Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny — 3Q2015 issue

Onimusha 2 has ele­ments of sat­is­fy­ing sequel

Pre­vi­ously, I reviewed the first game in Capcom’s crit­i­cally acclaimed series Onimusha, where his­toric fig­ures and moments in Japan­ese his­tory were mixed with action/adventure gam­ing, third-person com­bat and brief moments of puz­zle solv­ing. After play­ing the first game, I won­dered if the sec­ond install­ment would keep the suc­cess­ful for­mula and raise the bar for future install­ments. When I received Onimusha 2: Samu­rai Des­tiny, I put on my custom-made samu­rai armor and pre­pared to have my ques­tions answered.
Onimusha 2 con­tin­ues the plot of cho­sen war­riors work­ing to pre­vent Oda Nobunaga from uni­fy­ing Japan through the use of demons called genma. Set 10 years after the first game, Nobunaga has risen to power despite the defeat of his demonic bene­fac­tor Fort­in­bras, who was stopped by orig­i­nal pro­tag­o­nist Samanouske Akechi. With Samanouske in hid­ing to per­fect his new demon slay­ing abil­i­ties, it’s up to Jubei Yagu to take up the sword and acquire five leg­endary orbs and use them to stop Nobunaga before his dark plans of con­quest becomes real­ity and demons become the dom­i­nant species of Earth instead of man.
Game­play in Onimusha 2 remains the same but does have some new ele­ments. Dur­ing com­bat with ene­mies, you can still fight through ene­mies, but if timed cor­rectly, Jubei can per­form “Issen” (light­ing slash) on var­i­ous ene­mies, allow­ing him to con­tinue for­ward, giv­ing him a brief minute to defend him­self or retreat. Another ele­ment is the require­ment to solve cer­tain puz­zles to obtain cer­tain items or gain access to cer­tain areas. For these puz­zles, I highly advise uti­liz­ing patience and strong mem­o­riza­tion as they have a much stronger effect in Onimusha 2 than in the first game. The final new ele­ment is role play­ing that enhances the sto­ry­line. Jubei can not only inter­act with non-playable char­ac­ters, but also gain allies who will give infor­ma­tion or assist him in boss bat­tles pro­vided he is in con­stant con­tact with them or if his allies are not involved in their own plans to defeat Nobunaga.
In addi­tion to new allies, you will notice that Jubei is nor­mally equipped with his sword, but can acquire weapons such as bows and arrows, a matchlock gun and other weapons that use the power of nat­ural ele­ments. Jubei does have two other advan­tages to help as well: The abil­ity to tem­porar­ily trans­form into Onimusha with enhanced attack power; and, the power to acquire var­i­ous souls with­out the use of a ogre gaunt­let to upgrade his armor and weapons.
The con­trols will not present any level of dif­fi­culty espe­cially if the Dual Shock ana­log con­troller is used. You can appre­ci­ate the qual­ity of the char­ac­ters’ move­ments in game­play and in the cut-scenes which may make one won­der if they are play­ing a samu­rai adven­ture game or watch­ing a movie.
The music per­formed in this game is excel­lent as Capcom’s sound team always brings their best efforts, guar­an­tee­ing that the music will be a treat. If you enjoy instru­men­tal Japan­ese themes, you’ll prob­a­bly love the sound­track.
Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Des­tiny did exceeded my expec­ta­tions for a game to be con­sid­ered a true samu­rai mas­ter­piece. This not only shows that Cap­com can unleash their bril­liance if they really try, but also shows other devel­op­ers that in order to bring a superb gam­ing prod­uct involv­ing var­i­ous ele­ments of Japan­ese cul­ture, they must will­fully present his­tor­i­cal ele­ments prop­erly while craft­ing a high qual­ity sto­ry­line. I can not wait to start the next chap­ter of the Onimusha series where the next des­tined hero strikes another blow to Nobunaga’s ambitions.

