Onimusha 2 - Samurai Destiny
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Review of Onimusha 2 - Samurai Destiny
Onimusha 2 is an epic story that blends magical realism with accurate historical accounts of 16th century Feudal Japan. This eagerly awaited sequel includes more expansive environments to explore, new character interactions, enhanced swordplay and over twice the volume of animated movies.
Samurai’s Destiny begins more than a decade after the events in Onimusha: Warlords, when Nobunaga, an infamous Japanese warlord, has brutalized a village. Players take the role of the hero, a young warrior and master of the Yagyu Shinkage sword fighting style, who seeks revenge against Nobunaga and, in true Japanese tradition, to uncover his destiny.
The original Onimusha was probably the main title last year to offer an insight into the true graphical potential of Playstation 2. With its lush CG intro, amazing in-game visuals and lavish finale, this third person perspective epic was a spectacular experience definitely worth checking out.
More than a decade in history has passed since Samanosuke thrust his trusty blade into the demon snake. So rather than dwindle on ancient heroics a new game character, Jubei Yagyu, is introduced via some lengthy opening cinematic scenes that will once again simply blow you away. The best news is that the in-game motion-captured animations look equally as good. In fact I was occasionally caught with my joypad down as cut-scene flowed into gameplay almost seamlessly.
The improved pre-rendered backgrounds are simply jaw-dropping and really do help to create an element of realism to the proceedings. Everything looks sharp and far more refined than the last outing… just wait until you see some of the water effects mid-game. This game really is one pleasure that you should treat your eyes too.
Once again each of the 3D characters’ high quality skin texture, features and facial expressions has been meticulously motion captured, while body movement remains smooth and extremely detailed. The combination of pre-rendered backgrounds and 3D models works to Onimusha 2’s benefit with little choke experienced, although a special attack on some of the more highly detailed bosses (or occasionally when large numbers of enemies squeeze onto the screen at once) does cause brief slowdown, but not enough to affect the outcome of a battle.
The main elements of gameplay have remained faithful to the original, but that also means the lack of analog control. Why we get the Resident Evil configuration, which unfortunately utilizes the d-pad rather than the sticks, I don’t know, but at least it’s familiar. The remaining joypad commands are the same with a button to hack and slash, one to suck up souls, a ‘use’ button, 180°, block and special. Simple… but effective.
Absorbing souls from corpses to regain health and gain ability is essential to survival. When an enemy has been defeated red (enhances weapon), blue (magic) and yellow (health) glowing souls float around the environment for a short time, waiting to be absorbed. It may sound an easy task to press and hold down the button attributed to absorbing these free roaming spirits, however with some enemies regenerating half a dozen times it becomes an almighty balancing act as to when to suck them up and when to fight. Once a save point has been reached these accumulated souls may be shared out among each weapon, eventually enhancing their power threefold. Unfortunately this time around the cost of souls required to upgrade had been almost doubled so expect to constantly revisit enemy locations for hour upon end just to power up to an acceptable level.
New features include the ability to upgrade armor and loot cash from the dead to buy goods in the village. These items may then be offered to one of four warriors, who become controllable should the correct object be handed over. This adds an RPG element to play, which is warmly welcome.
To wrap thing up Onimusha 2 features accurate sound effects, a fitting soundtrack and some expressive voice character acting.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Onimusha 2 - Samurai Destiny' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Martin © Absolute PlayStation
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