Onimusha: Warlords is out now on PC, just days short of its 18th anniversary on consoles. Capcom’s samurai-themed hybrid of precise hack n’ slash combat and survival horror puzzling was always the awkward middle child between Resident Evil and Devil May Cry, but it had heart. Rather than a remake, the PC version of Onimusha: Warlords is a straight remaster. The pre-rendered 2D backdrops are a bit sharper than before and expanded to widescreen, and a new control mode has been added for those wary of the game’s original ‘tank controls’, but the game remains largely unchanged. See the launch trailer below.
The original two Onimusha games were good fun back in the day. While similar in many ways to Resident Evil, especially in terms of exploration, puzzling and striking camera angles, the combat set them apart. Fast and responsive, its two playable heroes hacked through an army of demonic samurai, ninja and more esoteric monsters with relative ease, armed with swords and magic. Blocks and parries were order of the day, and a perfectly timed attack would often result in a stylish instant kill. It’s a move that’s as satisfying now as it ever was.
The timing of Onimusha’s re-release on PC feels unusual, just days after the excellent Resident Evil 2 remake demo. Even back in 2001, the original Onimusha felt a little archaic, especially as the trailblazing original Devil May Cry came out in the same year. Eighteen years later and little has changed, although this remaster does at least offer a camera-relative movement mode. If playing on a gamepad, the D-pad retains the old ‘tank control’ style of movement, while the analogue stick lets you move around far more freely – an advantage, as it removes the time taken to turn around.
This seems like a nice piece of preservation work by Capcom, and a good pick for those nostalgic for the original. If Onimusha’s themes tickle your fancy, but you want something a little more modern, you could do a lot worse than Nioh from the appropriately named Team Ninja. The upcoming Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice from Souls studio FromSoftware is the next obvious port of call.