Onimusha 3: Demon Siege
|Onimusha 3: Demon Siege|
North American box art
Onimusha 3: Demon Siege, released in Japan and Europe as Onimusha 3 (鬼武者3 Onimusha Surī?), is an action-adventure game developed and published by Capcom. It is the third game of the Onimusha series and was released for the PlayStation 2 on April 27, 2004. It was later ported to Windows on December 8, 2005. The story focuses on the returning hero, swordsman Hidemitsu Samanosuke Akechi, who is in his quest to defeat his nemesis, Nobunaga Oda, who wishes to conquer Japan with his army of demons known as Genma. However, Samanosuke changes places with a French officer from the future named Jacques Blanc, and both have to adapt to their new worlds to get rid of Nobunaga and the Genma.
The game retains elements from previous games in the franchise including the use of multiple special weapons in order to fight enemies and absorb their energy to enhance the weaponry. This time the player primarily controls both Samanosuke and Jacques in separate scenarios. The two are able to exchange items in order to solve puzzles. The development from this game started after the release of the PlayStation 2 which allowed the team to work on a 3D engine to design 3D backgrounds. In order to appeal to the Western market, the team the set this game in Paris and chose French actor Jean Reno to portray Jacques.
Onimusha 3 has been generally well received by publications for video games. Most of the writer's praise focused on the improved controls and the use of a 3D engine that allowed better combat and visuals, respectively. The game also generated good sales with over 1.5 million copies sold as of May 2008.
Onimusha 3 is played in a real-time environment instead of pre-rendered backgrounds, although the camera is still controlled by the computer. Gameplay alternates between Samanosuke fighting in modern day Paris and Jacques fighting in feudal Japan. Samanosuke fights using close range weapons, while Jacques uses an energy whip, which can also be used at certain points to swing across gaps. While Samanosuke cannot swing like Jacques he is able to use a bow in order to perform long-range attacks. Both of the characters also have defensive skils known as Issen that allows them to instantly kill an enemy by attacking just before the enemy makes contact with its attack.
Samanosuke and Jacques can gain elemental weapons, changing their fighting style and allowing access to magical attacks. Defeating enemies reaps souls, which when absorbed can restore health and magic, be used as currency for purchasing ammunition and health items, and allow Samanosuke or Jacques to enter a more powerful Onimusha state for a short time. If the player collects certain items during the game and completes it, Samanosuke will be able to use his weapons from the first game in the next playthrough. Armors with different properties can be obtained in the game but they require some items in order to work.
During certain portions of the story, players also get to control Michelle, who relies on firearms. Another minigame gives the players control over the lance fighter Heihachiro. Unlike Samanosuke and Jacques, Heihachiro and Michelle do not possess upgradeable weapons and cannot enter the Oni mode.
New to this game is a focus on time travel when solving puzzles. For example, if Samanosuke comes across a door in the present that has become too withered to open, Jacques will need to open the door in the past so that it will stay open for Samanosuke to progress. Things Samanosuke does in the present will not affect things in the past. However, Ako is able to transfer some items between both timelines.
The game opens with the master swordsman Samanosuke Akechi destroying the monstrous Genma army in Japan 1582 and goes to Honnō-ji Temple to beat his nemesis, Nobunaga Oda. Samanosuke defeats the warrior Mori Ranmaru and approaches Nobunaga. However, before they can fight, a portal opens in the floor and Samanosuke is pulled through it. It then jumps to modern-day Paris 2004, featuring a man named Jacques Blanc fighting the Genma army then begins its invasion of Paris near the Arc de Triomphe. Samanosuke appears from a portal in Paris and rescues Jacques from the Genma. The time portal reappears and pulls Jacques and Philippe through to feudal Japan. Samanosuke then meets Michelle, Jacques' girlfriend, near the Arc and makes his way towards the roof. Across his fights, Samanosuke briefly meets his old enemy, the scientist Guildenstern, who is responsible for sending him and the Genma to the future.
