Onimusha: Warlords is a big deal. This Capcom game kicked off an entire series, introducing us to a version of Hidemitsu Akechi that faces off against demons by using the power of 12 Oni to defeat them. The original gave people an action game with some minor puzzles on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC years ago, and now a remaster has brought it back for people to enjoy again. What is great about this release is how accommodating it is. The original game would be feeling its age about now as-is. Instead of just making this prettier, it makes some minor adjustments that make things slightly better than before.
One of the best ways to kick things off is the ability to choose your voice acting. Onimusha: Warlords lets you go with the campy English voice acting or the original Japanese. The Japanese voice acting is even more of a treat now, as the touching up in the remaster makes Samanosuke look even more like Takeshi Kaneshiro, the actor/singer who voices the character and was the character model for him.
But also, getting the extra difficulty option is a welcome change. Onimusha: Warlords isn’t terribly difficult. If you take your time to watch enemies, learn what Samanosuke’s swords are capable of, collect souls to improve them, and practice, the battle system can be really enjoyable and even intuitive. If someone isn’t familiar with the game, an easy option is there right from the start. It is more forgiving, as you can imagine, and allows people to get familiar with possible combos and enemy movements. But really, I would recommend it for people who somehow missed out on Onimusha altogether somehow, because the way this game was constructed. Folks have to remember this was originally a PlayStation 2 title, which means there are some design decisions to adjust to.
The analog stick support is a godsend, primarily because of the way Onimusha: Warlords was made. This takes place in a world with forced perspectives. Each space can have multiple camera angles, which automatically swap when Samanosuke or Kaede reaches a certain point in a room or location. This means that enemies can pop up sight unseen, because they spawned in the part of the room that is impossible to see. Being able to use the analog sticks made it easier to dodge attacks and position myself to attack opponents. Though, if someone prefers, they can still use the directional buttons for the more traditional tank controls.
It also seemed like it made it easier to navigate Onimusha: Warlords‘ maps. Now, this is not a complicated game. It is rather straightforward, though you do have to make sure you solve treasure box puzzles to get items like the rope ladder to keep moving. But, the execution of some levels and the aforementioned camera angles could possibly get some people turned around, if they have never played it before. Having analog stick control made getting through passages easier too. I wasn’t getting turned around or confused the way I did back when I played it on the PlayStation 2. Of course, that could be because I absolutely know what I’m doing now and might not have been as sure the first time around, but the control option helps.
Onimusha: Warlords does a lot to make a difference and enhance the experience for people coming back to this classic. Being able to go between analog and tank controls is great for people who want something more modern or traditional. Having difficulty and language options also is pretty great. This game can be a lot of fun and helped create a foundation for a series, and this remaster is a good way to go back and appreciate how Samanosuke got his start.
Onimusha: Warlords is available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.