I’m sure it may come as a surprise to absolutely no one that my articles follow a format. When it comes to the longevity of an article writer, structure is key. I have a list of games that I pick from, then once chosen I come up with some kind of anecdote, segue into what I remember, then hard cut to how it holds up. This has made it easy and fun to continue this series despite, life, work, and laziness constantly getting in the way.
But what happens when I fuck up?
Since this is more of a retrospective than a review, I have the freedom to tackle each article as I see fit. Sometimes I’ll start with a bunch of anecdotes for multiple titles while other times I’ll focus on the memories of a single game. It doesn’t matter how I divvy up this part of the workload since I’m just going to get drunk and forget to do it anyway. Once those parts are written, I’ll play the game. Sometimes I’ll beat it, sometimes I play a level or two and throw it in the trash (because, again, retrospective not review) but I make sure that it’s the last thing I do. This way I can ensure that I don’t taint my memories. I mean, they’re tainted enough with all the substance abuse and head injuries, the last thing I need is to interject MORE bullshit.
So here’s what happened. I was browsing the Switch store when I noticed that ‘Onimusha: Warlords’ was ported. I got a gift card for Christmas, and I felt a twinge of nostalgia, so I bought it. About halfway through playing it I had a though: “Is this on my list? If I’m feeling nostalgic, it’s probably on my list. Also, is homicide on the bus justifiable if this guy bumps into me one more fucking time?” Sure enough, It was on my list.
So, what do I do now? Do I still try to do a retrospective, or do I do a proper review? Should I review the game as an individual entity or should I review it as a port? How should I adjust for the nostalgia? Should I just complain about everything and anything despite that being the laziest way to fill up an article?
I think we all know damn well what I’m going with.
Let’s start with where you should buy it. Should you buy the Switch version since it would allow you to play it anywhere from your living room, to the beach, to the eventual murder filled bus? No. This bitch only costs around five bucks on eBay. Twenty if you want a sealed copy. This game was a bestseller for the PS2 back in the day, so there are tens of thousands of copies floating around. If you don’t have a PS2 lying around, and you really want to try it out, then sure, pick it up for twenty bucks on the Switch. Just be warned, you’ll be paying five dollars per hour of entertainment.
That’s right. This game is only FOUR HOURS LONG. Some places I checked said 4 – 6, but unless your parents were brother and sister, and both of their parents were brother and sister, making you incest cubed levels of retarded, you’ll probably beat this game in about four hours as well. Back in 2001 when ‘Onimusha: Warlords’ was released, this wasn’t even standard. This was the year of ‘Halo’, ‘Metal Gear Solid 2’, ‘Max Payne’, ‘Devil May Cry’, Soul Reaver 2, and mother fuckin’ ‘Grand Theft Auto III’. Gamers started demanding more and got it.
But how’s the game? Does it hold up? I mean, that’s the whole reason why anyone is reading this, right? Unless it’s because you like me. Which I doubt. I’m pretty sure I broke a kid’s arm when I walked through them at a state faire. I didn’t even feel bad. I thought it was funny that it took such little effort to send their little body flying.
For the brief time I played it, ‘Onimusha: Warlords’ is fine. It’s basically if they made a Samurai version of ‘Resident Evil’, but didn’t want to commit to the survival horror aspect and made it an action game. Which I later found out was almost accurate since this was originally supposed to be a PS1 game, but was rushed over to the PS2, and holy shit does it show.
The fixed environment looked okay considering they didn’t do must with the port. It looks exactly like I remember it, which either shows how lazy or brilliant NeoBards Entertainment was depending on your point of view. The art style is simple and timeless, utilizing bright colors and dark atmosphere to project a sense of beauty and menace. While some of it is certainly dated, the looping video of waves in a later section comes to mind, it still looks believable.
In fact, most of the controls and mechanics hold up rather well. Moving around is intuitive, unlike the tank controls most would expect given the static camera angles throughout the game. Movement was tight, whether I was avoiding enemies or poised for a fight. Combat was a one button affain, but there were deeper mechanics available if I wished to learn them. I didn’t, pulling off one hit kills by accident alone and locking onto enemies only to shoot them, but they were there, which is nice to see. My only real complaint would be the knock down, which I will complain about…
Don’t get knocked down. It fucking sucks. Stun locking is a very real thing in ‘Onimusha: Warlords’, especially in the later parts. I have to wonder what psychopath created a knock down mechanic, then thought it was a good idea to mix an aggressive AI with a sub par amount of i-frames? I can only assume that one such person worked on this game and that the idea of players frustration make him harder than a diamond covered in graphene.
Overall I did have fun with this game; I just thought I’d have more. It’s clear that this game was rushed, but it set a solid foundation. It’s more than playable, it’s solidly entertaining even if it’s short. I wish it cost closer to ten bucks instead of twenty, but I’m not cutting my nuts off over it. An IMAX movie ticket cost around the same and I not only get double the content with ‘Onimusha: Warlords’, but if I choose, I can make up a silly game within a game to draw it out. You can’t really do that with a movie. You can try with alcohol, but you can’t make something like ‘Terminator Genesys’ unsuck.