Dawn of Dreams is the fourth Onimusha title and varies from the others in many ways and is generally an improvement. Although this is the fourth, you don't need previous versions to get the story line - it is fully explained throughout.
The first most noticable improvement is the camera. Now it is in 3D and rotates around the character rather than being from a fixed point. The control of the person now can be done from the left analogue stick, whereas previous versions were using the direction buttons.
You start the game as a single character nicknamed 'Blue' and the story develops fairly well. Along the way you will meet up with further people who will join your party. Each person uses a distinct type of weapon, one uses a sword, another a gun for example.
The storyline isn't too bad but isn't outstanding, cherry trees are being planted and they are producing Gemna (if I understood this correctly?).
There are interesting twists on the enemies. One type explodes on death and you need to run to avoid the explosion. There is also a boss fight where the boss attacks you between death and falling to the ground - just when you thought you had finished!
It is an interesting and varied game. Puzzles are abundant and the boss fights get quite difficult and all have very, very differing tactics to defeat them.
Each persons weapon or defense can be upgraded using red orbs that you can collect and there is a shop you can buy improvements from also.
Worthwhile playing this game as it will take some time to complete and is actually quite fun.
Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams is the fourth game in the Onimusha series that not only builds upon its predecessors considerably, but makes the game more attractive to a wider audience as well.
The story, as is common with many Japanese orientated games, is as epic as usual. Cherry trees are being planted that seem to have a more sinister purpose than making everwhere look a little prettier. 'Genma' or nasty little monsters, are appearing in greater numbers all over Japan and the land is being controlled by a power hungry warlord named Hideyoshi. The character you begin controlling, and the only one who seems to understand the ominous presence of the cherry trees is the 'Blue Demon'. The story and the characters have a way of dragging you into their world very easily and the journey is an extremely enjoyable one. The best thing for many people is that you do not need to have played the previous games in the series to be able to understand the game - new characters, new storyline.
It's hard to know where to begin with this game as it does practically everyhing very well indeed. The gameplay never becomes boring and, out of the 5 playable characters, there are over 100 weapons to find and use altogether. From different types of guns, to magical staffs and even gauntlets - more choice than simply swords. They all have special powers and abilities which affect certain enemies differently and therefore the gameplay can vary considerably depending what weapon/character you are using. Apart from standard attacks, which are all upgradable through the absorption of souls making them stronger or unlocking new attacks, magical attacks are available with most weapons. The magical attacks vary in power and element (fire, ice, water, light etc). As your weapon is upgraded, bonus attributes may be unlocked. Defense may be raised, life bar may be increased and all of these are weapon dependent.
To upgrade these, as I touched on earlier, you need to absorb souls from fallen enemies. Red - experience souls. Yellow - health souls. Blue - magic souls. Purple - Oni gauge souls. Most enemies drop items ocasionally as well, from health items, to special items that can be combined to create new items and even weapons. Each character can make slightly different things as well so it becomes quite fun to see what you can create from a mushroom and a lizard! All of the characters, who you will encounter on your journey, all have their own storylines and reasons for meeting the 'Blue Demon'.
Graphically the game is solid and many enemies can be on screen without slowdown or stuttering. All of the levels look good and are suitably atmospheric (helped by the music). There are a great deal of levels that all link because of the story and all have meaning and purpose. It really is a game that makes you want to progress through the story and discover twists or enemies. There's nothing worse than a game that feels tedious due to hack and slash gameplay that gets boring quickly. A good story helps to make a good game and a reason for the player to get involved.
The enemies are no less interesting because of this. They are all quite strange really and offer individual challenges. Some may seem quite easy when they are on their own, but when another type of enemy joins them, your skills will be tested. It's a gentle learning curve that constantly gives you surprises in gameplay or strategy. With all those weapons at your disposal, I'm sure you will enjoy experimenting with them! The bosses are even more unique and are plentiful.
Even after you get through the game once, which will take at least 20 hours (very good for a single player action game)you will want to play it again to discover all the other secrets and weapons. Great replayability, but sadly not as many extra unlockables as the previous version. They are quite a nice addition but I honestly expected more. To be honest, when so much time has obviously been put into this excellent game, even more extras would be a luxury.
If you enjoy action games, this is one of the best you can get in my opinion. Fluid gameplay, fantastic and quite funny characters, challenging bosses and lots to explore and do. The CG cutscenes are beautiful as usual and are the icing on the cake to what is a sequel to rival all others in the series - probably the best in all honesty. Please play this game, you really won't regret it and it's a great experience. Have fun killing those demons:)