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Having not played the worst game, I am quite unfamiliar with the overall plot but had heard of it through the acclaimed first game and luckily I was able to pick up the game cheaply.
The game starts off with you returning to your home village, only to realise that the mining village which you call home has been decimated by the forces of the demon Nobunaga. Crushed and boiling with anger you vow revenge on the perpetrators and don't have to wait long as the village is crawling with demons.
Your character is called Jubei who is a very seasoned and skilful samurai, you can strike with deadly accuracy and lighting speed. Your weapons of choice to begin with is the sword as you look to track down the demon who was ultimately responsible for the carnage.
You can pull off a range of attacks through different combinations and look to repel the attacks of the initial swordsmen you encounter through jumps, blocks and counter attacks. Every time you take a life you can absorb their souls, until your energy reaches a maximum level, at which point you can you can pull utilise a series of magic attacks depending on the weapon you have.
You begin with a sword but throughout the game you will discover other weapons also, including a long spear, a crossbow and a matchlock shotgun. You will along your journey discover other characters to who will fight alongside you as they to want to rid themselves of the evil which has infected the town.
You can acquire items to which you can either sell or use to barter with local merchants for things like herbs to heal you, magic, or indeed weapons which you can choose to give to any of the 4 sub characters.
There is plenty of moves on offer and the action is quite intense. One thoughtful feature is that button bashing is discouraged by offering the player an optimum moment to launch a counter, this can lead to huge amounts of damage being done to multiple enemies at once.
The control system is good and is responsive, the controls themselves are quite easy to learn, although you will definitely improve with practice.
There is a large but though and it certainly undermine the good features of the game. Firstly the game developers have done a poor job with the camera angles. There are times when the camera pans out giving you an almost impossible view of the action, meaning you then have to move closer to the camera again just to get a good angle.
The graphics are very good, offering a good level of detail and smooth motion. The backdrops look impressive and there is a fair amount of freedom to roam.
Furthermore if you get a little lost you can end up venturing into the same area again, only to realise that enemies have respawned so that you fight them over and over again. This is very frustrating and is a big deterrent at times.
i have bought and played every onimusha game that capcom have made. I didn't feel this game lived up to it's previous game or it's later ones, i liked that it followed the basic theme that all the onimusha games had and it would have been a good game if it had used the same characters as were used in all the other games, i do feel however that the new characters created a better storyline. this game i felt however was not as well planned as the other games, the introduction of money was a good idea but it was to unclear on what could be done with it and i was left wondering if there was any point in collecting it at all. the boss monsters on the other hand were to complicated to understand, on many of the bosses it was almost impossible to work out how to defeat them and i hadd to reffer to many walkthroughs online before i could move on to the next area. i do not feel this game should have been sold as part of the onimusha series, i think it would have been better to create it as a seperate game altogether but with a reference to the onimusha series. this games was very difficult to understand, but at the same time i do not feel it should have been aimed at adults as some of the things were just to simple and wern't brilliant graphically wise.
*A review of Onimusha 2.*
Whilst the sequel may be magnificent in size compared to it's predecessor, it felt as if the flaws too had become magnified.
The game only works with the Dual Shock 2 (or similar), despite the d-pad being used for movement, and the map feature - mapped to R3 - being accessible via the Start menu. The default controller configuration (or only, rather) sees just R1 making use of it's analogue button - lightly held, and the character readies their weapon, but held firmly, they also charge their Oghi power. As this produces more powerful attacks and does not consume magic, or anything, there was perhaps not the need to differentiate. Such preparation has its problems however, since there's no switching, let alone knowing the enemy whom your character will lock-on to. Outside of the Oghi, the presence of enemies means there's no guessing correctly whether your character does a standard attack or stabs the enemy at their feet. Then there's the disappointment of the latter seemingly seeing to a drop in the chances of a successful connection as well as it being not guaranteed to deliver death. At least with the Hissatsu counter attacks timing of attacks can be rewarded. Oh, and the left analogue stick can come into use - when equipped with a projectile-based weapon. Throw in the tank-like controls and 180 degree turn and you're ready to go.
Now, the camera angles are always going to be a problem in this style of game, but it's as if they plumped for the poorer choice of camera angles all-round. So at times the enemies can be in the way obscuring the action as well as being out of the picture, or indeed, the pre-rendered backgrounds. Speaking of which, these backgrounds needn't be still - the best shots, of the stream, sure are er, streaming! However, it's not all exotic environments, since the game retreads old ground in the Inabayama Castle. Seems the game must be keen on recycling - bits of backtracking aside, you'll also at least battle not one, but two, bosses, thrice! And then there's the final boss battle (yes, HIM again), of which, surprisingly is of a similar "WHAT THE HELL!?" vein to that of another Capcom action-adventure, Devil May Cry. Somewhat similar games, samey problems?
