Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny
Game Info
Platform(s)
Playstation 2
Publisher
Capcom
Developer
Capcom
Genre
Survival Horror
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Violence, Blood and Gore
 
Grade
The Good

• Visually gorgeous
• Longer, better story
• Gift system and allies are a nice addition

The Bad

• Camera angles leave player open for cheap shots
• No analog control
• Poor control implementation

 
Grade
B+

In Onimusha 2, the story picks up some years after the events of the first game. The evil Nobunaga has risen again and is laying siege to feudal Japan. After finding his village destroyed, the samurai Jubei Yagyu vows revenge and proceeds to track down Nobunaga. He ends up in the mining town of Imasho, where he meets a variety of allies, including Magoichi, Kotaro, Ekei and Oyu, who will lend a hand to help him defeat the demonic minions. From there, the story unfolds into a larger and deeper tale than the original game.

From the opening cinema, you'll be amazed by the extremely high quality of the graphics. The CG cinemas are a sight to behold as they show a great attention to detail and style. Even the pre-rendered cutscenes with the in-game engine look great, as the character models are extremely well detailed. The facial models alone show a great range of emotion. While the game is built with pre-rendered backgrounds on which the polygonal characters move, most of the background are animated, giving them life. One of the more impressive moments is in the opening part, where a steady downpour of rain is effectively animated on top of the locales. Spell and lighting effects are gorgeous and the character animations are superbly done.

The basis of Onimusha 2's gameplay is very similar to the original title. Combat involves hitting the Square button to make attacks, the Circle button to absorb a variety of souls (some of which replenishes your health and magic), and the Triangle button to use magical attacks. The player will find a variety of weapons, including a spear, bow and arrows and flintlock. With the souls absorbed from the demons, one can upgrade Jubei's weapons and armor. In addition to the elements from the first game, Capcom has added a few things to the basic formula. Enemies now drop gold, which the player can use to buy items in town. While these items are fairly useless in combat, they can be given as gifts to certain people, who will in return give you health items, ammo and even other gifts in return. An icon will turn up when you're by someone who you can give a gift to. Talk to them to get a clue what they want, and then press the start button to pick an item to give as a gift.

During your trip your through the game, you'll find a number of locations where one of your allies will help you in combat. Also present is a gauge that, once filled, will cause Jubei to turn in the "Onimusha", a glowing warrior (much like in Devil May Cry) with enhanced power and speed. Along the way, you'll also find scrolls that unlock combo attacks for certain weapons, which will help in breaking up what could become a monotonous combat system. The puzzles in the game are fairly simple and probably won't pose much of a challenge to anyone.

The music for Onimusha 2 is topnotch and really plays up the timepiece aspect of the game. Sound effects are likewise well done. Voice-acting, though, is odd to place - for the most part I would have to say that they're pretty cheesy, but I would almost think this is by intention. The further into the game you get, the more you realize the script is being played up like a '70's samurai flick, almost like it's been translated and dubbed poorly by intention. The voiceacting is never bad enough to be any more than good for a smile.

As is the problem with most games built with pre-rendered backgrounds, there are going to be a lot of times where the game camera is going to leave you open for cheap shots as you move from one angle to another. And, if the camera angle leaves you at the end of an area, you may have to fight your way towards being able to even see what your doing. One of the biggest drawbacks is a holdover from the last game - the controls. Not only are the controls still the same scheme as in Resident Evil (up to go forward, left and right to turn, down to back up), but you're still forced to use the D-pad to move your characters. With such an action oriented game as this, I can't imagine why Capcom didn't use the same control scheme as in Devil May Cry, which would have made more sense. Also, the is noticeable pause between cutscenes and while entering new areas.

While Onimusha 2 does manage to add to the original formula by giving you a longer game, deeper story and more gameplay elements to the combat system, the fundamental flaws from the original game still hold this title back. If you loved the first game, you should make the effort to check out the sequel.

- - Kinderfeld

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