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Onimusha Blade Warriors PlayStation 2

Published by Capcom
Developed by
Released - Out Now
Price : £29.99

It's difficult being a gamer here in Europe. Most of the time we have to put up with Japan and the US having games months in advance of us and it can be frustrating reading reviews of games we are looking forward to knowing we still have months to wait to get our hands on them. This is especially true with highly anticipated sequels such as Onimusha 3. We thought Onimusha 2 was superb and well over a year since it's release we still think it's one of the best games on the PlayStation 2. Onimusha 3 has been out for ages in Japan and for a while now in the US but we're not due to see it until September. However whilst we are waiting for what is believed to be the final Onimusha game in the series, we can take a look at Onimusha Blade Warriors.

To get straight to the point Onimusha Blade Warriors is Capcom's answer to Super Smash Bros. Melee. The game features a host of characters, a story mode, a versus mode and a custom versus mode. Up to four players can participate too, providing you have a Multitap of course. Characters include Samanosuke, Kaede, Jubei, Oyu and Ekei to name but a few. There are also some characters that can be unlocked, by completing the story mode with certain characters, such as Megaman, which I'm sure will please fans of both the Megaman and Onimusha games.

Whilst the multiplayer versus modes might be the most compelling reason for people to buy the game, most gamers will start off with the story mode. Not only do you have the incentive of unlocking further characters in story mode but you can also level-up your chosen character and buy items for them to take into the multiplayer modes. There are five difficulty levels for the story mode but the beginner and easy are far too easy for all but novice gamers. The combat itself is pretty straight forward using the L1 button to block and the R1 button to perform a ready stance as well modifying other actions. Movement is controlled by the directional button and not the analogue sticks. Of course soul collecting is part of the game, as it is in the other Onimusha games and the souls you collect can be used to increase your characters' attributes. You'll also encounter a range of items that you can use against your enemies (and they can use them against you too) that appear randomly in the same way as in Super Smash Bros. Melee. As a single player it's OK but nothing special but more fun can be had against friends. The game also supports team play so you can have 2 vs. 2 if you want. Unfortunately though there is no support for online play.

Graphically Onimusha Blade Warriors is rather simplistic. The cutscenes in the story mode are definitely not up to the standard of those in the previous Onimusha games but I suppose they get the job done. The same can be said for the various backgrounds in the game. The character models are decent but don't animate as fluidly as they should. The games presentation has a spartan look about it and it's nowhere near the level of excellence that you usually see with the other Onimusha games. Whilst nothing in the game looks particularly bad it's fair to say that it could have looked a whole lot better in every department.

Multiplayer fighting games don't usually cause deaf gamers any problems and Onimusha Blade Warriors is no exception. Subtitles are available, and are enabled by default, which is useful for the story mode (the games introduction is also subtitled). The tutorials are delivered via text too so there are no problems there either. Any comments made by the characters during the fights are not subtitled but these are only the odd word and are of no importance. You'll also find a trailer for Onimusha 3 included but this isn't subtitled, although to be fair there isn't much speech in the trailer.

Will fans of the Onimusha games enjoy Onimusha Blade Warriors? I think most fans will appreciate an Onimusha game to fill the void until Onimusha 3 finally arrives here in Europe. However the game is simply a good game and is nowhere near the quality of Onimusha 2. As a multiplayer fighting game it's quite a good effort but lacks the variety of Super Smash Bros. Melee but if you don't own a GameCube this will be of no concern. What would have really been welcome would have been an online mode but as there isn't one you'll need to own a Multitap and three friends to make the most of the game and these are requirements that not everyone has.

Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10
Onimusha Blade Warriors is a good game but it's not up to the standard of the previous Onimusha titles.

Deaf Gamers comment:
No problems for deaf gamers as the story mode and tutorials are subtitled by default.