Lord Nobunaga, the shogun who would be remembered by history as one of the most powerful and fiercest of warlords in Japan, has fallen in battle after taking an arrow through the throat. He would not, however, remain dead for very long. Demons have come to bring the wicked lord back to life, and it is up to a young ronin named Samanosuke Akechi to face them -- all while saving a separated lover for whom his heart still burns.
Samanosuke won't be able to take on the sickening horde by himself. An ancient supernatural clan called the Ogres has been suppressed long enough by the demons, so they have enlisted the master-less samurai to help, giving him a powerful gauntlet that will allow him to steal the souls from fallen enemies.
Samanosuke can use the raw ethereal power from these captured souls to strengthen his weapon thanks to the elemental orbs which fuel the gauntlet's power. It will be a long and difficult journey through the nightmare landscape of Japan, but Samanosuke is the only hope against the demons that have plagued mankind far too long.
So begins Onimusha: Warlords, Capcom's second game on the PlayStation 2. As with titles in the company's Resident Evil series, Onimusha features polygonal characters placed over pre-rendered backgrounds with fixed camera perspectives. The locations that Samanosuke will travel through include forts and castles, designed to match the setting of feudal Japan, as well as caves, forests, and even the demons' lair itself.
The controls are also similar to those of the Resident Evil series, although there have been some additions to meet the game's more action-oriented needs. There is a strafe button included that will allow Samanosuke to move forward, backwards, and to the sides without having to turn around, and a guard button allows the character to block weaker attacks with his katana.
Unlike most titles in the genre, Onimusha features fast-paced swordplay and a large number of enemies to confront. Players will need to fight these enemies, however, instead of avoiding them because they'll need their souls to power-up the gauntlet. Onimusha allows characters to exchange the power given by the souls for more powers in Samanosuke's sword, which takes on attributes of whichever elemental orb he currently has equipped in the gauntlet.
In addition, players must power-up the orbs so they can break the various elemental seals scattered around the game world. Other role-playing aspects of the game include powerful magical attacks and upgrades to both Samanosuke's arsenal and his armor. There are also puzzles that must be overcome to progress through the game.
Onimusha is a strictly single-player experience, and there is only one character to choose from in the beginning. Some players, especially parents, will want to pay attention to the "Mature" rating for Onimusha, as it contains explicit scenes of violence and gore.