As well as the change of characters - this time they can all absorb souls - on occasions an ally fights alongside you. Whilst it can leave players divided on the AI, as it did the enemies, you can leave them to do the dirty work, and just absorb - not soul [!] bad is it? This time, armour - and not items - can be enhanced along with the weapons. It's good to talk - there's now a town with numerous NPCs to chat to, and someone to buy gifts from. Although you'll get a rough clue of what gifts to give to whom, you'll have no idea of what you'll get in return. Still, it can be worth it even if there's trial-and-error, but there's laughs to be had when presenting an adult magazine as a gift. If only Oyu downing the love potion lived up to it's potential.
I didn't find the soundtrack to be memorable, but I remember not fancying the town theme. There are plenty of boxes with puzzles - as these were without timer they are of the pressure-free type. As well as the unlockables, players can play again for the multiple routes and improved grades. Thankfully you can skip the sequences because story-wise, the dialogue and dubbing is dubious, and some of what happens is just silly. Onimusha 2 is a disappointing sequel. It's average enough to make me wonder why I don't just stick with 2D games.
After selling two million copies worldwide, Capcom's oriental action-survival horror game, Onimusha: Warlords, seemed due a sequel. Despite the original game being stuck in developmental limbo for years (switching from N64 to PSone, then finally to PS2 over that time), a sequel came out just a year after the first game's release in 2001. While the original game was among the first to really showcase the PS2's prowess in several areas, the gameplay was firmly stuck in the PSOne era so there was a lot to improve and refine for Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny.
One of the decidedly next-gen parts of the original game was the astounding graphics, and that's no different here. Characters are wonderfully animated and the 16th century Japan they inhabit is evoked brilliantly (apart from Oyu's armour which protects everything except her cleavage and thighs). The meticulously detailed, pre-rendered backgrounds are excellent apart from their inherent vices. Some areas from Warlords are re-used, but with no noticeable drop in quality. Various locations such as grotesquely macabre demonic realms, quiet rural villages and lush countrysides are all equally well portrayed. The occasional FMVs look even better, easily on par with the CGI feature films of the time, it's stunning stuff, especially in the opening FMV. Overall, everything looks extremely smooth and it helps pull players into the dark plot.
The game follows the swordsman Jubei Yagyu, as he goes on the same quest Samanosuke went on in the first game: to kill the ambitious demon king Nobunaga so he cannot realise his ambition of ruling Japan. Jubei is better developed than Samanosuke was, motivated by more than a sense of duty, but the rather tired background of a destroyed village is unoriginal, and he lacks the presence or conviction to be a compelling character. He's little more than a typical action hero, although the romance subplot has an interesting melancholy note that makes it stand out. The entire plot is quite poorly executed; although it's an intriguing tale, the usually bumbling villains, unconvincing emotions and atrocious voice acting makes it hard to take seriously. A lot of effort went into the abundant cut-scenes and spectacular FMVs, but these aspects are undermined. There are occasional stirring moments, but it doesn't gel together enough to be the tale of mythic proportions it strives to be.
The gameplay and general structure of the original Onimusha could be described as the old Resident Evil with more emphasis on action and less on obtuse puzzles. That description holds true with the sequel. However, mandatory puzzles are reduced to fetch-quests, apart from a couple of straightforward brain teasers. The action parts of the game are fairly regular, and unfortunately its most distinctive characteristics are also its worst. Capcom persisted in using the same control-scheme as RE: D-pad controls with movement determined by the direction the character (rather than the camera) is facing. This system, which intentionally restricted and muddled survival horror gamers, just isn't well suited for 3-D action games. It's been partially updated but it's still an archaic feature ill suited to the game. The pre-rendered backgrounds add to the problem, concealing enemies by chance rather than design and occasionally disorientating the player.
Combat works well, but by withholding some control from the player. It can be fairly challenging, especially where some bosses are concerned, so the extra help is welcome. Attacks are automatically guided towards enemies, making targeting a less cumbersome process than it could have been, although it can cause difficulties when attempting to target one of a group of demons. It lacks the fluidity of Devil May Cry or similar games, but it feels very gratifying due to the excellent animations. Every blow tells. Blood sprays from each wound, each kick forces the victim to stagger backwards. Enemies are knocked to the floor, tossed in the air, impaled and much else in a violent frenzy. It isn't over the top like God of War, but it is still very empowering. The animation and suitably grisly sound effects all contribute to the player's sense of involvement in combat. While the player engages more with the mesmerising carnage rather than the tactically shallow gameplay mechanics, the game doesn't suffer much from it and almost overcomes the game's fundamental anachronisms.
