to join the CVG community. Not a member yet? Join now!


Japan's answer to the God of War? Don't believe a word of it

With its beautiful scenery, dual heroes that you can switch between in levels and tons of enemies to combo to death, you'd be forgiven for mistaking Genji for another Onimusha game.

It's a disappointing effort from the guy behind such trailblazers as Street Fighter, Resident Evil and Devil May Cry. Whereas they were all groundbreaking video games whose influence can still be felt today, Genji is content to imitate rather than innovate. It's well put together, but very rarely steps out from the shadows of better games.

Its one true ace card that sadly gets played to death is the so-called 'Mind's Eye' attacks. That's basically bullet-time to everyone else. By filling a meter through killing regular enemies you can trigger the power to counter attacks with a finishing move of your own, simply by hitting Square whenever the button prompt appears on screen. Mess it up and you'll take the full brunt of the blow, but time each counter right and you'll see heads, limbs and other body parts separate across the screen.


Another plus is that the two characters are suitably different. Yoshitsune is the swift
and agile swordsman, while brick shithouse Benkei lumbers around swatting everyone
with what looks like a girder. It's just a shame the number of moves for each character is pretty limited. Giving simple commands to the other character and performing tandem attacks (as in the forthcoming Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams) would have worked much better. As it is you're left with a shallow role-playing inventory system where you can equip new weapons and items that boost each character's attack and defence moves.

Genji is such a shallow and easy game to complete that it won't keep you busy for more than six or seven hours. And that's only if you can stomach the long-winded cut-scenes. By the third and final chapter in which most of the backgrounds are recycled it feels like the developer just gave up. So don't feel bad when you do the same.

Apparently, this was supposed to be Sony Japan's answer to the US-developed God of War. Don't believe a word of it.

The verdict

Very disappointing. Genji shows little of Onimusha's flair and the combat system is a bit of a onetrick pony. It's also very short.

PlayStation 2
G5 Software
Action, Beat 'em Up