Review: Onimusha: Warlords

Originally released on PS2 and then the original Xbox, Capcom’s Onimusha: Warlords has been remastered for all current generation systems today. Nearly two decades after debuting on PS2, Capcom’s action adventure hack and slash series is back with a fresh coat of paint (for the most part) and various tweaks to make for a better gameplay experience by today’s standards. This review will focus on Onimusha: Warlords for both Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch. With many publishers getting into the Samurai mindset through releases like Nioh, Samurai Warriors, or even the upcoming Ghost of Tsushima, Capcom is likely gauging interest in the future of Onimusha through this release.

Set in the Sengoku period, Onimusha: Warlords has you play as Samanosuka Akechi slaying various monsters on his journey. Samanosuke gets a letter from Princess Yuki for help and when he eventually makes his way there, things have gotten pretty bad. Princess Yuki has been taken away and it is your aim to find her. Onimusha feels a lot like the older Resident Evil games with its puzzle design, fixed camera, and even aesthetic to some extent. The highlight here is definitely the combat which not only never gets old but it also has some nice feedback through HD Rumble on the Switch. If you enjoy the older Resident Evil games and are looking for a more action focus, this is likely right up your alley.

Onimusha: Warlords runs at a 1080p 60fps target on Xbox One with no Xbox One X enhancements. The Switch version targets the same resolution and framerate in docked mode while it targets a 720p in handheld mode. Given the pre rendered backgrounds, the Switch in handheld is is a great way to experience this classic. Thankfully the framerate holds up very well on both platforms with a few drops during camera changes in certain situations. Since the 16:9 widescreen option isn’t true widescreen as the game was designed for 4:3, I played Onimusha with the 4:3 aspect ratio. Some of the menus aren’t built for widescreen either understandably. The good thing is you can switch between both aspect ratios at any time from the options menu.

This release supports multiple languages for in game text and has dual audio. I played a good amount with both English and the Japanese voice track options. They are both very good but the Japanese voice track suits the setting a bit better. Thankfully both options are available right from the start. When it comes to the music, Onimusha’s score in this remaster is excellent. It fits the game very well.

The biggest improvement is in character models. Onimusha on Switch and Xbox One looks a lot better than the original PS2 release. Since this is a remaster and not a remake, the pre rendered backgrounds look low resolution compared to character models and even the interface. If you played Final Fantasy VII or IX on mobile or PS4, you will know what to expect here. Analog movement is a great addition and if you experience movement like the PS2 release, directional inputs are also supported. Easy mode is available here right from the get go. The final change of note is the soundtrack which is pretty great.

My only complaints with this release stem from the visuals and lack of new content. Old games brought to modern systems have a lot they can get right aside from gameplay improvements. Onimusha is a pretty short game. Capcom could’ve added extra content like promos for the game from the original launch, interviews, and more. This isn’t a collection but since they decided to bring Onimusha back after nearly 20 years, these additions would have been great.

Overall, the budget asking price and the modern conveniences added make this well worth playing across either system. It is disappointing to see no Xbox One X enhancements and no extra content though. Capcom will no doubt look at how this sells to decide on doing a remaster for Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny. While many publishers put out low effort remasters or ports from previous generation hardware, Capcom has done a good job here going even deeper into its back catalogue.

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