When enemies are dispatched, their rapidly festering corpses release "souls" which linger in the air for a while before fading. Jubei can absorb them and benefit from the demon's handily colour-coded essence: red souls are collected and can be used to power-up items at save-points; yellow souls restore health; blue souls refill the magic bar each individual magical weapon has; and when five purple souls are collected, Jubei briefly transforms into an Onimusha (an invincible, super-powered demon). The amount of souls released depends on the chosen difficulty level and the manner in which enemies are killed. I found the quantity of souls released to be quite scant on normal mode, and easy was far too generous. The system does work well, but I thought there were slightly irritating balance issues.
That's the core gameplay elements covered, but secondary elements need to be mentioned. Short sections of the game are played through as other characters that control exactly like Jubei, previous actions with the "gift" system determining which of the three available characters is controlled. The gift system is a simple trading sub-quest the player can engage in during the first half of the game in the village which serves as a kind of hub. Jubei can offer items to the three characters, at random or based on the hints they give, usually in return for something else. Their entire disposition towards Jubei is based on the gifts they receive (a relationship system sure to disappoint many RPG fans), and it affects ancillary plot points. It provides variety to the short main quest, and adds some incentive to replay the game to discover alternative areas and plot elements, but it's not that rewarding.
The music isn't distinctly Japanese in style, being composed more of general airy orchestrational tracks. It suits the game perfectly, while very much being a case of verisimilitude being overlooked in favour of overall effect. Nothing quite stands out, but everything is of high quality.
Sadly, the same cannot be said of the dubbing. Astonishingly, given the game's extremely high production values, the English dub is awful. In the original game, this could be ignored as the Japanese dub was available, but no such option is given here. Some of the main characters are merely below average, but it's unbelievable that some executive gave this the go-ahead. After the huge expense Capcom went to with the rest of the game, failing to cater adequately to such a huge demographic is huge misstep. There is also the age old problem of translated dialogue to match in-game cutscenes which results in the occasional odd line, but the poor voice acting overshadows all these flaws. It prevented me from ever taking the storyline seriously, yet never provided the unintentional hilarity Capcom have previously (and will hopefully continue to) delivered in their attempts at localisation. Mention of the game won't trigger fond memories of strange lines, the dialogue and delivery aren't so bad they're good, they're just plain bad.
The game is just too patchy and old fashioned . The graphics are impressive, but proved to be easily matched without the same constraints Onimusha 2 works within. The gameplay is only good enough. The music is solid, but isn't memorable. The plot, even if properly translated, is somewhat interesting but far from outstanding. Despite the amount of polish, the game's reliance on dated formulas and concepts hold it back. It's a short, fairly insubstantial game, despite its own efforts to prolong its longevity. It's a good game, but despite the extravagant budget, it never comes near being great.
Onimusha 2 is a game I bought second hand having never heard of it it looked quite interesting.
The game starts with your main character starting in his village where everyone has been killed. The Gemna (demons) appear and start to attack you.
The story unfolds at a good pace and I won't spoil any of this for you.
Parts of the game involve trading items, if you wish to, with friends you have made. Trhoughout the game you can even get to play as these characters. Hopefully in trading, they will give you better items in return if they are happy or give you an item that another friend may like.
Various puzzles appear in the game and these start off quite simple, but quickly become more challenging.
The game itself is very good, very appealling and the boss fights can be a good challenge. There was one boss I could not even hit for the first 5 or 6 tries, not even once! I thought he was impossible, however a full on brutal attack in frustration helped get rid of this boss. Answers lie later on in the storyline.
I thoroughly enjoyed the game, very dark and mystical nature about it.
A few problems. Firstly, you have to use the direction buttons to control the character, you cannot use the analogue stick. This makes playing the game a little more difficult and too similar to Playstation One games.
Also, camera angles are fixed. Many times, you are at the edge of the screen and are fighting someone just off the edge of the screen. You need to move back slightly or forward to change the camera angle, leaving yourself open to attack from an unseen attacker.
The game story line is good in that it doesn't have chapters or sections to follow. It is smooth as you go from one place to the next, simply saving at the available points, the only way that the gameplay is broken up is on the boss fights. This is good since you don't feel like you have completed a section and it makes it feel incomplete until the very end.
The final boss is a difficult challenge.
Then the game fails. Big time. The boss changes into something completely different. Everything goes a bit wierd and you feel like you are playing a completely different game. Without this bit the game would be brilliant. It just does not seem to fit with the rest of the game.
Very good game, so much so I also ended up buying Onimusha 4 and even went back and also got Onimusha the original. Must get number 3 sometime....
Prepare yourself for the highly anticipated sequel to the award winning Onimusha: Warlords and the 2nd epic quest in Capcoms classic samurai adventure series. Return to the magical days of feudal Japan and join Jubei, a young warrior, as he launches on an epic, magical quest, only to reveal his ultimate destiny!