Shiritsu Justice Gakuen: Nekketsu Seisyun Nikki 2 — 2Q2015 issue

Rival Schools 1.5 is still fun

We here at GI are strong pro­po­nents of any­thing Japan­ese, fight­ing games and edu­ca­tion. So, you can imag­ine the delight that is a gen­er­ous mix of all three. To that end, it should be obvi­ous by now that we love Rival Schools and its over­all series Project Jus­tice. Despite the fact that it comes from the brain trust known as Cap­com, we’re still entranced by the con­cept of Japan­ese high school stu­dents fight­ing to save themselves.

The mid­dle game in the series, Rival Schools 2, is an inter­est­ing addi­tion to the fam­ily of fight­ing games. It’s nei­ther a true sequel nor a spin-off of the orig­i­nal game. It’s an adden­dum, which Cap­com is noto­ri­ous for push­ing on the gen­eral buy­ing pub­lic. It’s more of the orig­i­nal game — which we love — with some upgrades thrown in to make it worth import­ing. This ver­sion was never released in Amer­ica, thus there are modes that you will never see. That makes import­ing the game worth the time and trouble.

RS2 is your stan­dard fight­ing game, which doesn’t make it unique. How­ever, the inclu­sion of the board game mode and the char­ac­ter cre­ation mode that plays out like an eroge sim­u­la­tion are some of the good­ies that we’re miss­ing out on in the U.S. There’s also the addi­tion of three new char­ac­ters: Ran, a pho­to­jour­nal­ist who uses her cam­era to attack; Nagare, a swim­mer; and, Chairperson/Iinciyo, who leads the charge for Taiyo High School stu­dents to defend them­selves. Other than these gifts, there’s not much dif­fer­ent here than the first game. You’re still fight­ing to defend your cho­sen school, and there’s still fun to be had in a slightly deep fight­ing game sys­tem. There’s not too much dif­fer­ent aesthetics-wise, in that there are a few new stages and new stage themes. The older stages are still here and it’s fun to play against the new­com­ers with older char­ac­ters or a cre­ated character.

I have two caveats with rec­om­mend­ing the game to oth­ers. The first is the fact that it’s in Japan­ese mostly and read­ing is a must to get through the char­ac­ter cre­ation and board game modes. That’s a bit much if you’re not into the lan­guage or know enough to nav­i­gate through menus. The other issue is the fact that, as usual, Cap­com has seen fit to deny Amer­i­can gamers the best of a series, short­chang­ing loyal money-spending fans who would pay a high price for the good­ies of the char­ac­ter cre­ation mode and the board game mode. The dirty truth of it all is Cap­com has never thought highly of its Amer­i­can audi­ence. We’re not going to see some­thing awe­some like either mode because “we just wouldn’t get it any­way.” A fun fact is that both modes were to be included in the first game but were left out in Amer­ica because it would have been too much trou­ble to include them for Amer­i­cans, accord­ing to Cap­com of Japan. But we’re smart enough to make cash grabs off of for mul­ti­ple ver­sion of Street Fighter, though, right?

The moral of this story is that Rival Schools and its fur­ther sequels all deserve to be played by a wider audi­ence. Although it’s a slight rehash of the first game, RS2 was deserv­ing of respect and a proper intro­duc­tion to the Amer­i­can audi­ence. Thank­fully, we were allowed to see the next sequel, Project Jus­tice. Here’s hop­ing for a class reunion.

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom — 2Q2015 issue

Tat­sunoko takes on Cap­com in Wii brawl

Every­one who reads GI knows that I’m an otaku. I’m also a big fan of clas­sic anime that has set the stan­dard for today’s anime. Most of the awesome-level anime old and new has came from Japan’s world-renown Tat­sunoko Pro­duc­tions. So, when I heard that Cap­com was reviv­ing its “Ver­sus” series, I thought that Cap­com was run­ning out of gam­ing ideas. That was until it was announced that Tat­sunoko would play a major role. I thought it was a joke, but I was in shock when the rumors were true and thus the ques­tion came about: What would hap­pen if Capcom’s heroes met Tatsunoko’s heroes in a gam­ing for­est? Tat­sunoko vs. Cap­com: Ulti­mate All-Stars for the Wii answered that ques­tion for me.

