Visit historical Japan, complete with giant spider demons.
Preview by Aaron Drewniak (Email)
May 12th 2006
The original Genji wore its Onimusha pedigree on its sleeve, from the semi-fixed camera to the regularly scheduled boss fights. The visuals pushed the PS2 beyond what some thought possible, and while it had its share of problems, the combat had a weight and energy to it that was more satisfying than the "slashing at air" feeling of DMC3. However, with its dull story and host of fighting oddities, it still ended up feeling like a lesser brother to Dawn of Dreams.
Genji 2 carries all the sins of the father, while throwing in a few of its own. The visuals have only gotten marginal improvements with a few special effects slapped in, making it look like one of the worst next generation titles shown at E3. The fighting also felt slower and more awkward than the first; especially poor Benkei. He could have been a great character in the original if he hadn't walked like he was wading waist deep in a sea of honey. In Genji 2, he's still just as slow, but now he's got a new hip-hop outfit that makes him look like a gansta pirate. The main character has also gone from a bishonen pretty boy to an nondescript salary man in an outlandish outfit. The new version of kumai shown in the demo was also a step down from the original, becoming a mini-game of button presses to unleash a special attack instead of an elegant parry system that never worked quite as well as it should.
There are some improvements. There are a few new attacks thrown into the mix, as well as the ability to switch weapons and characters in mid-fight, but this was already done and done better in Drakenguard 2. And why no co-op mode? Genji 2 is clearly still early, and will likely have any number of tweaks before the final release, but when they haven't addressed the problems that made the original ultimately forgettable, I can't say I'm confident that Game Republic can pull off a game that won't be completely overshadowed by Heavenly Sword playing one booth over.