Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny
One of the most popular titles in the early life of the Playstation 2 was Onimusha Warlords. Dubbed, rather unfairly, as Resident Evil in samurai's clothing, the game was a huge success and it appeared in enhanced form on the XBOX under the name of Genma Onimusha. Of course with the title being such a big success a sequel was a must and in what seems no time at all that is exactly what we have here.
Onimusha 2 Samurai's Destiny casts you, initially anyway, in the role of a noble chieftain Jubei Yagyu. Jubei returns to his home, Yagyu Village, to find that the demon warlord Nobunaga is back from the grave and has exacted his revenge upon Yagyu Village. Jubei swears to get Nobunaga and his demonic armies for what they have done to his village.
The game is not solely about combat and the story will alter depending on how you treat key individuals within the game. Along with Jubei there are another 4 key characters but depending on what actions you take during the game and how you treat them will change the importance of these characters. You have to earn friendship in the game. Characters will tell you what they like or what they are looking for and should you provide them with such items, they will not only provide you with items which you could otherwise not obtain but they will also think more favourably of you and be more inclined to assist you. Their help is crucial to your success as there are times when it is nigh on impossible to survive on your own. Of course it also adds depth to an already great game and allows replayability because of the different ways you can get the game to play out.
There have been some refinements to the control of your character and in combat it is noticeably easier to manoeuvre. Of course the core part of the gameplay is similar to the original game. Jubei relies on collecting the coloured souls from his defeated enemies in order to replenish his health and power up his attacks, just like Samanosuke in Genma Onimusha. Saving your game still requires you to find a magic mirror, although in my opinion these seem better placed than in Genma Onimusha.
Graphically, Onimusha is a sight to behold. The cutscenes are easily on a par with those found in Final Fantasy X and the look of the game as a whole is quite simply outstanding and again shows the knack the Capcom developers have for utilising the hardware that they are dealing with. The environments are all wonderful and the water effects are on a par with anything that can be found on the XBOX. The animations are also top notch. With all the beauty that's on offer it's incredible to think that there wouldn't be any slowdown but I haven't encountered any at all, very impressive.
Like Genma Onimusha, everything is subtitled and perfect for the deaf gamer. The text is very easy to read, even on a small TV. The quality of the subtitling is very impressive and truly allows the deaf gamer to fully enjoy the game as it was meant to be enjoyed.
Onimusha 2 isn't perfect though and the main gripe I had with Genma Onimusha is still applicable to Onimusha 2. When locked in battle it is possible to go from one screen to another. Sometimes though you can end up going back and forth from one screen to another and during mid-battle this can be very disorientating. Also during a battle, Jubei can occasionally be obscured either by enemies or some other item and it can be difficult to see what's going on, thankfully this doesn't occur too often.
Onimusha 2 will definitely impress fans of the Onimusha Warlords. The gameplay has an added richness to it this time around that is difficult to put into words yet it it's familiar enough to be comfortable with straight away. This is exactly what a sequel should be.
Overall Game Rating: 9.4/10 A superb sequel to Onimusha Warlords.
Deaf Gamers comment: Subtitle provision in games doesn't get much better than this.