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Play Onimusha 3 with a katana

Hold me.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

When I think of oversized and overpriced peripherals, nothing springs to mind faster than the £129.99 plastic monstrosity Capcom produced for love it/hate it Xbox shoot-'em-up Steel Battalion. However, when stocks of the 40-button tank front-end are recycled this year for the launch of Steel Battalion - Line of Contact, they won't be the only hulking plastic willy extensions packed tightly in a Capcom brand warehouse somewhere in the mountains.

For this year also sees the release of Onimusha 3, which itself looks like a blast, and in order to celebrate controller manufacturer Hori Japan has been tasked with producing an official controller modelled on a Japanese katana sword. Oh yes. The wireless "Soul Controller" is just short of a meter long, boasts gold trim and even perches on its own ceremonial stand. As a wireless device it enjoys a five-metre range and should work for five hours continuously on three AA batteries.

If you're anything like me, you have two questions: how much does it cost, and how does it work? Well, the good news is that it does rely on the player swinging it around in mock hackandslash style, hopefully not maiming family pets but certainly unseating a few oddly shaped lamps and stacks of cassettes. The sword uses a sort of motion-capture device (not EyeToy?) to measure the swing, and it also has a full PS2 controller layout in its hilt so you don't lose the ability to hit start or something.

Which just leaves the question of price, and sadly it's looking a bit expensive at around €125 from Lik-Sang here. If that won't stop you though, you should be able to get hold of the thing towards the end of February. If I get drunk and order one, expect to see some photos so I can feebly try and log it as an expense. Whimper.

Onimusha 3 is due out over here before the end of 2004, and there's no word on whether we'll get the Soul Controller at this stage, but the Japanese model should work fine as long as it doesn't do anything particularly crazy with the PS2 hardware.

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