- Publisher: Konami
- Developer: Konami
- ESRB Rating: “T" for Teen
- Genre: Shoot-Em-Up
- Pros: Cute busty anime girls; lots of content; classic game design
- Cons: Maybe you don't like cute busty anime girls?; underwhelming gameplay; so-so visuals
Otomedius Excellent's core concept is either one of its most appealing features, or the thing that will turn some people away the moment they see the box art. It features cute little moe moe anime girls with comically large breasts who essentially ride their space ships like bicycles instead of actually piloting them from inside. Personally, we like this sort of stuff and is part of why we wanted to cover it. On the other hand, if you don't like anime and crazy Japanese-ness, this game isn't for you.
The story is ... inconsequential. One group of half naked anime girls - you choose one of 7 characters - fights through the levels where they face another group of half naked anime girls as boss fights at the end of each level. All of the dialogue is in Japanese, and while the characters yell things at each other while you play, the subtitles for what they are saying are only found in a little pop up window in the corner of the screen, and when you're actually playing the game, it is impossible to try to read the subtitles. The story really doesn't matter, though.
In a neat twist, each of the characters has their own unique weapons, and you can further customize things by selecting different weapon upgrade paths before you start the game. Also, by playing as a character you level them up which opens up access to new weapons for you to use next time. It is a pretty clever system that definitely rewards you for multiple playthroughs. All of the characters play a bit differently, and with the customization options each playthrough will be different from the last.
Unfortunately, the actual shooting gamepaly is really remarkably dull and crawls along at a snail's pace no matter how many upgrades you waste on speed boosts. Enemies come at you in completely predictable patterns. The level designs are simple and kind of boring, and just aren't interesting. Even the boss fights, which usually are the high point in shmups, are entirely forgettable here. It is all just so boring compared to pretty much every other shooter available on Xbox 360. Compared to so-called "bullet hell" shooters like Deathsmiles, which surround you in a hail of bullets pretty much constantly, Otomedius Excellent is a leisurely stroll through the park. It isn't necessarily easy - an odd shaped hitbox and strange collision detection can make it hard to tell when you're taking hits, so you die a lot - but there is really no challenge because the game gives you unlimited continues. You just keep on grinding through the game and dying and can beat it with no skill. It just plain isn't fun.
Graphics & Sound
The sound is okay. There are a few classic Gradius themes that sneak in here and there, and the music overall has that oldschool arcade shmup vibe. The voice work is all in Japanese.