Onimusha: Blade Warriors
I am very keen on oriental cultures. Their way of life fascinates me because they try to live and eat healthy, still work very hard, and perhaps it is a stereotype but I admire their disciplined perfectionism. Let us not forget that the origin of many electronic devices lies in the East which may seem not so obvious but my Playstation, surround installation and television would not be laying in my very own room if it was not for Sony. Another thing that I like are the martial arts, probably because as a kid I grew up watching all these epic kung-fu movies. Combining their recent electronic and ancient traditional know-how has led to many great fighting games. However, will “Onimusha Blade Warriors” stand up to that standard?
The level-design appeals to my imagination. It is a mirror of the idyllic landscape which my mind must have composed after seeing so much movie-footage taking place in similar settings were a karate-legend reflected tons of heroism stressed by music that announces a euphoric moment yet to come. It also shows us the beauty and calmness of mother nature with its magnificent trees, cascades and mountains over-grown with green plants. The interference of human-made wooden structures lies completely in harmony with the age-old rural elements so that it does not destroy our beautiful globe like a skyscraper does, but respects it. That my dear friends is a lesson still to learn for a lot of human beings, but perhaps my political conviction is getting the upper hand. The important thing is that they managed to capture those beautiful images and translate them into game-worlds.
As for the gameplay I am just a little less enthousiastic because it tends to end up as button-bashing in single-player. It gets better when you have explored the tutorial from the character you are playing with, but there are still too few ways to move in. If you perform special combo’s or tricks it is very hard for the opponent to get back in the game while you are simply repeating the same combination. The versus mode is selected when you first get to the menu so that tells us enough about the single player. It is boring as hell! You are pushing down some buttons, mowing all the opponents away and two minutes later the end-battle screen appears. Then you have to navigate back and start the next chapter.
If the story would have been good I might have just pardoned the developers, but that is definitely not the case as the information you get through cut scenes does not make sense and it sure does not keep you glued to the television set.
Sound is far from good but except for the repetitive fighter comments at the end of a battle, it isn’t annoying either. Some good pieces of music would have helped to set the right tone which is, as you can guess from my way of building the sentence, not the case.
I do not like reviewing this kind of games because they are not the kind you call supreme, but they are not extremely bad either. Mankind invented a word for this situation: average. Graphics are enchanting, there are some shortcomings in the gameplay that lead to a boring single-player but it is quite alright in the versus mode. In games like these a strike from a sword should sound like Zeus thunderbolt coming down from heaven but it is not that convincing. On top of that the characters’ comments at the end of a battle are stupid. Perhaps that true fans of the series can appreciate a quick in-between, but after I saw the trailer of Onimusha 3, included on the disc, I think everybody will be convinced that is the one you want to wait for. So, not a very bad game but not good either.