If you are coming in late to the game make sure to check out the previous entries in the CIM series before reading this one, or at least the introduction to get an idea of what I'm doing.


CIM Part One: Maximo Ghosts to Glory

CIM Part Two: Maximo Final Thoughts


CIM Part Three: Onimusha 2 Samurai's Destiny



Release Date: August 28, 2002

Developer: Capcom/Flagship

Metacritic Score: 84




The original Onimusha game was one of Capcom's first games on the PS2, and arguably the system's first "Killer App". Originally planned as a PS1 game, development was switched to the PS2 half way through the development cycle. The idea behind the game was to mix the survival horror elements of Resident Evil with those of an action game. The game was well received both critically and commercially. The development was headed by Jun Takeuchi and Capcom legend Keiji Inafune. The game was successful enough to receive improved ports to Xbox and PC. Unfortunately I only have the Xbox version of the game, and I have already played it, so we are going to skip straight to the sequel. Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny was released in August of 2002. It was the first of Capcom's second generation PS2 games which also included Devil May Cry 2 and Clock Tower 3. The game was a direct sequel to the original, continuing the story several years after the first game. Gameplay was almost identical save for a new Gift system which I'll discuss shortly. Development was lead by Motohide Eshiro and Keiji Inafune.




The story of the Onimusha games follow humanity's battle with the demon world. In each game the characters are given a gauntlet by the Oni clan that lets them collect the souls of demons. These souls allow them to restore lost health and magical energy, as well as increase the strength of their weapons. Jubei Yagyu is the star of the second game. Like most Onimusha characters, Jubei is an actual historical figure from Japan. The story he is placed in is entirely fictional of course. In it the warlord Nobunaga Oda rises from the dead with the help of the Demon Clan and seeks to take over Japan. In the process he destroys the village of the Yagyu clan. Of course the only survivor is Jubei and he makes it his duty to avenge his fallen clan by defeating Nobunaga. Along the way he meets several other warriors who will help him on his journey. These warriors must collect five gems that will allow them to defeat Nobunaga and send the Demons back to their realm.





Onimusha 2 is an interesting game. It features the tank styIe of controls found in the Resident Evil games which you would think wouldn't work for an action game. Luckily this isn't the case. Jubei will automatically target the nearest enemy regardless of where you are facing and this makes combat easy and fun. The combat system is simple. You merely mash the Square button with the occasional hit of Triangle to release a magic attack. Luckily the combat is flashy and fast, meaning that while it lacks depth it is still enjoyable. Jubei collects four weapons throughout the game. Currently, about a quarter into the game, I have two of these weapons. The Lightning Sword is just that, a sword imbued with the power of lightning. The Ice Spear is a spear with the power of ice. These weapons, as well as your armor, can be upgraded using the souls of dead demons, which take the form of glowing red orbs (of course). Combat makes up the majority of Onimusha 2's gameplay, but there are a couple other elements. Occasional puzzles change up the pace. But the real diversion is also one of the main new elements of the game.


Although you control Jubei for most of the game, he has four warrior friends who will help him out in battle. If you keep them happy. To do this you must give your friends gifts. You collect some gifts during your travels, but most are bought in a shop. The challenge to this feature is that you don't know which gifts will appeal to which friend. To solve this problem I turned to a handy guide on Gamefaqs, but there are hints in the game to somewhat guide you. It is important to get things right, though, not only because you need your allies to help you in combat, but because they will give you a gift in return. These gifts usually take the form of incredibly helpful items like healing herbs and medicine as well as jewels that increase Jubei's maximum health and magic. Suffice to say, you want to give as many gifts as possible. The unfortunate side effect of this is that you are going to have to do some farming at times to earn the funds needed to buy all the items. At the point I am in the game the shop is about to close and it would be wise to buy every item there. So I have to spend my time slashing away at Lizardmen until I earn enough gold to do so. It isn't terrible, but it would have been better if you could have earned enough gold on your normal travels to buy everything. It is one of my few gripes with the game so far.



At this point in Onimusha 2 I am definitely enjoying myself. I should note that the survival horror elements of the first game are all but gone here. There is no horror. All you get from Resident Evil are the crappy tank controls. Like I said above, the controls aren't a deal breaker, but if you haven't played a game like this in a while (and honestly who has?) it will take some getting used to.




Onimusha 2 uses a now outdated technique where 3D characters are layered on top of static 2D backgrounds. If you're new to gaming in the past couple generations you may not have seen this styIe of graphics before, and I can't really describe them all that well. They have to be seen to be understood. The advantage of this styIe of graphics is that you can put more detail into the backgrounds. The downside is that environments are entirely non-interactive and movement doesn't take place in full 3D. Honestly the game doesn't look horrible but I definitely preferred the graphics in Maximo. The art is decent and there is a pretty impressive CG video at the beginning of the game. It should also be noted that Jubei is modeled after Japanese actor Yusaku Matsuda. Unfortunately, the actor died in 1989 so was unable to provide motion capture or Voice Over.




Speaking of Voice Over, there is no Japanese language track in Onimusha 2. Luckily the English performances are far superior to the ones in the first game. There are definitely still some pretty poorly delivered lines, but the story is at least somewhat well acted. The highlight of the audio is the soundtrack, which is quite beautiful at times. The sound effects are mostly recycled from the first game, but still sound decent. Overall this is a much better audio performance from Capcom than their previous PS2 efforts.




Onimusha 2: Final Thoughts

Onimusha 3: Part One

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  • I remember this game. It was so much fun. Fighting was fairly easy though.

    Posted Aug 01, 2011

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