Onimusha Warlords Remastered Review

One of my favorite franchises on PS2 is making a return on Xbox One. To this day Samanosuke is still one of my favorite game characters. I’m aware that Onimusha might not be the most popular Capcom franchise with Monster Hunter, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and the highly requested Dino Crisis but for me it has a very warm place in my nostalgic gaming heart. I’m glad that Capcom finally gives Onimusha some love and I hope this remaster is the start of more adventures with my Samano, Samurai’s Destiny, Demon Siege and Dawn of Dreams are worth remastering too or who knows? Maybe I can dare to dream for a brand new Onimusha game? For now, here is our review for Warlords Remastered, enjoy!

The good

  • Japanese history + demons = Great story: The events that happen around playable characters Samanosuke and the cute Kaede is an interesting mix between the old Japanese history and scary looking demons. It remains fun to follow, although you shouldn’t expect True Detective kind of plots or depth.
  • Fighting system: Three different element based swords with unique combo’s and a special move (my favorite the Shippuu) and some long-range weapons like a bow give the combat lots of variety and some addictive gameplay. Sword can be improved by collecting and spending the souls from fallen enemies, giving a slightly but meaningful progression system. You’ll mostly stick with your favorite sword but sometimes it is smart switching your damage dealer, you’ll need to correctly use your special moves if you want to be victorious against the harder boss fights.
  • Character design: Samurai, demons and environments have highly skilled designs, demons look particularly scary (even more so than the Resident Evil monsters) so be aware that you’ll welcome them in your nightmares. The real star is Samanosuke, in my opinion one of the best and most recognisable characters from the PS2-era.
  • Authentic?! I know how this sounds, how can a game with soul sucking and hideous demons be authentic? Well, it really does. The japanese atmosphere can be found in every corner and every soundbite. Reason why I adore Onimusha, no game comes closer into capturing the feeling from the older Japanese culture.

Mixed feelings

  • Is this a theatre game?  Onimusha was a beauty when it released on PS2 in 2001. Capcom used specific pre-rendered backgrounds (reminds me with theatre backgrounds) that made the game incredibly detailed, I still remember firmly how awe-struck I was when I played this game for the first time. Nowadays in the year 2019 it really looks a little bit silly. It is like drinking way too many beers and trying to look what time it is. The difference between the original and the remastered version is very noticable but I’m a little bit disappointed that they didn’t spend more time into solving the backgrounds. On the other hand, it is actually neat to play a different visual style. So yeah, the visuals definitely belong in the mixed feelings section, it is hard to place it in the good or bad. I love and hate it at the same time.
  • Short: When you really get the hang of it and when things turn out exciting the credit scenes pop up. The four hour experience is over before you know it, the pace from Onimusha is fast and the game constantly throws with new enemies and abilities making it even more disappointing that some moments or parts in the game aren’t more extensive. Luckily you have replay value for replaying the game on new difficulty-modes or Achievement-based challenges.
  • Voice actors: No bad word can be said about the Japanese voices, sadly things take a turn with the sometimes amateurish English voice work. My advice: play with Japanese voices.

The bad

  • Camera, the real demon in Onimusha: fixed camera angles have good things, especially in a horror game like for example the early Resident Evil games. Not the case with Onimusha! I can hardly shout hard enough how freaking hateful it is fighting a mob with a camera angle that jumps around like a dancing crowd at Tomorrowland in Belgium. You try to unleash a special fighting move, but right, half a second later when you want to press the button the camera shifts. As a result your move lands on the other side, turning your back towards the enemy… looks silly, feels silly, IS silly. Enemies that “hide” right behind or infront the camera angle attack you before you even know it, facing a group of mobs while your camera takes five positions in less than four seconds.. catch my drift? Annoying!
  • Controls: It is simply an ancient and completely outdated feeling to be forced to stand still for switching your swords. While the new analogue stick movement is welcome you still notice that it is slowed by it’s older way of movement. It doesn’t feel fluent, blocking or avoiding an attack really feels sluggish and scares away newcomers, a shame because Onimusha deserves all the attention.

Onimusha Warlords remastered | Score: 81%

Capcom made a good decision with finally remastering Onimusha, while some parts in the game show age and limitations it still remains one fantastic action game. With improved visuals and analogue control the Fortnite and Minecraft generation will hopefully embrace one of my favorite game characters Samanosuke.

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