Review by LightExavier

"Best Onimusha hands down!"

I remember the first day where I got and played the very first Onimusha game. Ah yes, that opening cut scene, the fighting, and such stuff. It was amazing making me want to truly play the game. This pulled me, playing all the way from start to finish, and loving that game. The third game starts out exactly the same with an amazing intro CG scene. Anyway, after the first game, they made the second game Onimusha two which while good in its own way was disappointing as a whole. I suppose part of the reason would be that the second game lacked Samonsuke the main character from the first game. Jubei was nice and all, but just lacked something he had. That along with the fact that the second game didn't seem as realistic in some ways. Not to say a game with demons and such in it is.

But the first was about this warrior who gained a special weapon battling demons along with other such things. In the second game things become totally thrown off from what one would expect. That along with the fact they bring in technology, along with other such stuff... so its kind of weird. So while still a good game I can't honestly say the second was better then the first. Though at the least it was probably just as good. For in itself it was still a great game. Onimusha three of course picks up after the other two. People who played through the series should be familiar with the basic idea. Its been nine years since the second game and Jubei fought the Warlord Nobunaga.

Now a new problem has arisen... Samonsuke is helping another Warlord who plans to finally defeat Nobunaga. But at the same time in in France in the city of Paris during the year of 2004 demons appear and begin to attack. Soon our two heroes Samonsuke from the past and Jaquces from the year 2004 will find themselves switched and in the others time. So thus, the Demon siege is about to begin and no one knows all of the details yet. But they're sure to find out. As are you! I wont spoil anymore of the game so lets move on with the review.

Gameplay: Very likely this is the most important part of a game. After all a game can have bad music and medicare graphics, which while they add to it it's the gameplay that makes it addicting, that and the story. But more often just the gameplay itself. I'm a fairly big survival horror fan so I've played games from other series though not all survival horror. Like DMC, Resident Evil, and such. Like the last two games this game carry's over very similar gameplay. Your basic idea is you hack and slash demons once they die you absorb souls from them then use them to upgrade. Everything can only be upgraded twice, but it takes a lot of souls to do so. Fighting is smooth and quick with almost no slow down except for once part on a boos fight.

But other then that I've never seen the game slow down at all. Many times you'll be fighting multiple opponents with more of them popping up. There's no huge variety to enemy's but its big enough to not get really boring for the parts you pass through. Each enemy fights different so you need to deal with them accordingly. For the normal weak guys just hack and slash, big guys you dodge and slash and such, skilled enemy's you have to worry about them dodging as well as blocking your attacks so all in all very nice. You can now use R1 to target an enemy so you can circle them moving left or right and all around.

A little fairy called Ako follows you around flying to the enemy you have targeted. A very nice touch up to the system making fighting easier. Blocking is still there working as well and pretty realistic as ever. You can block most stuff but certain attacks can't be blocked as well as to many multiple attacks. Well timed critical hits can still be done like the last one. They seem a bit easier to do now and on top of that you may get lucky hitting multiple enemy's this way. Ako is a very nice as well as handy addition to game.

One thing she makes it a lot easier to tell which enemy your targeting. Then there's the fact in the middle of the fight she'll pick up items defeated enemies drop then fly them over to your character. Along with this Ako can also open up these small cases that have items in them then fly them over to the character. Many times this cases will be in places your character could not reach. Another nice add on is the whole vest thing. Throughout the game you'll pick up what are called vests for Ako.

You have to find small things called Eco Spirits to use them. Each vests needs so many Eco spirits to be equipped. Once they are they do something special. Such as the first vest the blue vest takes two Eco Spirits to equip. With it equipped the speed at which you can absorb souls is increased. As you get further each vest needs more Eco Spirits as well as doing very handy things. At certain points in the game two you'll find time fold mirrors. Through these mirrors you can send Ako with certain items including ones like power Jewels which increase a character health. In this way you can say send a bunch of arrows that you got as Jaqueces in the past to Samonsuke in the future. The sending of items back and forth goes to show how these two even when separated by time must work together.

Of course like many things there's a side character that helps out as well and at which some point you play as to help the other characters. Unlike the other two she only uses guns, and grenades, you can get more guns when you play as her. Though she can't upgrade anything she can absorb souls for later use for them. Though I prefer playing as the main character of course playing as her is still fun as well as a nice change.

