Ring's Combat By Looking to the Past

As a hack-and-slash game, Otogi is much easier than most of FromSoftware’s other titles, which are infamous for challenging even the best gamers. There’s greater movement speed and virtually no stamina bar to look out for. It also has certain RPG mechanics, including upgrading Raikoh’s health bar over the course of the game, altering stats by equipping different weapons from four categories, and utilizing elemental magic spells based on the four symbols of wind, fire, water and lightning. Another unique feature of Otogi is that players are capable of destroying pieces of the environment around them, which, for the time it was released, was quite rare for a game.

Otogi 2 continues where the first game left off, following Raikoh’s quest to banish the demons back to the underworld. However, he’s not alone in the fight as players can take control of new playable characters in different chapters, each with different looks, powers and move sets. Raikoh himself is based on the real-life historical figure Minamoto no Yorimitsu, who served the imperial regents of the Fujiwara clan over a millennium ago as a military commander who helped suppress bandits and conquer the lands of rival clans. He’s also featured in a number of ancient Japanese tales and legends.

The Otogi series isn’t alone in returning to modern consoles, with more than 70 titles from the original Xbox and Xbox 360 consoles now available to be played by wider audiences. But it is an enjoyable series that has been stuck in the shadows long enough, and deserves to be rediscovered by modern Souls-like fans once again.

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Robert Koumarelas (201 Articles Published)

Robert Koumarelas is a writer, video and photo editor. Graduating from Sheridan College for Journalism, covering and writing about great stories has become as much passion as a career. Video games are not just a fun hobby for him, but a legitimate form of art and story telling that engages fans.

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