Onimusha: Warlords review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

Among some of Capcom?s top franchises from the PS2 era is the Onimusha series which took inspiration from Resident Evil and combined tank controls with a hack n slash game. Maybe most surprising is that this was actually a good combination and went on to be well received by gamers at the time.

Well now it?s almost two decades later and the first game is getting an HD port to modern platforms with Onimusha: Warlords. So does this type of game still hold up and if you haven?t heard of Onimusha before then you might also be wondering if this classic game is something you?d be interested in?

Well to get things going it?s fair to say that Onimusha is as fun as ever to play. The game features pretenders backgrounds and camera angles like Resident Evil but something I noticed is that because it?s designed more for combat that the camera angle changes aren?t as well thought out. By this I mean that with the joystick you will find yourself letting go of it to let your character reset the direction they are walking more often than you?d like. Resident Evil dealt with this by being slower with tank controls made so that you always run forward while pressing up but since Onimusha requires more dexterity for melee combat they had to compromise in order to let you fight. You can use the D-pad if you want but just keep in mind this is a game from between classic Resident Evil and the Devil May Cry games and if you can play either of those then you?ll get along with this just fine. But even if it?s your first outing then after maybe five minutes you?ll have the hang of things and be happily killing demons left and right.

So the story is that you are the samurai Samanosuke who is tasked with saving the princess from a demonic uprising. How you will do this is by slaying demons and absorbing their spirits in order to upgrade your powers and beat the game before all is lost. But in terms of playability I checked this out on the Switch and everything feels fast and responsive like you?d want in an action game of this nature and it?s just a blast to play.

The game is now in HD which I guess they decide to crop in on the prerendered backgrounds instead of drawing a wider image. I did feel that this lead to muddy looking backgrounds at times but I also don?t know what to expect with how the game was designed. The widescreen is fine as you don?t lose anything important to the arm but for nostalgic reasons I decided to play in the 4:3 mode which represents the game as it originally appeared and also seemed to make it look a little more crisp.

Can you tell the difference between widescreen and 4:3 in this daring comparison?

Other than this it?s a nice looking picture that for me does the job. I also didn?t notice any performance issues or slowdown in portable or docked modes which is always nice to see. Audio is also clear and the game has Japanese and English options which will make the story feel either more intense or totally silly depending on your choices and a bad English dub.

The only thing that I found to be problematic was using the rumble option. On Switch it offers HD Rumble and this is of course the only setting besides disabling it. The problem however is that whenever the rumble would be triggered that it seemed like the poor motors in my joycons or the pro controller were just about to die from working too hard! It just feels broken and this caused me to go try other games because I actually thought that I was having hardware issues. I found that the rumble was fine in other games and this seems to be a problem with the feature on Onimusha so I left it disabled and quickly forgot about my problems.

Other than that the whole package is here and represented faithfully from the PS2 release, even including unlockables like Oni Spirits mode and alternate costumes. So if you?re thinking of revisiting Onimusha or just curious to try it for the first time then it?s a solid recommendation as a short and action-packed classic game with some good replay value after your first run. This just goes to show that a port in the right hands means it?s a good time to revisit older series that might now be forgotten.

Note: Capcom provided us with a Onimusha: Warlords Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-