Well...first of all hi to everyone...it's been a long time really.
I'm currently playing Kessen 3 and I thought it'd be nice to share my opinion on it. I am at the last chapter on my first run at the moment.
I was following Echang's guide to s items until I realized that nearly all these uber S rank items are of little use. Also some of the supposedly tough batlles are walk in the park really if planned properly. Both 10 stars battles against the heroes of Kawanakajima aren't that difficult really and getting s rank and items is way easier than battling Tadakatsu Honda at Okehazama or trying to grab all the items at Nagashino while prolonging Katsuyori's life there. So while perfectionism is nice I'm quite dissapointed with the fact that KOEI doesn't reward the player accordingly. Ignoring the items and building your characters with rampages and using the skills throughout the battle and delaying the victory to the very last minute is way more effective. Actually most times you can do both really.
Another thing I've noticed is that all generals are actually equal in terms of natural stats. There's little if any difference between say Kazumasu Takigawa and Hattori Hanzo, Nobunaga Oda and any other "All" type character, Toshie Maeda or any other "warrior" type character. The only reason Nobunaga is that strong is because of being compulsory in all normal/major battles and thus being higher level. Any character can best him in stats if raised properly. My Saizo Kani is way ahead in INT than Yoshino or Nobunaga (with hero accessory) thanks to Shingen, Yoshiaki and other generals who gladly donate their intellect after being defeated in rampage
The best troops come with new generals obviously in this game. Both Murashige and Saizo just dominate the battlefield because of their spearmen being unmatched at the chapters they join you. Saizo's troops are actually the best till the very last one and would be absolutely great if they had only a single spearwall attack. Don't know if everyone's noticed but the 2rd attack is much weaker the first and the third is even worse and only the last one has a scattering and confusing effect, so it's much better offensively to have only a single spearwall as it can be spammed and abused so nicely that some may call this cheating.
Seriously speaking the spearmen are way ahead of any troop type in most situations. Mounted troops aren't that great really as too much time is wasted on the charge itself, reorientating and is really not practical if you want to avoid attracting more enemies. Rifles are great against...rifles...assuming your defence is higher than their attack of course. The map against Honganji is the perfect example where riflemen are so great. Charging through the centre with a single gun unit like Sanchez in reality is easy and effective...although it's supposed to be a suicide. Since the AI rifles will never try to break the fence...they're just sitting ducks. And no, riflemen aren't that great against cavalry. Even at Nagashino they can be slaughtered once the fences are down. Same with bowmen...good against their counterparts only. Taking down Masayuki Sanada or Ieyasu Tokugawa with bowmen takes eternity for example. Can't say much about the swordsmen as the chaotic nature of their special attack is just...chaotic. Ninjas are really of little use to tell the truth, but I do use them for pure fun as I like giving the AI a bit of charge with Kazumasu's lightning
But, seriously, they're more of liability than an asset. Offscreen they die too fast and they suffer the same problem as cavalry...the special attack wastes too much time and leads to unwanted displacement. Kunoichi are a bit better...but they're just too weak. At the moment both my Saizo and Kazumasu are only one level difference and Saizo deals 2-3k damage with the spearwall, while Kazumasu deals only 900 with shuriken to the same generic officer. Btw Nobunaga's Tiger Cavalry deals about 2k damage to the same enemy and then needs to stop, turn around and charge again even though his attack stats are higher than Saizo's.
A bit about magic. As the general skills carry over to a new game+ I really want to believe they'll be useful eventually. Because unfortunately in my first game Rampage is way, way more efficent than anything any lev4 ninjutsu or offensive spell can offer. My Kazumasu's lightning deals about 2,5-3k damage at the moment at the cost of 4 skill slots...not enough to even kill a generic officer at the prelast chapter in one blow. Rampage allows to fight off at least 2 enemy units and finishing them off with a single spear unit. I've noticed that on average you get 12 sec of confusion out of the rampage and I've never seen 2 rampages with no confusion masks in a row. And it takes less than 3 secs to charge a spearwall. If the AI has a support bowmen unit then you just use the retreat option to go through the ranks of the confused AI unit and decimate the archers behind it. Rampage allows to recover troops, although it's capped at 999 per rampage, but even then it completely outclasses the pathetic Heal. Frankly speaking I only find heal useful if I want to restore the troops for Ieyasu or Tadakatsu and even then...Doubt is better. For my own generals neither is ever needed. The only skills that I found useful are Rally and Gale. Rally speeds things up in dealing with the AI units and getting some items without Gale is nearly impossible, Nagashino map being the best example. I do use Silence occasionally if I have only one skill slot left and thus can't be sure whether I'll get enough confusion time from the rampage but that happens pretty rarely.
As I'm talking about a rampage I believe I should mention that O-Kage is the best for the job and Skylark is...the worst. Skylark gets you killed in a rampage against cavalry and probably kunoichi units as it seems you don't have the invincibility time you usually have after taking the first hit if riding any other horse. But even when riding O-Kage one should actually weigh the chances. I had Sanchez rampaging against Katsuyori's unit at Nagashino and while I've managed to win and got +2 STA increase I probably wouldn't do it again as watching you health dropping by 70% in a single attack is well...unsettling. Warriors are obviously the best for the job even if they're lower in stats. Both Toshie Maeda and Katsuie won every single rampage against Ieyasu at Okehazama despite being 5 levels lower and not riding O-Kage. Both have also survived all rampages against Tadakatsu in the same battle although I've managed to defeat Honda himself only once out of 6 times. If Tadakatsu was in charge of any other unit he wouldn't be a problem really but cavalry is deadly unless you have O-Kage and/or advantage in Stamina. Never had any decent opponent in a rampage since then although Shingen was a bit of a problem as his intelligence was too high so I was really short on time in a rampage.
Last but not least is that apparently Kessen 3 has the same level adjusting system as in the LOCC, meaning intentionally creating the unbalanced army can make things incredibly easy. Over the last 2 chapters I decided to stop rotating characters and started using my favourite characters in every battle. I've noticed that first I reached the level of the main boss of the map and then even surpassed him with 2 of my characters. For example both Nobunaga and Saizo were at lev 38 and my opposition was Hojo at lev 36, the named characters like Masamune Date or Yukimura Sanada were at lev32 and the generics were even lower.