Everything you need to know about Onimusha: Warlords.
PS2, Xbox, PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date:PS2: March 13, 2001; Xbox: January 28, 2002; PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch: January 15, 2019
Onimusha: Warlords is an action adventure video game developed and published by Capcom. It originally launched for the PS2 in 2001, getting ported to the original Xbox the following year. A remastered version of the game launched on the PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch in January 2019.
Development on Onimusha began in 1997 as the first instalment in what was originally envisioned as a trilogy. The game was originally intended to launch for the N64DD (the disc drive attached for Nintendo’s N64 console), but production was later moved to the PlayStation. Development on that version was finished halfway through to completion, however, the development team’s excitement about the PlayStation 2 and the greater technical capabilities it offered led to that version getting cancelled, and the project instead shifting to being developed for the PS2.
Onimusha was originally pitched as a ninja version of Capcom’s very own Resident Evil franchise. The game would employ many of the similar design philosophies, systems, and mechanics as the Resident Evil games and would put players in a ninja house, similar to the Spencer mansion in the original Resident Evil. The game was geared as more of an action title, though, with much less focus on horror and survival elements.
Capcom chose the Sengoku era as the game’s narrative backdrop because they felt the historical events and figures of the period would provide interesting stories and characters for them to employ in their own story, which they would then put their own spin on within the game’s fiction. The game also used motion capture for character movements, which was a relatively rare practice at the time.
In January of 2019, a remastered version of Onimusha: Warlords was also released for the PS4, Xbox One, Windows (via Steam), and the Nintendo Switch. The remastered version touched up the visuals to run in HD and support for 60 frames per second frame rate (for hardware that supports it). The game also added Achievements and Trophy support on PS4, Xbox One, and Steam, the ability to play in widescreen (since the original game was played in a 4:3 aspect ratio), and new control options. Pre-rendered backgrounds were also touched up.
Japanese voices for the game were also re-recorded (English voices were brought over as is from the original release), with Takeshi Kaneshiro, the original actor for protagonist Samanosuke Akechi returning to reprise his role. The game’s soundtrack was also entirely re-written and recording anew, owing to the fact that it had come to light in 2014 that the original composer, Mamoru Samuragoshi, had not actually composed the soundtrack for the original Onimusha: Warlords soundtrack and had illegally claimed it to be his own work.
Onimusha: Warlords is set in Sengoku era Japan, with the story beginning in the year 1560. It follows the story of two protagonists- the main protagonist, a samurai named Samanosuke Akechi, and the secondary protagonist, a female ninja named Kaede.
The game’s story begins at the Battle of Okehazama, between Imagawa Yoshimoto and Nobunaga of the Oda clan. Just as a victory for Nobunga and the Oda clan seems imminent, Nobunga is killed as an arrow pierces his throat. The story picks up a year later, when Samanosuke receives a letter from his cousin, Princess Yuki of the Saitō clan, in which she claims that the servants and maids in her castle have been falling victim to mysterious disappearances of late, and she suspects it to be the work of monsters, finishing her letter by asking Samanosuke to come to her rescue.
Samanosuke and Kaede make their way to the castle, which is coming under attack as an army of the Oda clan marches toward it, being led by Nobunga, who was thought to be dead during the battle a year ago, but seems pale- but living. The game follows Samanosuke and Kaede as they attempt to rescue the princess, and uncover the truth behind the mysterious things happening in the castle.
Owing to the fact that Onimusha: Warlords originally spawned as an offshoot of the first Resident Evil title, it employs many similar mechanics and systems. As such, Onimusha: Warlords is played from a fixed camera perspective, with rooms (and many times even separate sections within rooms) being presented from different camera angles, so that at times enemies that are outside of the camera’s perspective cannot be seen, even though they might be in the same room. Backgrounds are pre-rendered, while immediate environments and enemies are rendered in-engine. Similar to Resident Evil, the game also employs tank controls (the player has to change the direction the character is facing with directional buttons and can only move forward in the direction the character faces). However, the remastered release of the game added the option of being able to play without tank controls using the analog stick. The remaster also lets the player switch weapons on the fly, rather than having to go into the inventory to manually select a different weapon every time, which was the case in the original release.
Players have three primary actions during combat. They can attack using their equipped weapon, they can block attacks, or they can use elemental magic, which varies depending on which weapon the player has equipped. The game starts off the player with a simple katana, but the player gets more weapons throughout with different elemental properties. In total, there are three elemental weapons, in addition to a regular katana. Weapons can also be upgraded to become more powerful.
When enemies are killed, they drop their souls, which players have to collect using their Oni gauntlet by holding down a button. While the player does so, they are rendered immobile until the souls are absorbed by the gauntlet, encouraging players to be aware of their location and to time when to absorb souls during combat encounters, which is bolstered by the fact that souls disappear if left unabsorbed for too long. Souls are used for various purposes- green souls restore health, blue souls restore the magic meter that is used for elemental attacks, while red souls are used to upgrade weapons. There are also some long range weapons in the game that can be used within restrictions of limited supply. During some sections of the game, players can also play as the ninja Kaede, who has her own weapons and attacks, but cannot absorb souls.
Onimusha: Warlords also has puzzle solving elements. These mostly revolve around interacting with the environment, picking up items in the surroundings and applying them where they are needed, and also involve backtracking, mostly functioning very similarly to puzzles in the classic Resident Evil titles.
Note: This wiki will be updated once we have more information about the game.