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Onimusha Tactics Package Art

Onimusha Tactics

GBA owners canít seem to get enough of strategy games. The Advance Wars series, Fire Emblem, and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance all come to mind when we think of excellent GBA strategy games. In addition to being well-reviewed, these games have all sold fairly well in the marketplace. So is it any surprise that more and more developers are releasing strategy titles for our favorite handheld?

To be honest, the industry actually was a bit surprised with Onimusha Tactics, which seemed to come out of nowhere. Itís very similar to its strategy-RPG cousin Final Fantasy Tactics. In fact, itís really the same thing but set in the Onimusha universe, which is a strong-selling adventure series on the Playstation 2.

For those who donít know, Onimusha takes place in feudal Japan. A race of demonics beings called Genma invade Japan and samurai must defend their homeland against this threat. I havenít played that much of the PS2 Onimusha series, but that is more or less the basic premise of the entire series.

So is Onimusha Tactics worth buying whether youíre a strategy or Onimusha fan? Grab hold of your katanas and letís find out!


Onimusha Tactics features a graphical style and GUI very similar to FF: Tactics Advance. Not only does it sport the same isometric view, but even the characters and battle animations look alike. Onimusha has its own flavor, of course. Its visuals are a fair bit darker than Tactics Advance. It is slightly less cartoony than Tactics, but not by much.

On its own, when compared to all other GBA games, Tactics looks decent. The animation, sprites and backgrounds are nothing special, but they certainly arenít ugly. But if youíve played Tactics then you just wonít be able to shake that feeling of dťjŗ vu while playing Onimusha. Also, the facesets are quite bad and emotionless because it looks like they are trying to be realistic.

In the end, graphics wonít be a turn-away or selling point of the game. They are fine, but the extra mile wouldíve really helped this gameís look a lot.


Simply bad. The music is easily forgettable and doesnít even seem to convey mood very well at all. The sound effects are well done, but they definitely donít make up for the disappointingly boring tunes. I canít even remember a single BGM from the game. All I recall is that I certainly wasnít impressed with the audio job.


No one plays strategy games for the presentation, or at least the visual part of the presentation. What matters is the core gameplay, and in the case of a strategy-RPG like Onimusha tactics, the story as well. And this is the gameís biggest downfall. The interface is clunky, originality is non-existent and the entire feel of the game is just half-assed. This game might as well have been a regular RPG instead of a strategy one. Youíre essentially moving around a field ordering your lifeless party members to take turns whacking at Genma troopers.

The battle system is so basic, in fact, that itís actually a step backwards from FF: Tactics Advance. There are no direction bonuses here, a huge strategic factor in Tactics. Class system? Forget it. You canít target magic areas adjacent to enemies, even though the area of effect damage would affect them, which is just frustrating. The AI is poorly programmed and there is absolutely no variety.

I could go on but you should get the point by now. There are a trillion much better designed and much better playing strategy titles than this. The gameplay is just so dry that you are almost compelled to turn the game off. Thereís not even an addiction of building up your characters like many other RPGís offer, mainly because all of the characters are so similar.

Which brings me to my next complaint: the story is extremely boring, especially because this game is supposed to be half RPG. The characters are shallow; you end up not caring about them. This is probably the biggest blow to the game. Had the story and characters been decent, it probably would have made up for the lackluster battle system.


Even if there was multiplayer, which there isn't, I doubt you'd want to inflict this upon your friends.


Onimusha Tactics wouldn't be that bad if there weren't so many strategy games already available to the GBA. But there are. And compared to the rest of the flock, Onimusha sucks.

final score 3.5/10

Staff Avatar Kwan Perng
Staff Profile | Email
"Relax, it's just a game."

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