Onimusha: Warlords features pre-rendered
backgrounds. The player primarily controls swordsman Samanosuke
Akechi in his fight against demons. The game balances its action
elements with puzzles that involve interacting with the
environments and obtaining items to make progress.
The player begins the game with a standard katana sword, and can also obtain long-range weapons with limited supply. However, as the player progresses, the protagonist Samanosuke can gain three elemental weapons: Raizan, Enryuu and Shippuu, each with an elemental magic attack. As enemies are defeated, they release different colored souls that are absorbed by using the demon gauntlet on Samanosuke's wrist: red souls act as "currency" which can be used to upgrade weaponry, yellow souls recover health, while blue souls recover magic power which is used to perform each weapon's elemental abilities.