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August 8, 2004
Onimusha 3 - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
379KBDolby PL IIYesYesSmallNo

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Two heroes, side by side.
The third game in Capcom's PS2 exclusive series, Onimusha 3 (which has lost the Demon Seige subtitle for PAL markets) is available now, and if you thought that previous titles were good, wait until you see this. In fact, if you loved those titles don't even bother reading this review, just buy the game - you won't be disappointed. Capcom have outdone the previous titles in quite a big way, and it's a fitting end to the Onimusha trilogy - one can only hope that after this brilliant game they find a way to develop another game, or ten, in the series.

The year is 1582 and 10 years have passed since the events that unfolded in Onimusha 2 Samurai’s Destiny. The stage is set at the burning Honnoji Temple, as the famous Onimusha warrior Samanosuke Akechi (Takeshi Kaneshiro) continues to fight the demons in his path. The moment has finally arrived for Samanosuke to confront the true enemy that has eluded him until now, the undying Nobunaga Oda. Unfortunately before the long-awaited final battle begins, Samanosuke is suddenly engulfed in a whirlpool of light and disappears.

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The graphics are stunning.
The year is 2004. A peaceful French metropolis is suddenly attacked by demons. In the blink of an eye, the city is transformed into a hellish sea of blood as Genma demons slaughter civilians and soldiers one by one. Within this pit of darkness appears one man who stands up against the Genma demons, Jacques Blanc (Jean Reno). As a member of the French army, Jacques is deployed to the nightmarish scene only to discover himself amid a plague of horrific enemies that are beyond anyone’s imagination. An ancient samurai warrior unexpectedly appears to help him defend the helpless city. As they cooperatively fight off the demons, Jacques is caught in a mysterious vortex and vanishes to feudal Japan, leaving the warrior behind in modern day France. Why has Samanosuke appeared in present Paris and Jacques in feudal Japan? What fate awaits these two men?

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Battle around Paris.
Gameplay wise Onimusha 3 is very similar to previous titles, albeit with a couple of changes. The inclusion of Jean Reno (who has appeared in movies such as The Professional, Mission Impossible and La Femme Nikita) was one which initially had heads shaking. How could the game set in Japan include the legendary French actor? As soon as you start playing the game the worries dissipate pretty quickly. Jacques is one of the coolest characters ever seen in a game and adds so much style and charisma. Takeshi Kaneshiro has returned in his role of Samanosuke Akechi from the first game in the series.

What was a real concern prior to playing this game was how the two characters, in different time periods would work together. Fortunately there was no need to worry, it works superbly with a small fairy, Aku, transporting messages between the two heroes at crucial points and assisting Jacques in collecting items out of his reach. At some points in the game both characters will be in the same location, in different time periods and will have to work together to solve puzzles. Excellent stuff that perhaps doesn't occur as often as it should.

Another change to this game is the trade system which has virtually been eliminated, weapons are now upgraded with experience. However by far the biggest and most welcome change is the upgrading of the movement from Digital pad to analogue sticks. It makes a world of difference to playing the game. Going back to the original titles (Which I did for a while to compare) is like moving back into the dark ages.

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Check out the wonderful CG.
Samanosuke retains a sword as his primary weapon while Jacques is equipped with a whip which isn't too dissimilar to that of Ivy's in Soul Calibur II. The AI of enemies is also impressive. The game does throw several enemies at you at a time, however their intelligence is also very impressive as they try different tactics to take you out.

When talking about Onimusha 3's graphics there is only one place you can start - the stunning six minute intro movie. Japanese CG masters ROBOT have created possibly the greatest CG experience ever put to celluloid - or DVD. Movie director Takashi Yamazaki, and Donnie Yen have contributed to making this the most exciting CG movie ever. If you thought the battles in Attack of the Clones looked great think again. This will blow you away.

The biggest change to this game graphically is that the backgrounds are no longer pre-rendered with Capcom introducing real-time environments. This allows for a little more interactivity, and roaming cameras. The locations are wonderfully realised, feudal Japan looks as good as it ever has, however Paris really shines with locations such as the Notre Dame and Arc de Triumph wonderfully re-created. The number of enemies on screen at once has also been boosted significantly with up to a dozen characters on screen at any time.

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Jacques unleashes hell.
Sound is certainly another area which Capcom have put in a lot of effort, you only need to look at the options for this. Not only does the game include Dolby Pro Logic II, but also allows you to direct the sound to your own preferences. The music and sound effects are top notch as is the voice acting - although Capcom have made some strange decisions here. Jean Reno's voice hasn't been used due to high costs to employ the actor - fair enough. The problem is that when he speaks French the voice actor sounds authentic, when he speaks English it is clearly a different person with a different tone to his voice. As for the Japanese sections, all Japanese speech has been removed from the game... Why...?

Overall I was blown away by the experience that is Onimusha 3. Jean Reno adds a new ultra-cool character to the series and the time traveling works extremely well. Fans of the original games must pick up this title while those unfamiliar with the series will be instantly hooked by the gameplay, story, visuals and sound. This is a truly impressive game. Buy it now.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSOnce again the CG is stunning, the in game graphics - also superb.
SOUNDNo Jean Reno, but voice work is excellent, music also atmospheric.
GAMEPLAYThe most entertaining game in the series, and that's saying something.
VALUEA game worth playing through a couple of times, it's not overly long.
OVERALLOne would hope this isn't the final game in the series as Capcom have mentioned. This game pushes the series to staggering new heights. It's fun, looks wonderful, has plenty of "cool" factor and will have you playing through a couple of times at least. Onimusha 3 is certainly a game to add to the collection.

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