Capcom’s “Onimusha” trilogy concludes its demonic ninja
storyline with the latest PS2 installment. Previous games featured
real life Japanese film stars in the lead roles and part three
continues this tradition with gamers playing the role of Takeshi
Kaneshiro, a feudal warrior. Additionally, French action star Jean
Reno joins the fray, playing a present-day French military officer.
The time traveling saga bounces back and forth between the two
playable characters, offering a generally satisfying gaming
experience.

The lush graphics immediately bring gamers into the cinematic
world of “Onimusha.” The movie stars look just like they do in
realty. However, the theatrical interludes often last way too long
and take away from the action. And the actual in-game visuals are
hampered by the stationary camera present since the first game (and
borrowed from the “Resident Evil” series), making movement from
screen to screen cumbersome.

Whereas the graphics keep pace with the best on the PS2, the
gameplay could have used some greater improvements. The control
offers free-roaming 3-D movement, but the action suffers from
monotonous hack-and-slash mechanics, improved only slightly by the
addition of a second playable character. Compared with other ninja
series, the range of motion and abilities seem limited, but it
still improves upon the other “Onimusha” games. The powering-up
system is the game’s unique feature, enabling the transformed
warrior to have increased abilities and moves. The boss battles are
epic and well designed and take full advantage of the limitations
of the gameplay.

Capcom’s decision to put the series to rest after “Onimusha 3”
is wise, as it seems to have peaked prior to this game. Nothing is
extraordinary, but nearly everything is above average. The
storyline will keep gamers enthralled into the complicated
time-shifting world, while the gameplay will satisfy fans of the
previous installments. However, if gamers are looking for
innovation, “Onimusha 3” will only disappoint.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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