Gabriel (Alphaomega) Tran April 19, 2001 Review Feedback

Onimusha Warlords

Onimusha: Warlords has become one of the PlayStation 2's most highly anticipated games, promising a worthy offering from the “survival horror” genre for which Capcom is noted. It has already become the highest selling PS2 game in Japan, and now with its North American release, can it live up to the high standards gamers expect from it? Or will it be horribly bashed on like Squaresoft's The Bouncer? Well, let's just say I came away very pleased when playing this game.

Boy, are they a doozey! The game is set on top of beautifully pre-rendered backgrounds, with highly detailed character models. The characters move realistically, through extensive motion capturing by Capcom, and it definitely shows. The fluency of each slash from your katana is truly a wonder; add in the glowing saber effects, and blood splashing from each hit, and you got yourself a keeper! The in-game cut scenes are extremely detailed, since most of the power of the PS2 is spent on rendering the polygonal characters, rather than the high-resolution backgrounds. The faces of Samanosuke and Kaede scream quality, and are the most realistic depiction of a fictional character I have ever seen. The amazing thing is that despite being done with pre-rendered backgrounds, Capcom has managed to add wonderful particle and lighting effects (a real time flame on a pre-rendered torch) seamlessly into the game. It's much easier to appreciate this when you have six enemies attacking you with no slowdown to the game whatsoever.

Artistically, the game is beautiful. Set in feudal Japan, you get to view the serenity of Japanese architecture and forest settings. Of course, this all balances when you see the nice disfigured samurai demons with their flesh falling off and their ribcages exposed. Though it isn't as bad as Resident Evil, it still isn't for the weak at heart. The direction of the game has a very Resident Evil feel to it as well, with the camera angles giving it a survival horror feel.

And of course, there are the magnificently directed and animated FMVs. Capcom sure didn't spare any expenses for the movies in this game, as you may well know after seeing just the epic battle sequence in the beginning. The amount of detail and sheer scale of the battle is amazing, truly a thing to behold. The motion capture of each character is easily mistakable for a real person, and the direction of the movies gives an incredibly epic feel to the game. Like the back of the game box says, the game is "a true cinematic gaming experience!"

Game Play:
In a way, Capcom really hasn't strayed too much from their previous games. Movement is controlled from a first person perspective, so moving forward would require you to push up, no matter what angle you see the game at, a la Resident Evil. As stated before, the game also uses several camera angles to give you a survival horror feel, and at many times things just plunge out of nowhere at you.

And though the idea and structure of the game is very similar to that of the RE series, its differences change the game greatly. Instead of the slow paced action within the RE series, Onimusha focuses much more on action, and would place the game under more of a "survival action" sub-sub-genre. And as it should be, the action is quick and smooth.

The simple press of the Square button controls attack. Pressing Square in succession will unleash a barrage of slashing attacks on a foe. The great thing is that there is very little recovery time between each chain of slashes, so even if four enemies barrage you at once, you will easily be able to get out of the pinch. Now of course, there are times when your trusty slashes won't get you out of a trap, so you'll have to use the special magical attacks of your sword. Depending on which sword you have (lightning, fire, wind), you will be able to pull off a special attack of that element at the cost of some of your magical bar.

Now, for all you RE fans, you're probably asking 'what about the R1 button?' which has always been used to attack. In Onimusha, R1 plays a big part, as it automatically aims you towards the closest enemy, and puts you in a duel position. Moving left and right in this mode will cause you to strafe around the target, making it easier to dodge attacks, and get around the enemy. Pushing up or down while in R1 mode will also cause you to hop toward or away from the targeted enemy, making approaching and fleeing much easier. Also, R1 in conjunction with a well-timed Square at the moment of the enemy’s attack will cause Samanosuke to do a quick dodge and powerful counter-attack. I've managed to hit three demons with one counter-attack, killing them all (teaches them to mess with me!). The gameplay in Onimusha is very simple to use, yet takes a long time and much dexterity and quickness to master.

After every kill, a demon's body will decompose away, and their soul/s will start floating away. Throughout the game you will need to collect these souls, which happen to come in three flavors (red/cherry, yellow/pear, and blue/blueberry). Ok, so they don't really come in those flavors, but they come in those colors. Red souls are added to your Gauntlet, which is given to you by mysterious spirits called Ogres to combat the demons, and spent at save points to upgrade your weapons, orbs (which open sealed doors), and items (no more mixing herbs!). Yellow souls refill your life bar, and blue souls reveal your magic. Of course, red souls are the most abundant as you will be spending them a lot, while yellow and blue souls are relatively hard to find.

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