The same ole' short-lived
PS2 action, but it still kicks a lot of ass.
The Xbox gets it's demon soul-suck on.
Having not been much of
a fan of the original incarnation that
was released back on the PlayStation 2
a year ago due to it being short-lived,
I entered Genma Onimusha (a mere upgrade,
not sequel, to its predecessor) as a person
who's played and beaten the original would.
And that, of course, being the "it's no
big deal to see and play an upgraded version" feeling.
If you've played the original,
you're not going to find much new here
that would make you want to pick this title
up, as it still is basically the same game
with only minor enhancements. But if you
haven't, then Genma Onimusha is the game
for you. And for those familiar with the
Resident Evil series control, you'll feel
right at home.
The story behind Genma
is exactly as its younger PS2 brother:
playing as two characters - Samanosuke
and Kaede (meaning "female ninja") - in
a demon congested Feudal Japan in search
of the princess who has been turned up
missing, it is your mission to save and
protect the young princess by all means.
And much like Buffy of another mother,
this place has some freaky sh#@ going down.
I have to sidetrack
for a moment and just say that the intro
to this game never gets old. For those
of you that haven't played the original
as of yet I won't spoil it for you, but
I just want to point out that it's bad-ass
in all regards. Nice level of action,
some gore and is just outright amazing
- get the game for the cinemas if nothing
"The sound department did a great job with this game. "
Resident Evil fans will
find themselves at home with this game,
as the control scheme is set up identical
to that of the renowned RE series (up is
always forward, down is backwards, etc.).
For those of unfamiliar with the series
this will take some time to get use to
and may become a pain, especially if you
prefer the more linear games, where the
directional pad corresponds to the direction
in which your character is currently facing.
Characters still seem to move rather slow
and groggy-like and it takes forever for
your character to do a complete 360 degree
spin. This becomes a problem in heavy battles
where your enemies are attacking from all
sides. Luckily, though, the game has a
button that makes your character perform
a 180 degree spin for quick attacks.
An arsenal of ninja style
weapons, ranging from swords to bow and
arrows, is available at your disposal.
Samanosuke is even equipped with a demon
gauntlet on his right arm that he gets
from the spirits, which allows him to absorb
the souls of the demons he kills. These
souls can then be used for customizing
your weapons with added abilities and strength.
"If you haven't picked up the original, this is definitely worth a look. "
You have your basic attack
button (which you only need to press repeatedly
to unleash a barrage of combos) as well
as having your absorb and magical attacks
button. To unleash your magical attack
you need to collect a certain amount of
souls (there are various types of souls:
green, pink, yellow and white). Each differently
colored soul is used for something different.
Yellow souls replenish your health. White
souls fill up your power meter. Pink souls
are using for customizing your weapons
and items. The most important soul in the
game, the green soul, allows you to unleash
your demon magic, which makes your invulnerable
and strengthens your attacks for a period
of time. To get souls you merely only have
to kill something or find treasure chests
or other hidden items.
What's unique about the
souls is that unlike most games where you
merely only need to walk over the item
to pick it up, Genma makes you press and
hold an absorb button (much like Soul Reaver).
But what's more is that your enemies can
also pick up the souls, and if they do
the battle becomes much worse, as if they
pick up certain souls (such as the green
souls) it makes them go "berserk". When
in this state they attack more and their
strength is increased. It basically makes
them go ballistic on your ass.
To counter this you have
to try to absorb the soul first, but by
pressing the absorb button it makes you
vulnerable to attacks. Sometimes you'll
find yourself getting into tug-of-war contests
with a demon trying to "take your soul".
But by tapping the absorb button in this
situation instead of holding it you can
absorb it faster. You still have to keep
in mind that demons attack in packs in
this game and while you may be battling
with one for a soul another is right behind
you slicing and dicing away at you.
There actually is a strategy
to this game though. By sometimes allowing
a demon to absorb the soul and then killing
it you will get more souls in return. But
you still have to be careful about which
demons you let take it because some are
all ready too strong and letting them get
the soul makes them even stronger. In other
cases, you won't have a choice but to let
the demon that you're battling with have
the soul because the other demons are killing
you while you try to steal the soul and
you have to back out of the tug-of-war
contest just to stay alive.
Sword action in this game
is extremely well recreated. You won't
see someone with a big ass sword (although
there are pretty big swords in this game)
hit you and you get right back up. It'll
actually stun your characters and makes
them vulnerable for another second while
they recover from the attack.
Blocking plays a key role
in battles due to the fact that you can
be attacking the hell out of something,
but it'll still hit you while you're attacking
(you don't really get the chance to stun
enemies in this game). All enemies seemed
to be programmed to attack after so-and-so
seconds or after so-and-so amount of attacks.
So when you see their arm lift then that's
your cue to block. Don't think that continuous
attacks will stun them (they are demons
"...get the game for the cinemas if nothing else. "
As aforementioned, you
play as two characters in the game - Samanosuke
(the lead character) and Kaede (a female
ninja). Each feels pretty much the same
in terms of control, but they are equipped
with different weapons (Samanosuke mainly
carries a sword while Kaede has small blades).
You'll be automatically switched off to
play as each character in different situations.
You don't get to switch like in Oddworld
to complete a mission.
The sound department did
a great job with this game. The clashing
of steel and metal swords against a body
or against other hard objects is very well
recreated and there are a lot of difference
effects for each. Hitting a brick wall
will sound a lot different than hitting
a softer object (like a demon… *laughs*).
The music fits the game very well, but
you won't hear too much of it with the
exception of the outstanding cinemas -
which takes us to our next area.
Graphically, the game is
only obviously a step up from the PS2 version,
which was by no means ugly. The game uses
static backgrounds and you'll be able to
spot a lot of background interaction as
well, such as movies birds and whatnot.
Each character, including enemy demons,
is highly detailed down to the items on
their chest plates and you can even see
individual cracks in wood panels.
In the end, Genma is basically
a port of a great title. Unfortunately,
that's all it really is. The game is still
short and you can easily beat it in about
4 to 6 hours (depending on your "mad gaming
skillz). And once you do you won't find
too much to come back and play for. The
combat system easily gets tired out after
a while and these things hurt the final
By all means being a great
game, Genma falters in that its short,
repetitive and just plain gets old rather
fast. After all, it is old. After playing
Capcom's latest for the PS2, Devil May
Cry, Genma really only made me want to
go back and play that game yet another
time due to the game's similarities and
the fact that DMC is obviously a superior
game. As a matter of fact, I did go back
and play it.
If you haven't picked up
the original, this is definitely worth
a look. If you're a great gamer who will
sit through the game for a few hours to
play it then the game is more of a rental
for you because within those few hours
somewhere you will have most likely beaten
the game. Genma Onimusha is still a game
like no other for the Xbox though and is
worth your attention after heeding its
Played some more Devil May Cry after beating this.
Onimusha: The Scores
Genma Onimusha is very much the same thing as its now
year-old PS2 counterpart. If you've played the original,
there isn't much new to make you want to buy the Xbox
version. But if you haven't, then this is definitely
a title worth checking out. Due to its lack of longevity
the game can easily become a rental over a purchase though.