You know, we have played through two games in the ONIMUSHA series (well, technically there are three of them if you count the BLADE WARRIORS game), and to be honest, our heroes really haven't done much of anything. Sure, they've fought their way through countless demons and have the blood of many on their swords, but in the end, what have they accomplished? Yeah, yeah, they've killed Nobunaga Oda, the evil Japanese warlord, but he comes back for each sequel. So when can we finally be rid of this evil?
Apparently now as ONIMUSHA 3: DEMON SIEGE looks to be the last game in the game trilogy. Returning once again is the hero from the first game, Samanosuke (Takeshi Kaneshiro from THE RETURNER), to confront Nobunaga's evil ambitions. But this time he gets a new ally, Jacques (Jean Reno from THE PROFESSIONAL), who lives in present day France. When Samanosuke is warped to present day Paris, Jacques is sent back to feudal Japan. Each must fight the demon armies in the others respective environment and time, and even fight with friends of the other, and in Samanosuke's case, even fight with a past version of themselves.
One of the biggest differences between ONIMUSHA 3: DEMON SIEGE and the rest of the series is that the environments are completely 3D. While you aren't allowed to go anywhere and everywhere throughout the game, you do get the chance to move around a lot more than in the pre-rendered environments that we are used to. The biggest problem with this is that the backgrounds don't look as rich and colorful as they did in the two previous installments of the game, and numerous times, when fighting alongside a computer controlled character, they seem to get in the way when you're running or fighting, adding a bit of annoyance to your day. Analog control has also been added, just in case you don't want to rely on the directional pad as you had to in the first two games.
Overall, graphically ONIMUSHA 3 looks very nice. The opening cutscene may well indeed set the standard for video game cinematics, and it very well sets the pace for the overall game. While most of the game is told through in-game visuals, there is the occasional cutscene to break this up. Both Samanosuke and Jacques' characters are rendered and animated nicely, and both are perfect personifications of their real life counterparts. All of the enemies look nice, but since most of them look exactly the same as the 50 you killed before, their look may begin to wear on your eyes.
I'll admit, while I was glad to hear Jean Reno's compelling performance as Jacques during the French language cutscenes, I was disappointed that Takeshi Kaneshiro's (and the entire Japanese language track) was removed and dubbed over in English. Why Reno's parts were left in while Kaneshiro's were removed I'm not sure, especially when both are dubbed in English during the main portions of the game ("wait, we can speak the same language now...and amazingly, it isn't Japanese nor French, but English!").
Overall, ONIMUSHA 3: DEMON SIEGE is an excellent end to the ONIMUSHA trilogy. But hey, like a movie trilogy that we all know and love, prequels are bound to happen, and in this case, would be welcomed with open arms.