Onimusha Warlords resurrects the 2001 Playstation 2 hit which somehow passed me by, and while I know there’s a series of games based around this, I’ll just stick to talking about this one for this title, which follows in the fasion of remastering old titles with a new lick of paint, similar to 2017’s Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and 2018’s Shenmue I & II.
Princess Yuki has been kidnapped and you, as samurai swordsman Samanosuke, must find her whilst battling all sorts of demons along the way, generally with a hack-hack-slash method, repetitively. While that sort of thing, personally, is why I never got into modern games like Dark Souls, what I do love about the style with Onimusha Warlords is that it’s accompanied by the sometimes-difficult-to-work-out-where-you-are fixed camera angles which I remember from the very early Resident Evil games…
…And while I can see that the Resident Evil 2 Remake has ditched that style in favour of the more modern Resident Evil style, it’s the original version which gets my blood pumping the most, I guess because it takes me back to that late ’90s era when 3D games were just starting out… and it makes me feel young again.
I’ll also add that in the search for Princess Yuki, while usually you are the samurai guy, occasionally, you get to play as his female ninja sidekick, Kaede. Hence, they take turns as the story plays out, and that does blend together rather well, sometimes as you’ve been separated and are now meeting up again, and so swap over.
Although she just has knives to play with, he has a series of swords with accompanying orbs, starting with ones with power of thunder, then fire and tornadoes (or so it seems), but take a tip from me: I would level-up your orbs before the swords, since the orbs are needed to break open the seals on doors, with the seals looking rather like something big has sneezed all over them.
Onimusha Warlords PS4 – Gameplay Walkthrough Part 1 FULL GAME (PS4 PRO Remastered) – Shirrako
Although I never played Onimusha Warlords back in the day, seeing clips of this, initially, made me feel like I had to check it out. You can tell the roots of the game are still there with the animations and facial features not quite being perfect – Samanosuke’s bulging eyes being a prime example, making him look like he’d had a long night out with Shaun Ryder from The Happy Mondays, but again, that takes me back to that time, and with the 1080p 16:9 widescreen trimmings added to spruce things up, it updates the look of the game perfectly for me. Had they made it more of a modern style, I’d most likely have walked on by again.
I will add that sometimes, the animation can look a little jittery, as if everyone’s freezing cold, but then… it is winter.
That said, the battles with enemies is fantastic, showing just how imaginative things were in the late ’90s/early ’00s Resident Evil-style era, as some appear to have so many moving parts flailing at you, such as one particular baddie walking about with tentacles all over the place!
The controls are pretty intuitive, so even if you’re walking in one direction and the camera angle changes to make it look like you’re now facing the opposite way (as you’re leaving a room, for example), you generally don’t need to change direction on your joypad whilst you’re still moving, even though it may feel like you have to. This is only if you’re still in motion, though, and if you stop (which I did a lot of, out of confusion, since it can feel a little jarring), you then carry on in relation to the direction required at the point where you stopped.
Also, technically, you can run out of a room without having killed all the baddies (except when it’s a big boss), but only by killing them will you gain souls which you can use to level-up your weapons. About those souls, and one of the most annoying baddies are the spherical ones who hover and steal your souls after you kill the others. You’re then meant to kill *these* baddies, too, but sometimes, they disappear into the ether before you can! (and just to clarify – the souls are like energy which are released when you kill the enemy, which you must then ‘hoover’ up before they drift away. Sounds easy, but when you’re being hounded by more baddies, it’s NOT always easy).
Onimusha Warlords Remastered – Graphics comparison PS4 vs PS2 – NV Game Zone
And some random thoughts about the game:
- The voice acting can be a bit odd sometimes, such as when Samanosuke and Kaede get trapped, and she exclaims in terror that they need to escape, and he calmy replies, “Yes”.
- It does get a little frustrating that to get through the game, you have to double back and forth through a lot of the same areas, some of which feel like “Here’s a lot of running around to get to one locations just to obtain ONE item” and then back the way you are to get another one, and so on. I generally prefer something a little more linear. The same annoyance also happens when you die and repeat an area with a long cutscene which is… unskippable. Gah! Please let me skip those!
- There are a number of puzzles, as you’d expect. I enjoyed the ‘trick box’ ones which involved moving numbers about, but less so the puzzles which involved Japanese letters of the alphabet. This was the ONLY time I had to look for a solution elsewhere since I just couldn’t figure it out. Thankfully, although there was an embargo for the UK review and any video gameplay, the game came out in Japan in December, so it wasn’t too hard to find… and I would’ve made videos of my own gameplay, but… I died way too often to make a video that wouldn’t see me crashing and burning endlessly.
- Sometimes, you go to pick up an item and either you’ve exhausted that area, or it’s not ready to be opened, such as a door. However, one did amuse me when it said “There is a desk here, but it is no time to be writing letters.”
- As you walk along tight, narrow corridors, it does make you wonder just what’s around the corner in your own house as you walk along such a corridor…. I do hope it’s not a samurai baddie, as I’m holding a cup of tea!!!
- Collectibles include herbs, medicines, keys and the like which are required in order to progress through locked doors, power jewels, a number of books, as well as sections of manuscripts which will complete as you find the other parts, so we’re in familiar Resident Evil-style territory from Capcom.
- Can someone please explain the purpose of the Fluorite when you couldn’t even access it??
- As you descend into hell for your final battle, that thing in the wall spewing out endless baddies for you to fight optionally? It looks like a puckered anus!
- The incidental music occasionally reminded me of the same from Die Hard 2, a film I’ve seen more times than is healthy for me.
- And don’t forget the post-credits teaser! (presumably for the sequel. I wonder if that’ll come?)
Overall, I did enjoyed playing through Onimusha Warlords, but it’s not a game I’d play a second time, although it would be interesting to compare a number of scenes in both the original 4:3, and the new 16:9 widescreen ratio, as both options are supported. I went with the latter given how it’s been remastered for that ratio, rather than just stretching the image as if it’s a TV that’s been set up in Currys.
I can see from gameplay walkthroughs that, once you know what you’re doing, you can go through it in just under four hours… unless you’re me and you die a zillion times like a complete bell-end 😀
Onimusha Warlords is released today on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch on all their respective online stores only. It’s a shame we don’t get a physical release, but only the US get that.
- Publisher: Capcom
- Players: single player
- Languages: English, Japanese
- Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese
Onimusha Warlords – Action Gameplay Trailer – PS4 – Playstation
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.