Jacques Blanc and Philippe arrive in 16th century Japan. However, Philippe dies of mortal wounds from the previous battle after the time warp. Upon arriving, an Oni spirit grants him powers in order to assist this timeline's Samanosuke on his way to Honnō-ji Temple. The Oni also gives Jacques a spirit named Ako to assist him in his quest. To return to their own time period, Samanosuke and Jacques must save the respective timelines they are in from destruction. The Samanosuke in 2004 Paris teams up with Michelle and Jacques' son Henri to save the city from destruction while Jacques and the past's Samanosuke struggle to fight Nobunaga in feudal Japan. Across his journey, Jacques and the past's Samanosuke meet Tadakatsu Heihachirō Honda who is linked with the Oda clan. However, Heihachirō joins decides to join Samanosuke and Jacques' cause. The future Samanosuke also encounters the future's Ranmaru who has become a Genma warrior.
Following several battles, Samanosuke manages to defeat the Genma forces from the future by defeating Guildenstern and Ranmaru. Heihachirō is killed by the past's Ranmaru and Jacques avenges him when reaching Honnō-ji Temple. Although Nobunaga appears to be defeated and Jacques and the future Samanosuke start switching places, Nobunaga recovers and kills the past's Samanosuke. Jacques reunites with his family but Henri is attacked by the future's Ranmaru. However, Jacques' Oni powers are transferred to Henri's body, saving the boy's life. Back in the past, Samanosuke absorbs his alternate self murdered by Nobunaga to increase his powers and engage in a final fight. Samanosuke emerges victorious and absorbs Nobunaga's soul into his Oni Gauntlet to stop him from reviving again. He then starts a journey with Ako to seal his Gauntlet.
Onimusha 3 was announced in May 2003 as the last game within the franchise. The Onimusha series was originally conceived as a trilogy with Onimusha 3 meant to close the storyline. The team behind Onimusha 3 had previously developed the first game, Onimusha: Warlords. The two share in common the focus in action as Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny was made by another team that implemented a bigger focus in adventure. As Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny did not sell well in the Western market, Capcom decided to make the next sequel with the idea of appealing Western gamers. As a result, they decided to set in Paris in order to generate a big contrast with ancient Japan. New York was also suggested by members from the staff, but it was eventually decided that city was used in many games. The city was also decided because Onimusha 2 had the worst sales in Europe making them focus on where they "lost the war." Capcom anticipated this game to sell 700,000 copies worldwide by the end of the fiscal year after its release. With the use of the modern French setting, the story involved time travel which worried producer Keiji Inafune as it could negatively affect the game if it was not well executed. However, Infafune was pleased with the final product. The game's concept was "what would a Samurai do in the modern world, and what would a modern cop do in the ancient world."
In order to fit the game's setting, the staff chose the French actor Jean Reno as a model for the new character of Jacques. Additionally, in order to make the game was realistic, Reno worked with the Capcom staff to make Jacques' motion capture and French voice acting. Inafune compared Reno's role with Takeshi Kaneshiro's work in the first Onimusha game as both actors are famous. By adding Reno, the team managed to appeal to both Eastern and Western gamers. Kaneshiro also returned to voice and motion capture Samanosuke. Director Takashi Yamasaki and CG movie action Director Donnie Yen were invited to help in the making of the game's movie scenes which "helped immensely" thanks to their experience. Over a hundred staff members worked together in the game's opening scene which took two years to complete.
As first two Onimusha games were designed with the PlayStation 1 in mind, they were given 2D backgrounds. In contrast, Onimusha 3 started development after the PlayStation 2 was released, the team managed to develop 3D backgrounds thanks to a new engine. Although the time faced the challenge of making the 3D backgrounds as interesting as the prerendered backgrounds, working some time on the PlayStation 2 gave the team confidence in designing the game. The Japanese version of the game was made less challenging than the American and European versions based on the wide audience Capcom was appealing in Japan.
For the Japanese launch of Onimusha 3, peripheral manufacturer Hori released a special Onimusha-themed memory card and the "Soul Controller", a 38 inch-long DualShock controller shaped like a tachi sword. Swinging the device around causes the player character within the game to do the same. Onimusha 3 was collected alongside its two prequels and a strategy guide in Japan as part of a box set released by Capcom on December 22, 2004.
