Monday, July 11, 2011

THEPLAYGAMER3: ONIMUSHA Samurai's Destiny









Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny, released in Japan as Onimusha 2 (鬼武者2 Onimusha Tsū?) is the second installment in the Onimusha series of video games. The plot revolves around a new protagonist, Jubei Yagyu (柳生 十兵衛 Yagyū Jūbē?), as he battles a demonic Genma army which is invading 1571 Japan. Nobunaga Oda, a sinister warlord who was slain in the previous game, has been resurrected and placed at the head of the Genma forces. Apart from the main character, the game features four playable sub-characters, each of whom shares a part in the story. The player's actions determine which characters will decide to help Jubei in his quest.

The Jubei character is not the swordsman Yagyū Jūbei Mitsuyoshi, but rather his grandfather, Yagyū Muneyoshi, the originator of the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū school of swordsmanship.

Gameplay

Like other Onimusha titles, Samurai's Destiny features a analog stick control scheme found in many survival horror games published by Capcom, most notably Resident Evil. Other similarities include an open-ended gameplay structure, the use of herbs and medicine to restore health, and the inclusion of puzzles which must be solved in order to progress. Hostile demons known as Genma inhabit most areas, and will attack and give chase to Jubei if they see him. Certain Genma attack with melee weapons, while others will flank the rear and shoot arrows at the protagonist. Although the side characters of Samurai's Destiny are restricted to a single type of weapon, Jubei collects an assortment of short and long-range weapons throughout the game, including a bow and a matchlock rifle. Each of the characters can strafe and block forward attacks.

In order to discourage button mashing, the player is rewarded for performing "Issen" hits on Genma. Issen occur when the player initiates an attack the moment an enemy is about to lunge forward. A bright flash will appear if the move was successful, and the target enemy will die instantly. If a group of Genma surround Jubei, he will be able to instantaneously chain several Issen hits together, effectively mowing down the entire group.

In the beginning, Jubei's only means of defense is his katana; shortly into the game, he gains the ability to absorb the souls of defeated Genma (a recurring device in Onimusha games). This power is similar to that of Samanosuke's gauntlet in Onimusha: Warlords, and functions the same way. "Demons Souls" are most often seen emanating from the fallen corpse of a slain Genma, and appear as glowing orbs that float in midair. Jubei can attract any orbs in the vicinity and draw them into his hand, provided that he is standing close enough. Unlike Warlords' gauntlet, Jubei draws orbs through his left hand.

Demons Souls are differentiated by the color of the orb: The most common type, red orbs, act as experience points which can be spent to improve Jubei's weapons and armor. Absorbing yellow orbs will restore a character's health. Blue orbs recharge magic ability. The rarest variety is the purple orb, which differs from the others in that it appears less frequently, and is much larger. When Jubei absorbs a total of five, he temporarily powers-up into an "Onimusha", increasing his attack damage and rendering himself invincible. The transformation wears off after a few seconds, after which Jubei's stock of purple souls is depleted.

Unlike its predecessor, Samurai's Destiny features a gold mining town called Imasho which is totally free of enemy encounters.Onimusha 2 introduces several role-playing elements into the series; the first is the option to improve Jubei's attack power, defense and speed by upgrading his gear. Secondly, in the areas immediately surrounding imasho, defeated Genma often leave behind piles of gold which can be spent on gifts for other characters. During the first half of the game, Jubei periodically returns to Imasho in-between action sequences. It is here that the player can buy gift items using the gold dropped by defeated enemies. The 'Imasho Town' portion of the game gives an opportunity to give items to the various sub-characters.

Allies

During the Imasho Town sequences in the game, Jubei can buy goods from merchants and give them to any of the four sub-characters (Ekei, Magoichi, Kotaro & Oyu). Reactions to a present will depend on that person's temperament; giving Oyu a bouquet of flowers will make her happy, whereas giving it to a male recipient will simply irritate them. Jubei's gift-giving will determine which warrior will assist him as the game progresses, and will in turn have an impact on the story. In some cases, if the player fails to win a character over, that person will opt to shun or betray Jubei later on.

At certain points in the story, control may be passed to another character for a short period. These side-quests often begin with Jubei finding himself ambushed, trapped, or incapacited, requiring one of his allies to help him. During these events, the sub-character can equip a bracelet which imbues them with the same soul-absorbing power which Jubei wields. Because this power is essential to gameplay, treasure chests containing bracelets are usually found in plain view as soon as the side quest starts.

Elemental weapons

As in the previous game, Jubei is able to use magic by wielding element-based weapons. The first one that Jubei receives is the Buraitou, the Thunder Sword, a blade that channels lightning. During the course of the game he may acquire weapons with different properties such as Hyoujin-yari the Ice Spear, Senpumaru the Wind Naginata, Dokoutsui the Earth Hammer, and the Rekka-Ken (a Fire-based broadsword). When wielding these weapons, Jubei can perform a stronger elemental attack at any time.

In addition to his life bar, Jubei also has a meter which measures his magic ability. The meter dwindles each time Jubei casts a spell, but can be restored by absorbing blue Demon Souls.

Story

The story revolves around a lone swordsman named Jubei who returns home to see his village in ruins after an attack by Nobunaga. On his quest for revenge he meets and befriends many other characters and eventually faces Nobunaga in a one on one battle.

Characters

Jubei Yagyu

Main article: Yagyū Munetoshi

Jubei Yagyū (柳生十兵衛 Jubei Yagyū?): An ambitious young warrior who is first leader of the Yagyū clan and originator of Shinin style sword combat. Also known as Sougen Yagyu or Sekishusai. All leaders of the Yagyu clan are given a childhood name of Jubei. His father was the late Head of his clan, who was seduced and had a child by a female oni named Takajo (高女?). Jubei and his descendants possess the blood and ability of Oni-Clan; as Jubei is Half-Oni. Jubei was modelled after the late Japanese actor Yusaku Matsuda. After a period of solitary training, Jubei returns to Yagyu Village to find that his home has been raided and destroyed by Nobunaga's army.

