Hello all! Last week, we checked out a game that was kinda Ghost in the Shell, but then kinda wasn't.
This wee, we look back at a sort of similarly titled game-the game your parents might buy you back in the day if you asked for Oni-or vice versa.
Onimusha was a crazy early PS2 title, landing in March 2001. In what turned out to be Devil May Cry before Devil May Cry, you played as a Japanese warrior named Samanosuke. Taking place in the 1500's, in Feudal Japan, things take a turn for the weird as monsters called Genma rise up and...well, you end up slashing the crap out of them.
The story's great if you're into the setting, which is very Japan. Capcom nails the atmosphere, successfully combining Feudal Japan with a kind of Resident Evil/Devil May Cry monster aesthetic. (And in fact, Onimusha began as a kind of "ninja Resident Evil game). The end result, nowadays, is unmistakeably Capcom, but back then, this was still new to us.
Images cribbed from IGN because I can't find good images :-/
While the game looked exactly like Resident Evil at first glance, Onimusha became something original due to its faster gameplay and focus on combos. Bear in mind, again: Devil May Cry was eight months away. Onimusha became a sort of prototype for modern action games. You've got a good selection of moves and combos as Samanosuke; thorughout the game, you get access to three elemental weapons as well as some long range, limited ammo weapons. Sometimes you play as female ninja (kunoichi) Kaede, in scenes which are a slight change of pace, but a bit more limited.
There's also stuff we take for granted nowadays in Onimusha. Devil May Cry's Red Orb currency? God of War's...um...Red Orb currency? It was in Onimusha before both of those games. You absorb the souls of enemies you defeat in order to pay for upgrades and such. Also, different color orbs result in different things, i.e. health, magic, etc. Again, like every game after this one.
I was really surprised by the level of quality in this game during my replay. It was apparent back then, of course, but now...well, the game has aged quite well. The prerendered backgrounds still impress, though they're hampered a bit by the lack of HD support.
Speaking of which, why no HD rerelease, Capcom? Y'know, original trilogy, all HD'd up? You can make it happen, Capcom.
Mostly, my favorite thing about Onimusha is the art style. I love the ancient Japanese style; the world is so fully realized here. And there's a variety of monster designs on display. Casting Japanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro as Samanosuke (voice and likeness) further gives the game a cinematic feel, while still providing compelling gameplay.
Unfortunately, the proceedings are over far too quickly. Onimusha is a decently challenging game, but it's not really hard, and it can be beaten in around four hours, honestly. Basically, just when you're getting going, and you're really beginning to like the game, it's over.
Still, Onimusha remains one of the PS2's great masterpieces, and it's absolutely worth a replay. The whole "juggling enemies in the air" thing inspired the combat in Devil May Cry, after all. Which went on to inspire God of War, and that went on to...well, if you've ever played a modern action game, it probably owes something to Onimusha. Through, like, a six-degrees-of-separation thing or something.
Anyway. Play Onimusha!
Thanks for reading! Ask questions, leave comments, and let me know what games to write about in this series! Also, you can find me on Twitter @WingZero351
Next Week-one of you suggested a Game Boy classic some time ago, so I'm gonna write about it! This game has one of my favorite Game Boy soundtracks ever, and it's a sequel to an NES classic. And that just gave it away, didn't it?