While I didn't get the chance to really play through the first ONIMUSHA until just recently, I'm glad that I finally sat down and gave it a shot. The game is beautiful, and the experience was just what gamers who have yet to play the first ONIMUSHA are missing out on. And with all good titles normally comes a sequel. ONIMUSHA 2: SAMURAI'S DESTINY, developed by Capcom, is the sequel to ONIMUSHA, and by far surpasses the original.
Taking place ten years after its predecessor, ONIMUSHA 2 gives us a new hero and a new setting. While Samanosuke is mentioned throughout the game, he is no longer the main character. That role now belongs to Jubei, a young warrior, who returns home to find his once beautiful village destroyed and in ruins. Now, the city wasn't destroyed by just anyone, but by Nobunaga, the evil demon thought to be destroyed by Samanosuke years ago. So it's up to Jubei to put a stop to this demon once and for all.
When it was released, ONIMUSHA had one of the best looking graphical engines on the market. And while it is still good by today's standards, Capcom decided to revamp the engine a bit, making the game's graphics much more beautiful. The character renders are excellent, and the backgrounds are designed almost perfectly. It's as if you're actually there. The graphics are extremely close to the CGI animation quality that was used during the movie FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS within. Yeah, I know most likely none of the 7 people who saw that movie are reading this review. But I still had to mention it.
ONIMUSHA 2's gameplay is a lot like the first, although there are some improvements. It still contains the faster-paced RESIDENT EVIL style gameplay, although it has a few new things. There is a new item trading system, where you have to talk to a certain person to get items that will be used later on in the game.
The camera has been improved a good deal, although there are still a few times when you'll be racking your brain and craning your neck to see where your character needs to go.
The first ONIMUSHA had a great soundtrack, and while the sequel does also, it really lacks in the voice-over department. ONIMUSHA 2 has some of the worst voice-overs from Japanese to English that I have ever heard (other than DYNASTY WARRIORS 3). And why does it seem like some characters are trying to impersonate William Shatner with their pauses in between words? I - really wish...Capcom! ...would have included the original Japanese voices with subtitles like they did in the original.
ONIMUSHA 2 is a bit longer than the first, but the only problem with adventure games is that once you've beaten them, there isn't a ton left to do in the game. Although there are some paths that you can miss with optional storyline-driven parts of the game. Unfortunately, though, some of those can be hard to find (as your actions within the game dictate if those paths will be open to you).
ONIMUSHA 2: SAMURAI'S DESTINY is a great game, and a truly good sequel worthy of the name of ONIMUSHA. While the game does have some flaws, most of them can easily be overlooked for a fun and entertaining experience.