Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny for Playstation 2 – A Game with Real Character

Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny for Playstation 2 – A Game with Real Character

Story-line, game-play and characters: the three main elements of any great game. For me Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny’s greatest strength lies in its characters. The incredibly life-like (by Playstation 2 standards) character designs add a sense of realism to the game, despite the fact that most of your time will be spent fighting demons. The strong voice acting and well-made character models help to gloss over many of the story-line and game-play issues – of which there are a couple, most notable being that you are forced to use the D-pad rather than the analog stick for movement. This wouldn’t be such a big deal were it not for the large number of spiral staircases which need to be navigated in the game, and which are infuriatingly difficult to get up with the D-pad alone.

Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny box art

Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny box art

Jubei Yagyu is the main character of this story: a samurai whose village is destroyed during the opening sequence of the game. This event brings about the revelation of Jubei’s destiny as heir to the ancient clan of demon-slayers, the Oni. Jubei is modelled on the Japanese actor Yusaku Matsuda who died in 1989, twenty three years before this game was released. Straight away a sense of reality is conferred onto this game, and, more specifically, its characters.

Jubei and the other excellent character designs are exhibited throughout the game in spectacular cut-scenes. There are numerous different channels that the story can take, affecting which cut-scenes are shown. This is based on a ‘friendship’ system that I did not realize existed until much too late in the game. Early on, Jubei finds his way to a village. In this village are four different characters to interact with. Gifts can then be given to each of these characters, and they all have very different personalities and tastes, from the refined Magoichi who is interested in history books, to the less refined monk, Ekei, who lists women, good food and alcohol among his interests.

The friendships Jubei forges during this stage will affect the rest of the game, as those you please most will help you out later on. For me, the fact that it was not made explicitly clear that this mechanic existed made the whole process seem more organic. Because of the choices I made for Jubei, my path through the game will be different to another person’s. For example, in my game Ekei seemed to be everywhere, Magoichi remained a distant and aloof figure, whilst the ninja Kotaro was just some weirdo that jumped off the roof of a horse’s stable to warn me about a beautiful woman and then was never heard from again. It’s this mechanic that made me feel as though I was having a unique experience, and it makes me want to leave the game at just one play-through because of it.

Onimusha 2 exemplifies what makes video games special to me as an artistic medium. Paintings, books and films are exactly the same for every person that sees or reads them. They may have different interpretations about what they have experienced, but the subject matter remains essentially the same. With video games, however, you are given a certain amount of freedom, and it is within this space that you forge your own unique experience of a game. Even with the most linear of games, your experience of it will differ from the next person.

Kind regards,

Lefthumbstick

I’d love to hear about your version of Onimusha 2, so why not leave a comment?

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15 thoughts on “Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny for Playstation 2 – A Game with Real Character

  1. I’ve never played this game, so I don’t have any experiences to share, sorry. By the way, Kotaro was always there, you just couldn’t see him, because he is a ninja. And he was watching. From the bushes. Hiding in a cardboard box.

    So, what was your favorite moment?

    • Ha ha, yeah, that’s true! Although I’m not sure they had cardboard boxes in 16th century Japan!

      I really liked the encounters with the enemy Gogandantess, who wasn’t really bad, he just liked showing off his sword skills. Either that, or the mechanical horse.

      • Neither, it was a cut-scene and I was really disappointed that I could not ride it. Nevertheless it was still a pretty good moment.

        Do you have an all time favourite moment from any game?

  2. What does it do then?

    That is an extremely difficult question to answer. I guess it would be when the Masked Gentleman from Professor Layton: Miracle Mask says, “One, two, three, four. Did you miss me Monte D’or?”. That moment was just all kinds of awesome.

      • I thought of a better video game moment than the one I mentioned before! It happens in Megaman Zero, when Zero is about to fight Dr. Weil for the last time. Weil asks Zero if he can really destroy him, after all Weil is one of the humans Zero is trying to protect. To which Zero replies, “I never cared about justice, and I don’t recall ever calling myself a hero. I have always only fought for the people I believe in. I will not hesitate… If an enemy appears in front of me, I will destroy it!” He then proceeds to sacrifice himself to prevent the whole world from being destroyed.

        They have a mechanical flying turtle?! Wow. I think if they have all of those things, then surely someone can invent a cardboard box to hide in.

  3. Have you ever noticed how Kotaro kinda looks like a younger Snake from Metal Gear Solid? Maybe I’m carrying this whole box thing a little too far…

    If you could have any video game line on a T-shirt, which line would you choose?

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