Sangoku Musou -Empress of Tragedy-, now available in English, is an ambitious erotic action-RPG with pretty 3D visuals. But does the rest of the game match up?
Developer: Red Dragonfly
Japanese doujin circle Red Dragonfly has unleashed their erotic 3D action-RPG on an unsuspecting Internet. Red Dragonfly enlisted one of the environmental designers from the Witcher 3, explaining the impressive visuals. Text can be displayed in any of three languages: English, Japanese, and Chinese, while the heroine is voiced in Japanese.
Sangoku Musou -Empress of Tragedy- is a derivative of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms lore. The heroine, Wang Yuanji, is a traveler from another world who must cut a path through armies of soldiers, beasts, tentacle monsters, and other fantastical creatures to win the day. The action-RPG gameplay resembles the gameplay in other one vs. army games like Dynasty Warriors and Drakengard. But the game's main attraction is its variety of erotic animations with the world's various creatures (viewable in the 18+ trailer on the DLsite page, starting at 1:25).
The end of the trailer indicates that this will be Red Dragonfly's final product as a doujin circle.
Combat in Sangoku Musou -Empress of Tragedy- is functional but very simplistic. The heroine has a single sword combo and some special moves on short cooldowns--and that's it. The leveling system is equally spartan. Defeated enemies drop gold, which is used to increase stats and skill modifiers in linear increments. Attack strength is increased mainly by collecting weapons that drop randomly from enemies. Attack strength is simply the sum of the attack value of all weapons collected, including repeats. Your character is more or less as strong as the number and power of weapons you've collected. There's zero strategy or skill involved as dodging is neither easy nor necessary. I powered up a skill that greatly increases attack speed for 4s on a 10s cooldown, which trivializes all encounters including bosses. There's no penalty for "dying" other than a short animation delay; afterwards your HP is replenished to full and you rise up right where you fell, making the HP bar meaningless and the difficulty essentially non-existent.
The game has issues with both the camera and basic controls. The camera is unwieldy and frequently gets stuck on objects or at awkward viewing angles, requiring constant readjustment by the player. This becomes less of an issue after the first stage but never quite disappears.
An action-RPG seems perfect for a gamepad, especially with the limited number of actions possible. Sadly, the default XInput gamepad mapping is very awkward and essential commands are missing, requiring frequent access to a keyboard. Daze can only be broken with the spacebar, and ESC seems to be the only way to break out of a looping H-animation (the latter isn't even in the game's documentation).
The game lacks a minimap that remains active while you're moving, which makes moving about the open-world quite disorienting.
World Design / Stages
The world of Sangoku Musou -Empress of Tragedy- is vast and empty. The game is broken into several stages, each with their own open map for the player to navigate. Mob groups spawn constantly around you, often right on top of you too. Each map has a single objective: kill a boss marked on your mini-map.
There's no reason to explore, which is a cardinal sin in a game that promotes its large open-world maps as a feature. Treasure chests are hidden across the large, empty maps, and hunting for them simply isn't worth the effort. The in-game map can't be displayed while moving, nor is there a compass to orient yourself with, further impeding exploration.
The story of Sangoku Musou -Empress of Tragedy- unfolds through short dialogues with NPCs and bosses. What little dialogue there is is almost impossible to follow even if you're trying. The dialogue is in a faded text that's barely readable, conversations do not pause combat, and the timing of the unspoken bits is way off, causing them to disappear before they can even be read. What little I did manage to make out was completely forgettable. The protagonist is fully voiced in Japanese, but overall there's literally nothing of value in this game story-wise.
The sex is the only redeeming factor in Sangoku Musou -Empress of Tragedy-, and probably what most players came for. Each stage features ~5 leader-type mobs each with ~2 sexual positions. A sex cutscene is triggered by the heroine getting hit with a stun-type special attack. You have until the mob approaches to undaze yourself by repeatedly pressing the space key, otherwise you're treated to a looping rape animation along with some sexy moans. The new creature types, and thus new sex animations, that unlock with each new stage are more or less the entire incentive for progression. Enemies also randomly drop costumes to add variety to exploration and sex scenes. There's also a few different presets for heroine face and hairstyle, allowing a small bit of customization.
The 18+ trailer on the DLsite page shows the looping ero-animation in action (skip to 1:25) along with screenshots.
Sangoku Musou -Empress of Tragedy- is more or less a sex sim with gameplay shoehorned into it. The sex is good (though generic and repetitive), the female protagonist is hot... and that's about all this game has going for it. The lack of story means the sex has no context at all, which may turn off traditional eroge fans. Defeat rape is admittedly much less satisfying when it's devoid of context and therefore emotion. Even the bosses are throwaway figures with no characterization. I've never been fond of sprite-sex games, and this game is more or less the same idea except in 3D. While initially hot, such games quickly grow tedious, and this game is no different.
Bottomline: Recommended only for those who are mostly interested in the looping sex animations. Try the free trial on DLsite Eng before you buy.
Looking for other games like this? Here's some recommendations (available in English unless otherwise specified):
|Lightning Warrior Raidy series|
|Beat Blades Haruka|
|Yumina the Ethereal|
|Park Toucher Fantasy:|
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