The newest thing of them all is probably the new style of fighting for the character Jacques fighting style compared to that of Samnosuke. Instead of swords he uses weapons mainly like whips that can extend. Thus compared to the other character this gives him the advantage of rang. Though he seems somewhat worse at getting close up, which I think is to be expected. Still it's a nice change even though I'm more of the sword type myself. Another interesting feature is the ability to pick up then throw certain objects such as boulders and such. You can throw then on enemy's or even grab enemies then hit them in the ground. Rather different change from what we're used too. Then there's the fact that with his whips Jacques can access new areas. By letting out things called Oni fly's which you find throughout the game you can use them to get you to different areas. This is interesting by adding seemingly more variety to stuff you must find and such.

Finally, there is also Oni form, which we saw in the second game. In the second Onimusha when you collected five special purple demon souls you became Oni form for a few seconds where you were all but invincible. Unfourtently the problem was you changed as soon as you got the souls so a lot of them time you never got to use it when it was most needed. Well now that has been changed! For instead of changing as soon as you get five souls you can save them. Later on changing by pressing down on the right control stick. Another handy feature is that if you die while you have five souls you'll be brought back in your Oni form. When it wears off you'll have 25% of your life back.
So yes, a very good job was done here. Gameplay retains all of the good stuff while improving on it as well. In the end I'll put a nine out of ten here.

Difficulty: Difficulty for these games hasn't changed to much honestly. If you're a seasoned player of this kind of game Normal mode should be a breeze for the most part. Though at some points it can be difficult I think all in all its done pretty well and fair. Bosses for the most part aren't really cheap or anything. Just tough, at least in my opinion. Most enemy's are hard as well as easy in there own way. But like I said if you're a seasoned player probably wont have too much trouble. Still the Dark Realms are fun if you ask me. The puzzles can be challenging as well. In the end I'll give this a seven out of ten.

Controls: Definitely an improvement over the last two games. While the last two used Capcom's age old Resident Evil style controls Onimusha 3 finally allows for DMC type movement. Now you can move freely DMC style with the left control stick or use Resident Evil type movement controls with the control pad. Very smart thinking there I think. Targeting is easy while by tapping R1 plus X you can shoot air enemy's with arrows or R1 plus square to hit ground enemies. R2 can be tapped to completely turn your guy around and all in all controls are fluid and responsive. Honestly I have very little in the way of complaints here. A lot of the flaws from the last two were fixed as well as improved here making it quit easier to get accustomed to the fighting. In the end I'll put down a nine out of ten here as well.

Story: The story is very well done. The story from the first game as good as well as compelling. The same thing apply's very much to the third game here. You really get to like the characters to at least some extent. While at the same time finding out about the history of the Oni clan as well as the Demons and what this whole time travel plan is about and such. As you go further you want to find out more until you reach the end. In the end, I think they did a good job here. Things seem well planned out making you want to keep following the story from beginning to end. Though some technology ideas are incarcerated they make sense so I wont complain to much. All in all very nice. So in the end I'll give it an eight out of ten.

Graphics: Excellent graphics here. Fully 3-D rendered game with graphics that beat the first two hands down. Movements from enemy's to good guys are quick and smooth with no slow down really. Though I do remember slow down in one boss fight where I went Oni and was trying to knock the jumping freak senseless. But other then that there's never been any slow down at all. Everything is well detailed making it so you're able to see a character talking and blinking. The water they wall through moves rather realistically. CG look excellent! Very nice and smooth cutescenes that fit well as well as look good. Don't think one could ask for much more honestly. In the end I must give an eight out of ten here.

Sound/music: What can I say about the sound and music. I think its pretty good honestly. Music fits the mood well changing from character and such. More dark type dramatic music for some places and more high paced motivating you to kill monsters in others. Nice, but it does somewhat lack variety. Most sounds are nice as well as realistic. Slashes connecting with monsters, Gemna (Demons) shouting then dying, Samnosuke or Jaquces grunting whenever they're hit. Voice acting for the game is rather nice as well. All the characters talking with voices that seem to fit them well and be done good. Even just by walking the footsteps sound pretty good. While good the game could use more variety for music. So in the end I'll put a seven out of ten here.

Overall: Overall this is a good action type game. If you're a series of the Onimusha series, liked game like DMC, or RE, then I suggest you at the very least rent this game. Though a buy would seem better if you ask me. All of the old stuff from it has been improved. Story is good, graphics are nice, going through places like the Dark Realm seems better. Gameplay has only been improved if nothing else. I myself to find this to be a game I want as well as most of my friends. I think this will be one of the better action time games like a classic for times to come. My final score will be nine out of ten.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/09/04

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