Mish: Welcome ladies and gents. On this night (or day, depending when you read this), Seph and I are reviewing Bungie's latest 3rd person combat action release, Oni. Personally I am glad to see a female heroine kick some crazy ass and with style and finesse thrown in for good measure.
Sephiroth: Well i certainly won't disagree with you on that point. I really love the idea of Oni. It's about time we get a third person action/shooter with an anime twist. I've been waiting for one of these for a long time. But the idea of a hot chick with guns is certainly nothing new, as we have seen this many many times in another popular series, Tomb Raider.
Mish: Oh for sure, what you say is true. But I have to praise the hand-to-hand combat that truly makes up Oni's gameplay. I was so impressed by the moves the main character Konoko was pulling off that I am sure that I did not use all of them. But, let's scoop down on the storyline behind Oni.
Konoko's styles: the only good thing in Oni?
Sephiroth: Well, Oni takes place sometime around the year 2032 and an organization entitled "The World Coalition Government" has taken over about 80% of the world and keeps track of every single soul. There are still the rich and the poor, and although the rich maintain a certain amount of freedom in the cities, the poor have to settle for toxic wastelands and are enslaved by the Syndicate; criminals run by a someone named Boss Muro. You play Konoko, a young girl who has no idea what her past was like and its your objective to find out what it was as well as save the rest of humanity, sounds like fun eh?
Mish: Fun? Well...hehe, first of all, Konoko was the best drawn character in the entire game. She looked wicked while everyone else looks like stray cats caught in the rain. Trist and I were discussing that the other day, and he said something that made so much sense. He said that it looked as if Bungie spent so much time on Konoko and her detailed moves/animations and rushed through the rest of the game's graphics and other characters' detail without being able to add a lot of detail and variety that might have made the game better.
Sephiroth: True, but the way you can use Konoko in hand-to-hand circumstances is certainly the main thing that i found interesting about Oni--i hardly used the gun, or enjoyed using one anyway. The combat was just really well done. It brought back memories for me from past side scrolling fighting games like Final Fight or Double Dragon. When i went through the tutorial in Oni and did a few moves, i really felt like i was doing some damage. The moves looked totally painful...
Mish: Yeah but you end up searching through levels, trying to find consoles to open doors and you run around a lot Basically the good old 'find the key, open the door' gameplay. The predictability of the game makes these tasks a bit easier, but that easiness is far outweighed by the extreme difficulty in the later levels. The number of Syndicate men who attack you all at once is crazy! Not to mention how everyone looks the damn same--or at least cut from the same cloth.
Sephiroth: Yeah, at certain points during the game you have like 8 Syndicates attacking you and you have 4-5 artillery wielding baddies in the background performing some target practice on your ass. But overall the gameplay was solid enough i suppose...it really wasn't anything exciting but it wasn't too bad--it was smack right in the middle. Its really hard for games to attempt hand-to-hand combat because the moves are limited and people get tired of repeating the moves again. The first few times you do it its really exciting, but it gets repetitive real quick. That's why they had to throw the guns in there, cause there's never a better feeling then picking up a new weapon and seeing what it can do....I know you already kinda commented on the graphics and level design, but did you have any other comments about the style or their quality?
"Konoko [was] the only thing that was well designed with the rest being plain old crap"
Mish: Basically the graphics were ok. The game is not really demanding so I was able to crank up the rez to make it look better. Zero texturing at some points and so-so texturing at other points. If they were going for an anime look, let's just say i've seen anime environments way more detailed than this.
Sephiroth: Exactly..although i really enjoyed the smooth frames per second i get in this game, i was really disappointed at how poorly the levels were designed. I don't think i saw one curve in any of the levels. Everything seems boxy and boring. Even the colours used were boring--lots of grey's and browns. I totally agree with Trist's comment that you mentioned earlier concerning Konoko being the only thing that was well designed with the rest being plain old crap. Did you notice the nasty clipping when Konoko was close to certain objects? If you stood close to a wall and looked at the wall dead on, you could see the other side! Even if that WAS on purpose, that's bad design...
Mish: Actually, I have to be honest:I used those wall breaches to my advantage. If I knew that the room on the other side of a wall was my next destination, I would check it out to see how many Syndicates were there and where they were positioned. hehehehe!! Other than the great combat moves and the design of Konoko, the only other thing of worth was the music when I noticed it. At times, i would be parading around some rooftop and suddenly I would notice that music was playing. Either I was so determined to whip this game that I did not hear or the music was really just a part time thing on and off.
Sephiroth: I noticed that too...you would jump on a block, the music would start. Jump back off, and the music stopped! I thought the sound in general was very average...I wasn't surprised at any point in this game. There seemed to be no effort made to stimulate me as i went further into the game. I just felt i was repeating the same level over and over again. Although i must admit, i really liked the sounds of hitting a person; BANG, ZOOM!, it really sounded like it hurt. That's probably the only thing that put a smile on my face in this game...and the second half of the game is certainly superior to the first.
Mish: It is sad because the game is stuck in this middleground...not great but not horrible either. It sauntered up to the table, flaunting its wares but produced nothing of immense value to the gaming community in my opinion. And this is a problem that can be seen in a lot of games nowadays. The anime community might certainly like it, but other than that...i was disappointed for sure. This is one of those games i'm not going to pick up again either--so much for replayability.
Sephiroth: I don't think i will play it again myself. I think its one of those one-shot games; you play it, say "alrighty...", and move on. The hype on this game was extremely overrated and unfortunately it didn't end up being all that great.....just average. I just can't say that Oni completely satisfied my needs for a nice anime 3rd person shooter, but it definitely gave it a shot. It just missed the bulls eye by quite a margin...