Onimusha 3: Demon Siege Review

Onimusha 3: Demon Siege is supposedly the final game in the Onimusha series. I played and loved the first game, but never actually set hands on the second game. Maybe the fact that Samanosuke (who is modeled after actor Takeshi Kaneshiro) was not in the second one scared me away, but he’s back for this go around. He’s being joined by Jacque Blanc, a character modeled after actor Jean Reno (The Professional, Mission Impossible, etc.). This game is all about time travel as Samanosuke travels to the present day while Jacque travels back to Samanosuke’s time. Nobunaga has something up his sleeve and both characters are of the Oni line and are able to use the Oni gauntlet and turn themselves into Onimusha. Let’s see what I thought about the game.

Onimusha 3 has gotten the full Devil May Cry treatment this time around, although it both helps and hurts the game graphically. Overall the characters from the main ones to the enemies are top notch. The environments themselves are also of pretty good variety, although some of the sections are a little too dark for its own good. The particle effects from all the weapons are excellent as well.

This game is done in full 3D whereas the original Onimusha had 3D characters on 2D backdrops. With the move to 3D for the backgrounds they look less “pretty” than the 2D ones did in the original Onimusha. That is not to say that the backgrounds here are still very beautiful for a Playstation 2 game though.

Where this game goes wrong is where both Devil May Cry games went wrong: the camera. Enemies will be coming from directions you can’t even see and although there is a lock-on button, it still doesn’t help you know where all the enemies are coming from. The game is already difficult enough and the camera doesn’t help things out very much.

Where Capcom has truly exceeded is in the cutscenes. Just the opening movie itself is right up on par with Ninja Gaiden‘s opening movie. This high level of quality is found in all the movies contained within this game and the beauty is that there are a lot of them, but they don’t pull you away from the action like many felt Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty did.

The music found in the game is excellent, much like the original Onimusha‘s was. The music is fully orchestrated, which always gives games an extra bonus in my opinion. I’m big into music in games and get really pissed off when things are silent.

The sound is pretty good as well except for the voices. At the beginning the voices are pretty good, but Capcom decided to take out the Japanese language in the game entirely. So, you hear Samanosuke, Nobunaga and his underlings speak English. When Jacque arrives on the scene he is speaking French with English subtitles. Eventually Jacque speaks English when a tengu called Ako comes into the picture and everyone is able to speak the same language. Jacque’s voice drastically changes in intonation between the French lines and the English lines. It’s a stark contrast, but you get used to it because there are a lot of voiceovers in this game. It’s just too bad they decided to forego the Japanese language track, I think that would have been pretty cool at least in the beginning movie and then Ako can make everyone speak English. There are actually quite a few of the voice actors that do an excellent job though. Samanosuke, Nobunaga and many of his top men/Genma have very well done voice-overs.

Overall you should be pleased by the sound and music in this game.

Control has its good and bad parts, much of which ties into the Devil May Cry-like controls. The foundation of Onimusha remains. You still collect souls via your gauntlet by holding down the circle key. With those souls you can enhance your equipped items and bring them to higher levels. That’s about where the controls from the original Onimusha end.

In Onimusha 3: Demon Siege, you are finally able to run around just like Dante can in Devil May Cry. The square button is for attacking, triangle is for a special move, X is the overall action button, circle does the aforementioned soul sucking, L1 does blocks, R1 does target lock-on and R2 does a 180 degree turn by the character. The controls are nice and tight, but they do take a bit of time to get used to the animations needed for attacks and how you can set up blocks inside of those without getting hit. Much like Devil May Cry, Samanosuke and Jacque can attack enemies from off screen.

The gameplay and overall story are pretty darn good. At the beginning (which is a top-notch cinema scene) you see Samanosuke going to face off against Nobunaga for what is hopefully the final time. We then cut to Jacque in present day Paris, France. It seems the Genma have invaded this time period and they’re on the rampage. As Samanosuke is about to face off against Nobunaga he is sent to the future and helps Jacque out initially. Samanosuke meets the leader of the Genma, who gives little information of why the Genma are at a place 500 years in the future along with Samanosuke. Jacque is then sent back 500 years to help the Samanosuke from that time (10 days before Samanosuke faces off against Nobunaga). It’s all very confusing, but the storyline keeps up pretty well and they do a good job of explaining the whole time-travel thing.

The action in Onimusha 3 is fast and furious. Get ready to take on lots of enemies at once both in modern day Paris and old time Japan. Things aren’t easy for either character, but they certainly have the weapons and the power of the Oni behind them. Samanosuke has a variety of weapons like double swords, axes, etc. Jacque on the other hand has extended weapons. He starts out with an Oni whip and then gets an extended sword like Ivy has in the Soul Calibur games. Both characters also have upgrades for their armor and gauntlet that will give them more defense and allow them to collect souls faster.

The bosses are well done as well. Many are huge and the battles are pretty exciting. Much like other action games there is a pattern to their moves, but that doesn’t necessarily make them any easier than usual. Simple puzzles make an appearance as well, usually in tile puzzles. Some of them are hard, but you’ll be able to get through them.

As you get into the game Samanosuke and Jacque will be able to help each other through Ako and the time difference. It has that Eternal Darkness type feel to it and is used to good effect.

The game takes about 15 hours to get through, although some people may get more or less hours out of this game. After you beat the game you unlock the Hard Mode as well as unlock other things such as side missions for one of the other characters in the game. This game is easy to pick up and play and I would find it hard for anyone out there to not see this game as pretty good.

The graphics, music, sound and gameplay join together to make a truly great game.  15 hours may seem short, but it’s pretty good for this type of game honestly.  You may also find the unlockables after you beat the game to your enjoyment as well.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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