Devel­oped by Eight­ing and pub­lished by Cap­com, Tat­sunoko vs. Cap­com is a 3D game that places var­i­ous char­ac­ters from both com­pa­nies’ top-selling series into a exclu­sive fight­ing game treat. Inspired by the Mar­vel vs. Cap­com series, TvC allows duos from either Capcom’s or Tatsunoko’s ros­ters to fight against other char­ac­ters with the win­ning team going on to face Yami from Capcom’s adven­ture title Okami. If you like to mix a Cap­com char­ac­ter with a Tat­sunoko char­ac­ter, that’s also pos­si­ble as a way to give the game­play more vari­ety. In addi­tion to the orig­i­nal arcade mode, there are sur­vival and time attack modes that allow you to test your skills via lim­ited health regen­er­a­tion and defeat­ing your oppo­nents in the short­est time pos­si­ble. An addi­tional fea­ture includes a mini-game shooter called “Ulti­mate All-Shooters.”

Con­trol is han­dled with three but­tons, which greatly sim­pli­fies the learn­ing curve. It’s sim­pli­fied even more thanks to the Wii’s Clas­sic con­troller, Game­Cube con­troller, third-party arcade sticks and the reg­u­lar Wii remote. You will love the char­ac­ter ros­ter con­sist­ing of each com­pa­nies’ top fran­chises such as Street Fighter, Rival Schools, Viewti­ful Joe, Lost Planet, Darkstalkers/Vampire and Mega Man for Cap­com while Tat­sunoko is rep­re­sented by Karas, Tekka­man, G-Force and Yat­ter­man. There are other char­ac­ters that can be unlocked via use of money (Zenny) earned in each game, which also will allow pur­chase of alter­nate end­ings, cos­tume changes and other unlock­able surprises.

The music is top-notch in each stage, but the intro and end­ings songs are fun to sing and dance to. In par­tic­u­lar, the Gesellschaft (Clear Skies) and the Daigo Tem­ple (Cherry Blos­som) stages are favorites.

Tat­sunoko vs. Cap­com: Ulti­mate All-Stars is an answered prayer for fans of fight­ing games and anime. As a first-time con­nois­seur of this type of crossover, TvC is delight­ful game expe­ri­ence. As an otaku gamer, Cap­com can work on my damn nerves at times with their no-thought deci­sions, but in this case, they worked with a renown anime com­pany to bring a qual­ity prod­uct to a sys­tem that was in SORE need of well-rounded games. Now only if Cap­com can make amends with Keiji Ina­fune. They might be respected once more.

2UP EVALUATION

All of the raz­zle daz­zle hype aside, Tat­sunoko vs. Cap­com is some­thing I want to play. I’m already a fan of most Cap­com fight­ing prop­er­ties, and I love the Ver­sus series, so I’m going to play what­ever they come up with next to join forces with and cre­ate magic. In this case, it’s anime related as well, so there’s a win­ning com­bi­na­tion all the way around.

I didn’t know much about Tat­sunoko before play­ing the game, but after spend­ing a lit­tle time immersed in the super sen­tai world, I learned that it’s some­thing that’s com­pelling to return to time and time again. Nice mechan­ics, an inter­est­ing ros­ter and gor­geous atten­tion to detail with the envi­ron­ments and sound­track make it a nice pack­age. My only gripes are that the story doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense (really, Yami from Okami, Cap­com? That’s it?), and that not know­ing that much about Tat­sunoko actu­ally works against me. Other than that, there’s isn’t a rea­son why I wouldn’t play this con­stantly, even if it is a Wii exclu­sive. That’s just another rea­son to go out and buy the now-defunct console.