Sourcenext ported Onimusha 3 to PC for a Japanese release on December 8, 2005. The PC version was subsequently published by UbiSoft for distribution on European retailers on February 24, 2006  and North American retailers on March 16, 2006. It was also published by Capcom on Valve's Steam software on August 22, 2007. The game was also released with its two predecessors into the Onimusha Essentials compilation for North America in 2008. A pachislo version of a minigame in Onimusha 3 was released in pachinko parlors in Japan in January 2005. That incarnation was made to a PlayStation 2 version as Jissen Pachi-Slot Hisshouhou! Onimusha 3 in July 14, 2005. It was published by Sega.
Onimusha 3: Demon Siege debuted at number one on the Japanese sales charts according to Famitsu. The game managed to sell 431,000 units in its first week. The game went on to sell 569,275 units in Japan by the end of the year, making it the eleventh best-selling game in the region for 2004. Sales info from NPD Group and Chart Track show that Onimusha 3: Demon Siege was the 10th best-selling game in both the United States and the United Kingdom during the week of its release. The sales in North America regions were found "somewhat disappointing" with Capcom's Jun Takeuchi finding the staff's work was not enough to appeal to Western gamers. Capcom VP of Strategic Planning and Business Development Christian Svensson referred to Onimusha 3 and Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams as less successful games than the first two Onimusha. As of May 2008, Onimusha 3 sold 1.5 million copies worldwide.
The game achieved highly positive critical reception with both GameRankings and Metacritic rating it 85 out of 100. Critics commonly focused on the improved controls that allow players to use the joystick's left analogue in order to move rather than the d-pad improving the flow of the combat. Another common praise is the use of the 3D engine which gives the players a better view of the game's areas. On the other hand, Eurogamer criticized the lack of innovation to the franchise and the quality from the voice acting which resulted in incosistency with Jacques' character. Jeremy Dunhan from IGN praised the story and the game's lasting appeal provided by its additional content. GameSpot's Greg Kasavin shared a similar view based on its "strong" but criticized some subplots such as Jacques' relationship with his family or Ako's role as one of the plot's biggest flaws. Although Eurogamer noted that there are times the camera does not show an enemy, the lock on function can remedy it by attacking enemies offscreen. The graphics also were well received by writers although Kasavin expected a bigger interaction with the areas. Dunhan found the game's audio appealing thanks its English cast but missed the original Japanese audio.
The PC port of the game received considerably slower scores than the original PS2 game leading to lower averages in GameRankings and Metacritic. Although Kasavin found the port to retain all the elements from the PS2 game, he still noted it "Looks and feels like an older PlayStation 2 game quickly ported to the PC." The Computer and Video Games staff acknowledged multiple issues such as low framerate and a lack of sound effects which resulted in the game being called a "halfarsed PC conversion."
In the making of Resident Evil 4 game designer Shinji Mikami was inspired by the camera from Demon Siege. According to Capcom's Yoshinori Ono, the 3D engine "pushed the PS2 hardware to its limits" resulting in Capcom's desire to retain the same quality for their following game, Shadow of Rome. Inafune commented that some gamers did not like the game because they did not think it was a proper samurai game. As a result, the next game, Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, would be set in ancient Japan. GamesRadar listed Jean Reno's work as one of the eight celebrity roles impossible to take seriously based on the actor's fame and previous works. On the other hand, GameSpot picked it as a finalist in the "Best Use of a Celebrity" award in its lists of 2004's best games. The magazine PSM3 made a feature titled "Onimusha 3: Why it was the pinnacle of PS2 action" where they praised the game for its depth in combat mechanics and how well it has aged despite retaining fixed cameras and a linear level progression. IGN also picked Onimusha 3 as "Game of the Month" in April 2004 as well as one of the best looking PlayStation 2 games. In the Japan Game Awards from 2003 and 2004, Onimusha 3 received the "Award for Excellence."
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