Otomedius Excellent is the sequel to Konami’s 2007 arcade game of the same name. It has similar gameplay mechanics, and features that the “Gradius”, and “Parodius” series of shmups (shoot ’em ups) had. Unlike Gradius or Parodius, “Otomedius Excellent” features female pilots who are basically tribute characters to various other Konami video game franchises (TwinBee, Gradius, Salamander, Castlevania …). The core game comes with a set number of available pilots, and ships that all have unique attributes and appearances. For the most part the girls of “Otomedius Excellent” are eye candy. Don’t let this fool you though, the cuteness of Konami’s ladies definitely masks the hardcore nature of the game. If you’re looking for an easy shmup then you may want to pass this one up, because every mode in the game is very difficult in nature. In fact you can expect to die often as you play through any of the available modes.
The graphics, and sound quality of “Otomedius Excellent” are fairly impressive, but not too grand. The fact of the matter is that the graphics are a tiny bit dated to be an Xbox 360 game. You only get brief 3D glimpses of the female pilots before, and after each round/stage of the game is complete. These visual displays are not very detailed, but do retain the anime style associated with the game. The graphic highlights of the game are definitely the 3D rendered backdrops/backgrounds. The screen sized boss ships are also somewhat impressive. What I really enjoyed about “Otomedius Excellent” though was that it kept true to it’s original Japanese release with Japanese audio that accented the anime style gameplay quite well. The animated anime characters that were shown before each boss fight were a nice touch as well.
During my playthrough of “Otomedius Excellent” I found that the weapon system was very similar to the Gradius/Parodius games. The difference was that you could select the types of weapons you would use during the game from a list of available/unlockable choices. As you play through the game’s story mode more weapon types will be made available, and at different power levels. Aside from the customizable weapons system the game also featured an RPG style leveling system for the characters you played as. The leveling/RPG rank system featured ranks associated with various types of angels, and went in order of their hierarchy.
Otomedius Excellent is basically a game with a a single player campaign, a score attack mode, and a co-op Xbox LIVE multiplayer. The main reason I got the game was, because of the score attack mode. I’m all about getting those high scores in shmups, and “Otomedius Excellent” seemed to be a worthy game in that area. When I actually began playing score attack though, I found it to be extremely difficult to amass any sort of respectable score. In this game you will die many cheap deaths simply because the bullet hell sprays are unfair as are the level designs. Aside from my initial interest in the score attack mode I was also interested in playing online co-op with others. Unfortunately “Otomedius Excellent” is kind of on the rare side making it almost impossible to find any online matches. I was actually unable to find anyone playing online. I also ended up checking the leaderboards and the last highscore was recorded at the end of last year. This was a little disappointing to say the least.
I did found out that “Otomedius Excellent” definitely has a lot of DLC. The DLC you can get for this game is quite impressive, but it really adds up in points if you want to get all the extra bells, and whistles (figuratively speaking). The current available DLC includes new characters, new costumes, new stages, and new music if I remember correctly. The downside to buying the DLC is that it’s mainly used for showing off in the online mode. With hardly anyone playing the game I can’t really see any reason as to why I would spend that kind of points/money on something I couldn’t show off to friends, or random players.
In conclusion I found “Otomedius Excellent” to be a major letdown. While it had what I was looking for in a shmup, the intense difficulty of the game makes it less enjoyable. The cheap deaths I died while trying to defeat bosses, and simply make it through stages were definitely unnecessary. The fact that the online mode was not really there at all took away from the game as a whole. The DLC is basically pointless to buy, because of how many people actually bought the game. Otomedius Excellent will likely become one of those hard to find games (which it is already) that fetches a hefty resell price due to rarity, but I’m just not seeing how this game is worth having at all. It is good but not Great. There are better shooters out there.
Here are more screens of the game.