Review by Shadow Edge

Reviewed: 05/31/05

This game is a masterpiece!

I just bought my PS2 around February, and it comes with this game. I thought it was lame, because I didn't like the cover art. How wrong I was. I shouldn't have judged the game by the cover on its container. The game that I thought was bound to be lame instead became one of my most favorite PS2 games of all time.

Graphics: 10/10

Okay, I've already done a bit of research for some more background info.

The biggest change of Onimusha 3 from its predecessors is that its in full 3D. The previous Onimusha games were Resident Evil style, meaning it has 2D backgrounds but the models were in 3D. The result of this shift? A very cinematic experience!

The game starts with possibly the best FMV movie out there. The movie shows some dialogue, explaining about Jubei Yagyu's (Onimusha 2 hero) victory over the game's menace, Lord Oda Nobunaga. I'll explain more of this on the Story section of this review. Anyway, after those dialogue, you'll see a BEAUTIFUL, CINEMATIC movie, stress hard on those all-capped words, because I really mean it. The movie was world-class, in my opinion, beautifully rendered and lighted. The team used motion capture technology, so not only does the movie look realistic, the people move realistic too! I always enjoyed watching the intro movie, because it's like watching a top notch 3D rendered movie, like FF: SW, but looks cooler and better. I'll tell you this: to really enjoy Onimusha's eye candy graphics, you should play using a widescreen television.

Okay, into the game itself. I'll start with the menu. Menu layout is simple, so you wouldn't get lost. The quality is very crisp and sharp, definitely doesn't tire eyes. So the game itself. The 3D models were absolutely excellent, astounding lighting effects, I can't put into words how beautiful it was. The backgrounds doesn't lag behind either, very detailed, beautifully rendered and looks very realistic. With all of these, having top notch graphics, it's amazing that the FPS of the game doesn't suffer! The game still animates smoothly, it truly is amazing. We should give Capcom an award.

Camera angles are really great as well, it's in different angles, a third person game. You wouldn't suffer any bad angles. I never found a single criticism about camera angles. They were set so that not only does it prevent hindering your eyesights, it also gives you a cinematic feel!

Top notch everything in the graphics department. This was one game I was more than happy with the graphics. Looks like Capcom pushed the PS2's capabilities to the limits, without sacrificing the FPS quality.

Gameplay: 10/10

Gameplay... yep, it's great!

Gameplay is great. This game is a survival horror, but you wouldn't be horrified by the game because the pace is fast, fighting is fun, and just about everything else is also fun.

Okay, this is how the game works. Hack and slash. Hack and slash. You basically have to fight Genma (those monsters who mostly look like the undead). I'll explain more about Genma later. So anyways, you have two characters two play: Hidemitsu Samanosuke Akechi and Jacques Blanc, Japanese and French respectively. I'll explain more in the story section about them.

The story just goes that you don't have the freedom to switch in between them, but in some parts you can, mainly for puzzle solving. At the beginning, you use Samanosuke. He uses weapons like katanas, twin swords, naginata, etc. etc. all of which look cool, and not overexagerrated. Each weapon has its own advantages and disadvantages.

So you play the game. You hack and slash monsters. After killing those monsters, they release "souls". There are three types of souls: red (for powering), yellow (heals life), and blue (restores hp). To absorb the souls you must use your Oni Gauntlet. Oni Gauntlet has the ability to entrap Genma souls. Fighting is well developed, and the endless hack and slashing doesn't get too tiresome at all.

The fighting system in the game is very well developed. You don't just hack and slash, both characters can do more than that, and each have their own. Namely of moves other than slashing are stuff like critical, archery, deflect critical, chain critical, etc. etc. and the flashy specials of each weapon. Each skill depends mainly on YOUR skills, your real-life skills. For example, deflect criticals works by putting yourself on guard (L1) at exactly the time your enemy strikes at you. This action creates a "white ring", which means an opening. By pressing square after this "white ring" appears, Samanosuke (or Jacques) does a deflect critical, a cool devastating single attack that almost certainly kills any ordinary enemies. You can't easily abuse this skill, because it requires your real-life skills, unless you're really, REALLY good at it. And whats more, you can even chain those criticals so you do criticals nearby enemies too for an ever cooler sight! Doing criticals also makes enemies release more souls.

Deflect critical, critical... those skills sound hard to you, doesn't it? Well, fear not, on protective mirrors, there is an option called "Train", where you can train those skills. You can only train a certain skill only if you get the corresponding scroll, which is the items that teaches you how to do it. Training has Beginner, Intermediate and Advance levels. Beating all three levels of a certain skill training earns you rewards like items and stuff like that.

Now, you know what yellow and blue souls are for, you might ask "what are red souls for?". Red souls are also very important. At save points (save points here are called "protective mirrors"), you can Enhance your Oni weapons by using these red souls. Example, you have the Oni weapon twin sword Tenso at level one. To raise it to a higher level, you will infuse about 3000 souls. Each weapon can be raised to level 3. When their level is raised, not only they become more powerful, they also look cooler and more menacing too! Aside from your Oni weapons, you can also Enhance your armor so it'll have higher defense, or the Oni Gauntlet itself. Enhancing the Oni Gauntlet allows for faster soul absorbtion, raised Charge Attack (Samanosuke) or Oni Bind (Jacques).
Take note that if you absorb more souls in a shorter period of time in one "absorbing", you gain bonus red souls.

