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Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny
PS2 Staff Review by Michael Brady

Remember early last year there was a title that sold over one million copies to PS2 owners around the world? If your memory needs to be jogged, that title was Onimusha! Remember the trailer that was made available to us after the completion of this game (Onimusha 2) already there was a sequel in the works. Onimusha 2 takes place 10 years after the first title. This was not too much of a surprise to us gamers because we were able to see that there was slightly something missing in the previous title. There was a slight lack of depth and the game was quite short compared to what we are used to seeing from action adventure titles from Capcom. But never the less, it was still a great title. If you need to be brought up to speed in the popular series, then you may purchase Onimusha part one for a new low price due to it making Sony's greatest hits series. However, the long awaited sequel has finally arrived and it was well worth the wait. As the new samurai Jubei you must avenge your village by defeating the evil Nobunaga with assistance by other warriors on the way. No more teaser trailers, the game is here and it is ready to once again shock us with great visuals and gameplay that we has become accustomed to seeing from Capcom.

The first item that gamers will see in the sequel is the improvement in the graphics. The environments have been developed with a lot of emphasis on the scenery and the mood this title has to offer. The backgrounds have been texture mapped as in the previous series and they look better than before. The weather effects are great, as it seems to occur in real time. Rain will shift direction and hits the characters with realism. The physics in the environment interact well with the players on screen. The character models have also been beefed up considerably. Detail has been implemented to give each character a high level of detail. The costumes in this title look awesome on the characters. The fog and lighting effects are done very effectively as they bring realism to the environments that you must travel in to defeat Nobunaga's evil army. Also there are far more characters on screen as opposed to the previous title. You are able to interact with other people that are situated in the local towns, and their character animations look great. Another great thing about Onimusha 2 is the transition between the cinema screens to the in game action. Capcom has improved the graphics to the point where the two are seamless. Therefore, for all the eye candy buffs out there, the visual presentation will have gamers very pleased. Just check out the opening sequence alone and I am sure that you will have to pick your mouth up off the floor. When there is a battle-taking place there are excellent spark effects from sword slashing with enemies, as well as the blood splattering physics are stellar. You know that they could not forget all that blood, it is definitely needed in this genre, so caution to parents with young children. If young Jimmy wants this game, check for the mature rating! Do not say I did not warn you!!

The gameplay in this title is reminiscent of the last in the series. Therefore, Fans of the old title will find this easy to pick up and play. For newcomers that may have slept on this series will find that control easy to learn and it is user friendly. So if you have played any Capcom action adventure title, then you will know what I mean. The character control is done through the D-pad; there is no analog control. Attack moves are preformed with the button and the blocking and lock on moves are on the shoulder of the controller. In order for the player to perform counter slashes to enemies, they must locked on and timed once the enemy attack. The player still has the option of powering up weapons and trading items that are found or bought along the quest with other main characters of townsfolk. The great improvement in this title is the use of the other characters. They will assist you in battle as well as you will be able to take control of a certain character but I will not mention whom, you need to play to find that one out.

The sound quality that Onimusha 2 offers is great. The voice acting in this title is awesome. The character voices are well matched with their demeanor. They seem to come to life as you are watching the cinema screens, you almost have to pinch yourself into reality, "This is a game not a movie!" The sound effects for the many demon ninjas and devil samurais are great. They really seem to die with honor at the end of your sword or magic. One thing that had me chuckling and maybe should be changed for the next installment is the theme music in the beginning. What is with the rock song at the beginning? I think there should be a different selection, the latter does not seem to set the mood of the game. Unless they were trying to go with a Japanimation type theme in terms with the music, it did not cut it for me.

This title is necessary for people who were fans of the huge blockbuster Onimusha 1. This new installment is deeper and graphically advanced compared to its forefather. As you may be aware, there is already an Onimusha 3 in the works and there is a trailer to tease us at the completion of this title. Word is that part three will follow along the lines as per Devil May Cry. There is said to be more free movement in terms of the character on screen and the interaction with the environment. Boy I cannot wait for that! Fans will enjoy this title as well as the complete series will be enjoyed by all and could possibly be considered one of the classics. Great sequel Capcom, we impatiently await the next installment.

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