Jubei Yagyu's weapons:

Katana is a standard Japanese backsword or longsword used by samurai.
Buraitou (舞雷刀, lit. Dancing Thunder Sword) is a lightning-elemental katana and the first magic weapon you acquire.
Hyoujin-Yari (氷刃槍, lit. Ice Blade Spear) is an ice-elemental straight-headed spear found in the Imasho gold mine.
Senpumaru (旋風丸, lit. Whirlwind Circle) wind-elemental naginata found in the fog valley.
Dokoutsui (土荒槌, lit. Earth Barren Hammer) is an earth-elemental hammer found in the Oni sacred grounds.
Tanegashima is an upgraded version of the matchlock rifle.
Rekka-Ken (烈火剣, lit. Raging Fire Sword) is a fire-elemental broadsword and the ultimate magic weapon.
Tri-Barrel is an upgraded rifle that fires three consecutive shots. This is given to you by Magoichi during his scenario.
Bow is a standard weapon that comes with standard arrows or a fire-tipped variety.


Oichi


Oichi (お市 Oichi?): Nobunaga's sister who assumed the alias of Oyu of Odani (小谷のお邑 Odani no Oyū?) to secure her husband's territory by fighting her brother, learning to fence with a circular shield. She meets Jubei in the town of Imasho, later saved by him when in the clutches of Tokichiro, who takes her daughter Yodo as his future concubine.

 Ekei Ankokuji


Ekei Ankokuji (安國寺惠瓊 Ankokuji Ekei?): A master spearfighter in the Houzouin style, Ekei a monk who loves money, liquor and the company of beautiful women. Before entering monkhood, he was a warlord who lost his wife and daughter when they were burned alive by soldiers who ignited the building they were in, leaving Ekei in despair with one wish: To put an end to war by becoming daimyo (a feudal lord) by any means. He also has a soft spot towards little children.

 Kotaro Fuma


Kotaro Fuma (風魔小太郎 Fūma Kotarō?): A Fuma Ninja who works for the Hojo clan. He confounds his opponent with his agile movement and countless Ninjutsu. His childhood has been stained by the experience of being abandoned by his mother; which has caused him to distrust women. However, it is wiped by Oyu's caring and kindness. He appear to be in his late teens to early twenties.

 Magoichi Saiga


Magoichi Saiga (雑賀 孫市 Magoichi Saiga?): The leader of the "Saiga Shu" gun troop in Kii prefecture. Bold, bright and cool-headed, he is good at handling firearms and explosives, and takes a keen interest in books and documents.

 Nobunaga Oda


Nobunaga Oda (織田 信長 Oda Nobunaga?): The main antagonist, an ambitious warlord resurrected by the Genma, determined to rule Japan with an iron fist. Becoming the new Genma Lord after Fortinbras' death, Nobunaga orders his troops to conquer all of Japan.

 Tokichiro Kinoshita


Tokichiro Kinoshita (木下 藤吉郎 Kinoshita Tōkichirō?): Nobunaga's most loyal servant, he is portrayed in the game as a lackey, and some call him the 'monkey man'. Now he is helping Nobunaga to conquer the entire country. He is a slippery and devious foe, who always remains one step ahead.

 Ginghamphatts

Ginghamphatts (ギンガムファッツ Gingamufattsu?) is a giant, semi-arachnid genma who serves under Genma Lord Oda Nobunaga. During his first battle with Jubei — which he loses — he wields a giant pick axe. He swears revenge on Jubei for the humiliation of being defeated by a mere mortal and faces him again in the forest, this time wielding a giant axe. Jubei defeats him again and they do battle for a third and final time in the demon base tower. Ginghamphatts is vanquished for good in this battle by falling to his death, in which he wields a giant hammer.

Gogandantess

Gogandantess (ゴーガンダンテス Gōgandantesu?) The self-proclaimed "Greatest Swordsman of all Demons", he boasts this title at every opportunity. He is human in appearance, which is unusual for most Genma in the series, and wields a Jian Sword, along with shuriken. Gogandantess revels in fighting worthy opponents and challenged Jubei to three separate duels to test his strength, defeating, but sparing him, on the first two. Jubei finally found the Oni Sacred Flute used to disable Gogandantess' magic shield, and emerged triumphant in their final duel to win the 'Respect' Orb. Despite being a demon warrior, Gogandantess still displayed values of honour and chivalry, going as far as saving Oyu from certain death.

 Jujudormah

Jujudormah (ジュジュドーマ Jujudōma?) A Genma serving as a concubine for Lord Nobunaga, she is an old and rather unattractive Genma obsessed with Lord Nobunaga, even when it is obvious the feelings aren't mutual. She was also responsible for the death and murder of Jubei's mother "Takajo". Self-deluded, vain and obsessed with her 'good looks', she is flung into a rage when Jubei tracks her down in her lair and calls her a 'nasty thing', causing her to scream so loudly she shatters the mirror of her vanity desk. She is armed with a handbag equipped with a curved blade and a parasol that shoots powerful magical blasts. She is in a bit of a rivalry with Ginghamphatts as to who can kill Jubei first. She appears in a later game "Onimusha Blade Warriors", and as her younger, more attractive self as Juju-Ran.

Samanosuke and Guildenstern

Neither Samanosuke Akechi nor Guildenstern make an appearance in this game (though Guildenstern is mentioned in one of the files that Jubei finds, as well as in a drawing during the opening narration). Samanosuke also appears in the aforementioned opening narration in which he is fighting Fortinbras.

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