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November 15, 2002
Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny - Review
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Is that? Ohhh yeah...
Onimusha Warlords was a surprise hit early in the Playstation 2's life. With well over a million copies sold the samurai based action game showed that Capcom were more then just Resident Evil. This sequel was announced some time ago now, and has turned out to be a much longer, bloodier and riveting quest then the original.

The storyline of Onimusha 2 is quite separate from the Onimusha Warlords, so you won't find out what happens to Samanosuke, the hero of the first game. This story takes place in the early summer of 1573, 13 years following the original game. You play Jubei Yagyu, a new main character who has been very accurately modelled on the late Japanese actor Masadu Matsura. Yagyu has just returned from travels to find that his hometown has been under attack. Apparently, these attacks were the doing of Nobunaga Oda, the ruthless warlord who appeared in part 1 in undead form and now, at the age of 39, still longs to unite the nation of Japan. Your challenge is to restore peace and unlock the mysteries surrounding the attackers.

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Walking the city streets.
For obvious reasons the development team have kept many of the locations, and building styles from the original, but have expended on them greatly. Once again after slashing up the enemies with your sword you can press the circle button to absorb their souls which can then be used to purchase new weapons and armour. In Onimusha 2, however, you won't be upgrading too quickly, as these new items now take a lot more soul collecting before becoming available. As with the original title the puzzles are intelligent and require thought rather then blind luck as seems to be the norm in so many other games today.

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Check out the facial detail.
There are a couple of issues I would have liked seen resolved with this title prior to release. Sadly, Capcom have retained the digital controls of the original game, albeit with some small refinements such as being able to lock you attacks onto a single character and a shoulder button to turn your character 180 degrees. Exactly why Capcom won't include analogue controls for movement in their adventure titles is a complete mystery. It can only add more accuracy to the game and could differentiate between walking and running. Another niggle is that the bosses are tough, especially when you haven't upgraded your weapons enough. This can take a lot of time, perhaps an hour or more, something which many people may find annoying.

What isn't really evident in the surrounding screenshots is just how magnificent Onimusha 2 looks. The characters are all wonderfully motion captured and animated as well as being superbly detailed. However it's the realistic look of the backgrounds that really draws you into the game with a wide variety of locations from building interiors to wilderness exteriors on offer. One area that I never thought they could, or would, improve on is the CG. Although the introduction isn't as exciting, its the quality of the CG throughout the entire game that puts this game well ahead. So much care has been taken with the CG that it wouldn't look out of place in a feature film on the big screen. Capcom have topped it all off by including a 60Hz mode in the PAL game to ensure it runs at full speed and full pace.

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Battles are usually intense.
Sound is the one area of this game that really could have been better. While the music is wonderful and includes some great moments its te voice acting that lets this game down considerably. The English voices are terrible and lack and sense of realism. It has to be said that we would have been much better off with Japanese voices and English subtitles which would have given the game a realistic sound at the very least. After listening to the delights of Kingdom Hearts and Red Faction 2 this game is made even more disappointing. Fortunately the music, while not as emotional as the original game, is a wonderful orchestral score that wouldn't sound out of place in a motion picture.

Overall, Onimusha 2 is a more polished and lengthy game then the original Onimusha and fans of the series, or indeed any action-adventure title should enjoy this game. The graphics are wonderful, the music atmospheric, the puzzles intelligent and the game fairly hard overall. Fans of action adventure titles should pick up this title.

GRAPHICSAwesome CG tops off some wonderful characters and backgrounds.
SOUNDSome great music is disappointingly offset by very poor speech.
GAMEPLAYControls are a little more refined and the puzzles impressive.
VALUEAround 15 hours gameplay with a better story then the original.
OVERALLOnimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny is a great follow up to last years original. Everything has been improved on, although some areas such as the voices appear worse due to the improvement in the competitions standards. This is a great game for action adventure fans.

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