Game: Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams
Console: Playstation 2 and other games in the series have appeared on the Xbox, Game boy Advance, Mobile and the PC
Genre: Action Adventure
Number of players: 1 to 2 players (with a code)
Rated: Mature for Blood, Language and Violence
The premise: To truly get the most out of this game’s plot you should play Onimusha 1, 2 and 3. All those games take place during the time of Nobunaga Oda’s reign and you can find them on the Playstation 2.
This series is the ongoing story of a war going on between the Oni and the evil Genma. This game takes place in 1598, fifteen years after the defeat of Nobunaga and his essence being sealed in the Oni Gauntlet of Samonoske. This resulted in getting rid of the Genma at the end of Onimusha 3. The main character for Dawn of Dreams is a blond haired man that calls himself Soki: Oni of the Ash. His past is a mystery and he can turn into an Onimusha (a great warrior) when the going gets rough. Hideoshi Toyotomi has brought back the evil Genma and is trying to take over the world. With the help of your four friends, it is up to you to not let that happen.
Gameplay: I would think of this game as a sort of action role playing game. You destroy your enemies and they give up different types of souls. Absorb red souls with your gauntlet and it allows you to upgrade your weapons and armor. There are multiple weapons with each character to be leveled up. This includes the elements of Fire, Ice, Earth, Wind, Dark, and Light. You are also able to level up your armor and, in doing so, unlocking more item slots. Finding or buying items allows you to equip your character with a variety of useful items.
The good is that you have the option to hear the characters in Japanese. It may seem silly but I think it adds to the game. I also think it is more fitting considering that the characters are in Japan. You can even make the text in Japanese also.
The Bad is that you will find yourself dying… a lot. But as long as you save a lot, change your character when their health is low and upgrade your amour and weapons, you should be able to have this happen less often.
The Good: The bosses are actually challenging, without you having to pull your hair out. Once you figure a bosses’ weak spot, it still does not make the fight any easier. Why is this good? This means you will have challenging boss fight instead of a boss fight that just aggrevates you and gets you mad.
The Bad: Since this game takes place years after Onimusha 3 there are no cameos from characters from the other games. There is a mention of Jubei (from Onimusha 2) but he is a Grandfather and Samonoske is dead.
The Good: The music is amazing. It is a fusion of old style Japanese music with Techno. While I write this I am listening to the soundtrack. I found that the music does not get stale even when it is on a loop.
Tips: Unlock all of the extra skills first (three points to all of the different attacks) to give your character more moves.
Revisit old areas for anything you might have missed with your new characters and their added special skills.
Pick a weapon that you like and level it up to its highest potential. (i.e. something with fire magic) Hold on to it just in case a new weapon is not as good as you thought it was.
To play with two players, at the title screen, both players hold R1+R2+L1+L2. Next, the 2nd player presses START, and there will be a sound effect if the code is entered successfully.
To unlock arena mode on the menu screen, select 'Special' and leave the cursor on the word “exit” and enter Square, L1, R2, Square, Left, L1, L2, L3, Right, Triangle.
Learn how to use the three levels of magic. This can really save you in a fight and when you are doing the tests of valor.
Keep every one of your partners at the same level. Nothing is worse than having to use a character and their level is very low.
My take: I think, besides Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox, I have never died so much in a video game. In older Capcom games it would ask you if you would like to lower the difficulty. The makers of Dawn of Dreams saved you from that shame. I really like this game but I did not like it at the beginning. I started playing it right after I had finished Onimusha 3. I could see all the changes that were made. After thirteen hours into it, the game grew on me and I finally unlocked all the characters.
Onimusha 2 was a poor game. It was almost as if Onimusha 3 and Dawn of Dreams were making up for the poor quality of it. Speaking of Onimusha 2, there is a Jubei and a monetary system in Dawn of Dreams. Most of all the dubbing has gotten a lot better since 2. I think that Dawn of Dreams was a great way to end the series. You generally cared for the characters and felt bad when things happened to them. The fact that you could control two characters at once is something that a lot of older games did not have. The fact that you had to have control of the main character never got old, due to the amount of moves and individuality of each fighter’s styles. I really like this game and if you have a Playstation 2, pick it up. You will find yourself wanting to play this game straight through in one sitting. While it is probably not needed, finding the strategy guide will help. When I was writing this I noticed that Gamefly had this game available to rent. Until Capcom comes out with another game of this series, this is the last Onimusha game to come out. I think you owe it to yourself to see how a great series ended.
My score: 5 out of 5
I would like to thank Gamefly and GameFAQS for helping me with the information with this review. I am currently using Gamefly under their two games out program.