Genji: Dawn of the Samurai

Genji: Dawn of the Samurai

Genji: Dawn of the Samurai

Terminal disappointment, Onimusha-style.

After three episodes of Onimusha, it's questionable whether the world really needed a shorter, less interesting and dumbed-down facsimile of this admirable hackandslash series. But that's precisely what Yoshiki Okamoto and his Game Republic cohorts have served up with their first post-Capcom project, Genji.

Set - once again - in ancient Japan (in this case the late 13th Century), the game centres around an incredibly simple blend of button-mashing combat and object collection, but manages to make the whole affair even more predictable and less demanding than usual. In a comically-voiced yarn that concerns the collection of the powerful Amahagane gems, it's a classic good versus evil tale: in short, the power-hungry Heishi intend on harvesting these stones to give them godlike powers, and it's up to a young warrior (Yoshitsune) and his burly monk friend (Benkei) to put a stop to their tyranny and save the land.

Essentially, collecting these Amahagane stones gives the bearer the power of Kamui, which in ancient Japanese is an excuse to insert Bullet-Time-style mechanics into an otherwise exceptionally basic button masher, where one-button attacks are the order of the day.

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It's on PS2 and PS3, but what's it like?

Yoshiki Okamoto's a bit of an enigma. Here's a man who abandoned a job at Capcom after 20 years because of a desire to do something new ("it was very difficult to start a new title with a team capable of creating a brand new, really excellent title," he says when asked why he left), only to spend the next two years developing, of all things, a hackandslash set in feudal Japan.