TvC trivia

* The orig­i­nal title for TvC was Tat­sunoko vs. Cap­com: Cross Gen­er­a­tion of Heroes.

* While the game devel­op­ers had the OK to add any char­ac­ter from Tat­sunoko or Cap­com, Tat­sunoko did deny some choices because of licens­ing issues; orig­i­nally, Phoenix Wright was sug­gested, but was pulled because of dif­fi­cul­ties with find­ing proper attacks for him.

* Most video game review­ers such as G4’s Adam Sessler and IGN’s John Tanaka were doubt­ful about an outside-of-Japan release because of Tatsunoko’s final approved ros­ter of char­ac­ters. They were licensed in other coun­tries, despite being owned by Tat­sunoko, and the level of recog­ni­tion of some char­ac­ters was a concern.

* As of 2012, Cap­com USA senior vice pres­i­dent Chris­t­ian Svens­son has stated that Cap­com could no longer sell the game in phys­i­cal or dig­i­tal form because licens­ing rights with Tat­sunoko expired.

Devil May Cry — 1Q2015 issue

Capcom’s instant action plat­form­ing classic

In pre­vi­ous install­ments of Otaku Cor­ner, I reviewed manga based on Capcom’s Devil May Cry. Ever since DMC’s arrival in 2001, it has grown from a crit­i­cally acclaimed series to writ­ten and visual adap­ta­tions in comics, writ­ten nov­els and other var­i­ous mer­chan­dise. Orig­i­nally set in the Res­i­dent Evil uni­verse, because of tech­nol­ogy restraints and an expand­ing reverse sto­ry­line from Res­i­dent Evil, the series was ported to the PlaySta­tion 2. Hav­ing enjoyed expe­ri­enc­ing the manga’s action, I won­dered if I would feel the same when I played the first DMC game? I was about to find out.

Devil May Cry has ele­ments that are sim­i­lar to Res­i­dent Evil; the only dif­fer­ence is that you will be deal­ing with super­nat­ural ene­mies instead of those who were cre­ated by uneth­i­cal sci­en­tific exper­i­ments. You assume the role of Dante, a demon hunter/investigator who uses his skills to exer­cise demons for profit and to avenge the loss of his fam­ily from said crea­tures. One night while work­ing, Dante is hired by a mys­te­ri­ous woman named Trish, who after a brief but amaz­ing test of Dante’s skill, hires him to go to an aban­doned cas­tle where Mundus, the demon who is respon­si­ble for the death of Dante’s fam­ily, is plan­ning a return from hell. Unknown to our badass hero, he has taken on a a job that starts out as an oppor­tu­nity for vengeance, but soon will unlock an ancient birthright and his true des­tiny as mankind’s newest pro­tec­tor against demonic forces.

Game­play in DMC is a com­plete 180 from Res­i­dent Evil as the bat­tle style is more melee com­bat that run­ning and hid­ing from zom­bies. I found the con­trols pretty easy to use, thanks to the ana­log sticks that allow plenty of free move­ment to jump and take full advan­tage of Dante’s sweet com­bat moves. You will love it when Dante gets to busi­ness imme­di­ately with use of his twin hand­guns that can infict dam­age rapid-fire style and his awsomely designed sword Alas­tor that can be upgraded to unlock new attacks. He also has a BIG trump card to really make the demons howl with the use of “Devil Trig­gers” (think Goku or Veg­eta going Super Saiyan with an arse­nal of weapons and being in god mode).

