Top critical review
Not as good of a game as I had hoped...
on March 9, 2017
Warning: I'm about to negatively criticize a very popular game. If this somehow offends you, stop reading now.
Pretty disappointed with this game. It's commonly praised as one of the greatest PS2 games of all time and is usually suggested as a PS2 essential, but I really can't see why.
First, the story is a cliché "save the princess, kill the monsters" plot. There's not much originality to it, so that's all the attention I'll give it.
The combat is hopelessly tedious and feels more like a chore than actual hack n slash fighting. Killing an enemy has never been more unsatisfying for me before I played this. You don't get any real combos, just smash a directional button with square or use a cheap elemental attack when equipped with a special weapon. And somehow, the developers managed to even make burning a zombie on fire boring.
Next is how there is really no actual exploration in this game. It pretends to have such, but even Crash Bandicoot for the PS1 is an open world free-roamer compared to this.
You know how I said the combat was a chore? Well, the puzzles are even more so. Don't get me wrong, I love a good puzzle (one of my favorite video games series is the Legacy Of Kain series, which eats and breathes tricky puzzles), but here in Onimusha, they are poorly applied and I find myself dreading a future occurence of solving another one.
Another huge gripe I have with this game is its use of directional buttons and clunky tank controls. An unholy combo. Who actually thought that this control scheme was a good idea? Even after getting used to the controls, I can't stand them and it really ruins the immersion of the game in my opinion. Even R2 (lets you turn around quickly) doesn't do enough to redeem it. This control shouldn't even exist. They should've just went with normal controls.
As for visuals, I won't complain about the graphics. I'm no graphics snob and I can understand what I'm seeing on-screen, so that's all there is to it. The backgrounds are pretty uninspired and drab, and it's clear that they aren't rendered in true 3D, so this may be why. They actually do serve their purpose, but unfortunately, that's *all* they do.
The cutscenes seem to be there only to break up all of the "fun" there is to be had from mindless smashing square and the "joys" to be had from solving those awful puzzles. They do nothing to actually make me interested in any of the characters or their endeavors. They just talk a little to remind you that they're still pretending the plot is anything more than an excuse, and then the cutscene's over.
None of the plot points, reveals, etc in this game illicited any reaction from me. Not even an apathetic "Okay".
The voice acting is also good as far as the Japanese dub is concerned (didn't bother with the English one), but sometimes seems poorly mixed and I often find myself having to constantly adjust the volume on my TV, because sometimes it's too high, and sometimes it's too low.
I will admit that I did like the character designs, (special mention for Samanosuke's pragmatic attire, which wasn't too flashy and for the most part, looked like actual samurai armor). Much more so than the ones in Onimusha 2, but I'm not reviewing that game, so no further mentions are needed.
In conclusion, this game is almost 16 years old and it's painfully obvious. I only play PS2, and not a fan of newer generation gaming. I hate to say it, but this game certainly is outdated.
I'll probably sell it to someone who will appreciate it more than I did, because right now, all it's doing is taking up space on my shelf.