Tag Archives: PS2

Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny — 3Q2015

Onimusha 2-01Onimusha 2 has elements of satisfying sequel

by Brandon Beatty
by Brandon Beatty

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 Onimusha 2-26elements. 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.
Score-5In 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.

Samurai Shodown Anthology — 2Q2015

Samurai Shodown Anth-16

A complete classic collection

by Lyndsey Hicks
by Lyndsey Hicks

The fighting game industry has always thrived on the very concept that makes a title in the genre: competition. There have been fabled rivals throughout the entire lifespan of the genre, with quite a few pretenders to throne. However, SNK Playmore was one of the originators and the package of games within Samurai Shodown Anthology shows they weren’t playing around in the ’90s in the slightest.

It’s pretty safe to say that Samurai Shodown was never a pretender. It’s got all the markings of a marquee series, something that could carry a company far in the worst of times and keep eyes on the Score-4-5product. At its core, it’s a game about samurai and other warriors fighting to the death. What sets it apart from the competition — even from within its own stable with brethren King of Fighters — is its production values. The games have always been gorgeous and there’s a level of detail that hasn’t been seen in other series except for the likes of Tekken. Within the collection of that is Anthology, all of the naturally gorgeous artwork and level of detail is on display. It’s important that this be emphasized because that’s what Samurai Shodown is about at the end of the day: Samurai fighting to the death while looking fantastic.

The level of detail extends to the soundtrack as well. In all games in Samurai Shodown Anth-11the package, the soundtrack is an excellent concerto of Japanese bamboo flute and shamisen. This may not float your boat, but for a package that focuses on samurai, this is an excellent choice to make up the backing soundtrack.

Samurai Shodown Anthology is perfect collection of fighting games, mostly because it’s good to have the entire set of games on one disc without having to own inferior versions of notoriously arcade-perfect games. These are exactly what you fell in love with in the arcade and they’re all in one place, lovingly included at the original definition. If you’ve never experienced the hype that was Samurai Shodown, now’s an excellent chance to do so. Prepared to be wowed.

2UP EVALUATION

by Brandon Beatty
by Brandon Beatty

Finally, a classic game that started the weapon-based fighting genre is back on the PlayStation 2. For decades, SNK Playmore continued this series with not one but six titles, emphasizing Japan’s adaption of duels. Utilizing various characters and locales, Samurai Shodown gives gamers a break from the Tekken/Street Fighter clones on the market, and shows a brief slice of life in medieval Japan during which samurai fought under the code of Bushido.

I was allowed for a brief moment to not only act out a samurai fantasy, but also to release any anger in a healthy way. While the mechanics take some practice to become familiar with, the music, Score-3-5-retrogradecharacters and graphics are top-notch and the story is simple. My only complaint is that there’s one cheap shot character that loves to pounce. For all of the SoulCalibur clones flooding the market these days, I proudly say Samurai Shodown Anthology has great replay value, and it DEMANDS a space in any gamer’s library. I’m glad that SNK Playmore had the wisdom to keep this series alive from the beginning, instead of a company that relies on milking their cash cow to the bone. Well done, SNK Playmore. Well done.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itIFUTLIaiM

Unreal Tournament — 3Q2014

Unreal Tournament-01An unreal icon for consoles

by Lyndsey Hicks
by Lyndsey Hicks

As someone who has never really gotten into the Unreal series or PC shooters in general, learning to run and gun with one of the seminal shooters of our time was and has been a challenge. It’s a challenge in patience and in equilibrium, mostly because I can’t play older first-person shooters without migraines and vomiting. So, if a game could persuade me to sit down and enjoy the fruits of its murderous labor, then more power to it. Unreal Tournament didn’t have to try to hard to work that magical feat.

Unreal Tournament is a patchwork of ideas found commonly in modern shooters. It’s arena-based play that requires you to hunt down and eliminate the competition. That’s not that hard of a Unreal Tournament-19concept, actually. You’re given an arsenal with which to complete your reign of carnage and helpful items such as health and armor boosts. While the concept is easy, the number of control options offered can easily overwhelm even a seasoned shooter veteran. Mostly, you’re just looking for a way to aim and shoot, but there’s about 15 different ways to set up your gunning exploits in UT. There’s a wealth of modes offered, too, and you can’t go wrong with picking any of them. It’s nice to be able to practice before jumping into the main story mode, or play a good Capture The Flag match.

Score-3-retrogradeDespite the variety of modes to run through, the character selection isn’t all that varied. Stalwarts, like Malcolm from the original Unreal, are available but beyond that the character selection is a little blah. There are some to be unlocked but the question remains: Do you want to go through the trouble of unlocking a character that you aren’t going to care about?

The soundtrack is decent, with a few standout tracks so there’s something to spice up the disappointment of the character selection. The graphics are OK, but like that dearth of characters, there isn’t much to get excited about. For the translation to PlayStation 2, the game plays and looks OK. It’s nothing special but it isn’t terrible, either. Just don’t expect super impressive PC quality.

Unreal Tournament is an interesting experiment. It’s a PC juggernaut that tries its hand at accessibility in the home market and doesn’t fail miserably yet doesn’t entirely innovate, either. If you were wondering what the hype was all about for the PC darling, the PS2 version is just the right version to introduce you to the world of Unreal.