The graph­ics are beau­ti­ful as Cap­com devel­oped a great game engine and made great use of the PS2’s tech­no­log­i­cal capa­bil­i­ties to bring out the action with­out using the god-awful cam­era angles found in Res­i­dent Evil. I per­son­ally liked how each cutscene brought DMC’s sto­ry­line together with­out any over-the-top drama. The enemy vari­ety is good, too, rang­ing from demon mar­i­onettes to giant owls and other demonic crea­tures. I enjoyed the voice act­ing because it was not forced, flow­ing in sync with the game’s plot. I am proud to say that I would def­i­nitely replay this game when I’m feel­ing like I want to rip some demons apart.

Devil May Cry is a stand­out orig­i­nal game that is wor­thy of its praise from gam­ing crit­ics the world over. I find this another tes­ti­mony to the fact that Cap­com can do them­selves and their cus­tomers jus­tice by being true to their craft. I was pleased with my first DMC gam­ing expe­ri­ence and await more in future install­ments of this series.

Mega Man X54Q2014 issue

Pho­tos cour­tesy of http://www.GamesPress.com

Duo team attack finish

MMX5 takes place sev­eral months after the events in Mega Man X4, dur­ing which the giant space colony Eura­sia has been taken over by an unknown reploid known as Dynamo as it was under­go­ing exten­sive repairs. As a result, a com­puter virus infected Eurasia’s grav­ity con­trol sys­tems, send­ing it on a col­li­sion course with Earth. At the same time, Sigma and his new band of Mav­er­icks have taken con­trol of var­i­ous areas that have equip­ment capa­ble of pre­vent­ing Eurasia’s fall, and he has also launched his own virus across the globe. X and Zero, under orders from their new leader Sig­nas, must go to those areas to acquire the equip­ment needed to stop Eura­sia, and send Sigma back to the scrap heap once more where he belongs.

MMX5’s game­play remains the same as any reg­u­lar action-adventure game. You can chose between using X and Zero, who each have unique abil­i­ties. I chose Zero because of the option to use his Z-Saber and Z-Buster as more effec­tive com­bat tools, and also because of his stronger jump­ing abil­i­ties. MMX5 allows both char­ac­ters to be swapped out dur­ing the stage select screen, pro­vided you choose before time runs out. This adds fresh­ness to the game­play, keep­ing the game from being too mun­dane or too com­fort­able for a cho­sen character.

I liked the fact that there are new armors in the game that X can start off with. The Gaia armor from MMX 4 is less pow­er­ful but still gets the job done. You can find other armor sets that will give you an advan­tage, with good old Dr. Light pro­vid­ing insight about them. He has also made a spe­cial armor for Zero that you will find later on. I also want to note that if play­ers pay close atten­tion, there will be some back­ground scenes in MMX pay­ing trib­ute to clas­sic Mega Man and Mega Man X games.

The plot of the game, while a good sto­ry­line point with stop­ping Eura­sia, may frus­trate you because you would have to defeat the first four Mav­er­icks and later be told that two were devel­oped simul­ta­ne­ously with­out pre­vi­ous knowl­edge of both plans. I also ques­tioned the developer’s method of stage plan­ning when they placed Dynamo in nearly every mid bat­tle to delay either X or Zero with­out any strong chal­lenge, and I ques­tioned why, dur­ing Duff McWhalen’s stage, it takes a huge amount of game time to fight off a sub-boss that required run­ning and fir­ing just to keep it at bay.

Despite some frus­trat­ing issues, MMX5 is a great game to kill time with and shows how — with proper care and fresh ideas — a gam­ing fran­chise can still be rel­e­vant. Get the pic­ture, Capcom?

Mega music

Cap­com always had a cre­ative knack for nam­ing Mega Man adver­saries. Mav­er­icks in X5 are based off of the orig­i­nal band mem­bers of the rock group Guns N’ Roses.

Griz­zly Slash — Slash
Squid Adler — Steven Adler
Izzy Glow — Izzy Stradlin
Duff McWhalen — Duff McK­a­gan
The Skiver — Michael Mon­roe
Axle the Red — Axl Rose
Dark Dizzy — Dizzy Reed
Mat­trex — Matt Sorum