Each Oni weapon has their "MP", or mana, or stuff of that nature. You can unleash the Oni weapon's powerful flashy attack by consuming a certain amount. The higher the level the Oni weapon, the more MP it consumes. To raise your Health or Mana, you can find certain items that do it.

A bit of playing in the game, you'll meet Ako, who is a tengu (some sort of faerie). Ako has her uses: when you go into Draw mode (R1), you lock on a target. She goes to the target you locked on, so you can know which monster you are targetting. Very useful for archery. Aside from that, she can also wear vests. Making her wear vests gives you benefits, like faster soul absorbption, less MP, etc. etc. However, you can't make her wear vests right away. Each vest requires Eco Spirits until it becomes usable. Each vest requires a different amount; the better the vest, the more it requires. Eco Spirits are located throughout the entire game, hidden, so keep your eyes peeled!

With all of those, Onimusha deserves a full 10.

Story: 8.5/10

Story doesn't suffer much. It's still remarkable.

The game starts out with the new hero, Jacques Blanc, a French military officer, in the year 2005, as far as I can remember. He was talking to his only son, Henri, when he receives an emergency call on his radio, so he sets off. Then you'll see Genma (monsters), who quickly turn the peaceful city of Paris into a living hell through a brutal and disturbing FMV.

Then the game shows you Samanosuke Akechi, our hero in Onimusha Warlords. After defeating Karenato (as seen in the beautiful intro movie), he looks terrible, but he still kept his cool. Mitsuhide Akechi, some sort of general, summoned him and gives him the Red Armor, an armor based from the Western chainmail as a reward for stopping the Genma tank from coming to Tensho, Japan. Along with the general are his soldiers. Next, they charge into the Honnoji Temple, where the game's menace, Lord Nobunaga, is encamped.

Samanosuke enters the Honnoji Temple and finds Nobunaga with his servant, Ranmaru Mori. Ranmaru Mori fights Samanosuke but gets beaten up easily with one blow from Samanosuke. As the fight between Samanosuke and Nobunaga starts: something weird happens: a black, portal opens and takes Samanosuke and the unconscious Ranmaru, and the portal dissappears together with them.

Next scene, Jacques helps Philippe, his best friend, by pulling off a daring stunt. However, the other soldiers were already dead, and they're the only two left. Just before the Genma manages to slash them to death, Samanosuke appears through the black portal and kills the Genma. Samanosuke was transported into the future...

Samanosuke asks where he was, but because of the differences of language, he and Jacques couldn't communicate with each other. Next moment, a black portal opens and takes both Jacques and Philippe into the past. Jacques and Samanosuke had switched times.

So then, the story revolves around the two heroes as they try to find a way to defeat Nobunaga and return back to their own time. The switching of times was quite a twist.

Sounds: 10/10

The sounds were superb, and I really mean it. Background music was very well performed, the sound effects of sword slashing and blood splattering was excellent, and the sounds for the cutscenes were terrific, so good that it's so cinematic! Music for boss battles were also great! The game isn't "noisy" either when it comes to menus. They use weak, simple sounds when you navigate through the menu, which is A MUST, because noisy menus are a no-no.

Voice acting wasn't bad either! Correct stresses, intonations, grammar, speed, what can I say? Sounds deserve a full 10.

Controls: 10/10

Controls are very easy! Capcom ditches the Resident Evil style of movement (left and right turn, up forward, down backward) and makes it simpler, making the game enjoyable.

Use d-pad if you prefer the old style of movement. Left analog stick for basic movement (more than 8 directions, so great). Square for attach, X for Ok, Circle for Absorb and Triangle for Special. L1 for Guard, R1 for Draw and R2 for 180 degree turn. You'll learn more useful and complicated maneuvers later in the game.

Lifespan: 8.5/10

Lifespan doesn't suffer much! You unlock stuff like modes, more options, more costumes everytime you beat the game. When you finish the game, the game scores how well you've done, and gives you a "title" according to how you play, like Offense, Defense, Speed, etc. etc.

The extra unlockables are fun too. The Dark Realm, which gives you goodies when you beat it, is also well worth playing. The hacking and slashing is just oddly satisfying that it won't be easy to get tired of it.

Graphics : 10
Gameplay : 10
Story : 8.7
Sounds : 10
Controls : 10
Lifespan : 8.5

Total : 10 (9.53) (Perfect)

- A very huge game
- Very cinematic
- Excellent sounds
- Superb graphics, without sacrificing FPS
- Oddly satisfying hack and slashing

- Might be a little difficult, especially for newbie gamers

BUY THIS GAME! This game is a great reason to own a PS2! Trust me, you'll love it.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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