Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny Preview
With the shortcoming of good launch titles for the PS2, quality titles were well worth their wait early in the PS2's life, as they were somewhat few and far between. Onimusha was one of the earlier games that lived up to the hype generated for the PS2, although it still had some faults, nothing specific and outstandish, though. It was no secret that Onimusha 2 was in development, as the completion of Onimusha: Warlords made it quite apparent with a teaser film. The game just launched in Japan, and while you wait for hands on impressions, let me deliver a good idea of what the next game in the Onimusha series, Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny, will be like.
Onimusha 2 takes place 10 years after its predecessor, based relatively around the actual history of 16th century Feudal Japan. Playing the role of a mighty and chivalrous warrior named Jubei Yagyu, and also being skilled in the Japanese sword fighting style Yagyuu Shinkage, your goal is to stop the notorious Nobunaga. Nobunaga is a legendary warlord in Japan, and has used his skills towards more evil actions. Being the worst one, he has completely destroyed a village -- leaving it doused in blood and fallen in shambles.
As was the case with Samanosuke, the main character, Jubei Yagyu, has been created around, and is based on, the late Yusaka Matsuda -- a very famous actor, who has had an illustrious career in Japanese movies, such as 1989's prestigious film, "Black Rain". The presence of Yusaka Matsuda found in the main character helps to better portray the intensity and fearlessness found in the protagonist, Jubei Yagyu.
Capcom is very confident with the way the graphics are turning out. Basically every aspect in the visual department has been augmented extensively in some shape or form. The environments have been expanded to a nice amount, giving the player more roaming freedom. Likewise, the environments are very diverse in style and look. Players will get the chance to explore a village, an island, a gold mine, hazy canyons, dark forests, caves and even more, which is more than enough proof of the broad number of settings, in contrast to Onimusha's single setting - castle.
Capcom is also very delighted with their overall work in the cinematics throughout the game. "Once again the opening cinematics are absolutely stunning. The game is so realistic that you actually feel panic and fear when Nobunaga and his henchmen terrorize the village," as states Todd Thorson, the director of marketing for Capcom Entertainment. Onimusha 2 will boast around twice the amount of CG scenes throughout the game's progression. Taking this a step further, Capcom has signed a few action-movie stars to help the movies move at a steady pace, to help with motion capture action and to also help ensure the quality is at its highest capability. Topping it off, Keita Amemiya, a famous Japanese character designer, makes his presence felt, as he runs the character design. Others also lend their skills in areas such as motion capture, special effects, writing, character movement, and development.
In addition, Capcom has also incorporated brand new elements of play. A new battle system has been developed, in which you can display your expertise in the sword battle field, with the main character, and 5 different sub-characters as well. Moreover, a new set of moves has also been added into the mix, known as "Ohgi", or "esoteric fighting", which lets you employ devastating combo attacks with a simplistic order of button commands.
Seeing as how the first Onimusha was an overnight success, being the very first PS2 title to reach 1 million shipments, Capcom's second title seems to be right on the money and is set to improve over everything the first did so well. We should then have more insight for what the future will hold for the US version. Until then, we'll just have to wait, as a US release date has not yet been confirmed.
3/7/2002 Joseph Comunale