|Release date:||9 July 2004|
The series which blends ninja fisticuffs with survival horror returns in the third slash and grab adventure from Capcom - in glorious 3D.
Samanosuke, the samurai hero from previous Onimusha lore, returns for a time-bending escapade, this time accompanied by reluctant modern-day hero Jacques - played by Hollywood star Jean Reno. Interestingly enough, the action takes place in both 16th Century Japan and modern-day France, with the odd couple battling it out to save the world across both eras.
In a departure that'll no doubt have fans of the games beside themselves with glee, Onimusha 3: Demon Siege has also cast aside its characteristic pre-rendered 2D backgrounds in favour of a 3D setting. But some things never change, and in this third instalment the good guys must once again do battle with Nobunaga - the warmongering evil guy who evaded Samanosuke after their previous epic encounter.
Featuring one of the most visually impressive intro sequences we've seen in ages, and a cast of thousands (of undead zombie Samurai, or 'genma'), Onimusha 3 is a spectacularly impressive production that just begs to be played - whether you're a loyal follower or new to the series.
The time-hopping begins in earnest when, backed into a corner by Samanosuke and his army, Nobunaga slips into a temporal rift (handy) and makes his escape to contemporary France. Onimusha's blade warrior pursues the warlord and his minions to Paris, where the genma have already set about making mincemeat of the locals.
Thankfully, help is at hand in the form of Gallic commando and all-round good guy Jean Reno - or Jacques as he's called here. Motion captured and lending his distinctive tones to proceedings, Reno is a fully playable character, complete with an energy whip for cracking in the direction of zombies.
After a spot of preamble and some indispensable training for perfecting those finesse killings, you're whisked between characters and time periods, with Jacques whipping the genma into shape in medieval Japan, and Samanosuke getting to grips with the goons in Paris.
Assistance comes in the form of Ako - a winged spirit that helps the pair with their time travels. And, as with the previous titles, finesse killings release 'soul orbs' which act as currency. These can be used to upgrade weaponry and restore health, and acquire items that can be used to affect future happenings.
A puzzle-solving element mixes up the hack 'n' slash action a bit, but there's nothing too taxing to slow you down here. Mash the X button to cut through swathes of zombie samurai and pull off some devastating moves with the characters' weapons of choice.
- Jean Reno lends his distinctive likeness and tones to the game, as playable character Jacques Blanc
- Onimusha's traditionally pre-rendered 2D backgrounds make way for lush 3D environments
- Switch between two time periods - 16th Century Japan and modern-day France