A series that’s almost forgotten about, nine years after the last game, Dawn of Dreams was released.
The first game was originally developed for the original PlayStation, but due to it being so close to the Japanese launch of the PlayStation 2, it was decided to start again and launch it for release in 2001 for the console instead.
The controls are the same as the classic Resident Evils, and the recently remastered releases of 1 and 0. But with the added swords, magic and samurai zombies, there’s not a great deal to dislike here.
You start off with a regular sword, nothing special. It gives you an introduction to the controls. Think Resident Evil 3, but with a sword.
You come across a gauntlet that can absorb ‘souls’ from the enemies you encounter, which can give a variation. You can recieve health or magic, then what ever you collect, you can eventually use to upgrade your weapons and health.
This was the first game for Capcom to digitize faces onto fully 3D models, alongside 3D environments, which would be carried over to Devil May Cry, followed by Resident Evil 4.
It’s a game that I rented from Blockbuster a month or so after i had bought the Playstation. It was one of the games where it was a halfway point between the PSX and the PS2, exemplified more by this starting out on the Playstation before moving onto the next console. It was linear, it was simple in puzzles, but it was a lot of fun, and even though it was short, you wanted to play it again.
There was a mode halfway through the game, where you could be transported to the depths of the underworld, and fight against enemies across twelve different levels. This was called ‘Dark Realm’. You had to make sure your health and magic was full, otherwise you wouldn’t last long. If you did and you finally won, you were able to acquire the ‘Bishamon Sword’, which had a 360 degree move that could destroy any enemy, except bosses, in one blow.
Onimusha is very underrated. It has a great story with a decent soundtrack, which can bring you into the moment of a battle or quick event, encouraging you to succeed in each moment.
Onimusha was also one of the games, as is standard for an existing game on a new console, to be ported that would have features unique to that version. This was in the form of ‘Genma Onimusha’, offering a green orb, that could make you invincible for a short amount of time. This is almost a precursor to its sequel, but the difference here, was that an enemy could also obtain it. Dangerous but fun once again.
Onimusha 2 was already in development as the original was near to gold status, with discarded ideas such as the ‘Oni’ mode, similar to Devil May Cry’s ‘Devil Trigger’, after seven purple orbs have been collected from different enemies.
It had a bizarre RPG element to it, in the way of giving and receiving gifts to NPC’s, so certain gifts could advance the game.
Three more sequels spawned, with the final game, Dawn of Dreams, being released in 2006. There’s been no word of a remaster or a sequel, but I hope that soon, one will be announced. If Shenmue 3 can be announced after so long, Onimusha shouldn’t be that much of a possibility.
We’ve seen Resident Evil 4 receive a HD release on the PlayStation 3, and in the autumn, to the PlayStation 4.
Even Final Fantasy XII, out of nowhere, has its own remaster set for next year. Surely Onimusha can’t be too far down the list to be re-released.