Taking place 15 years after the death of warlord Oda Nobunaga, Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams finds Japan once again on the brink of disaster. A new threat has emerged from Nobunaga's descendant, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, whose lust for power must be ended before a demonic army overruns the land. Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams casts players in the role of the mysterious Soki, a broadsword-wielding warrior whose destiny is to vanquish Toyotomi and his supernatural minions. As with previous games in the samurai series, the action unfolds from a third-person perspective as players use a combination of quick melee strikes and magic to defeat an assortment of creatures and boss characters.
What sets Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams apart from earlier installments is the ability to switch between characters at any time. Soki will be paired with different allies during the course of his journeys, each with distinct abilities and moves. Players have the option to issue basic AI commands using the directional pad, such as ordering an ally to wait, follow, attack, or defend, or to take direct control of the character by pressing the shoulder button. Each duo will be able to perform special team-up attacks together, and with five playable heroes in total, a number of combinations are possible. Dawn of Dreams also features the largest environments in an Onimusha game to date, encouraging players to revisit completed stages to search for additional items.