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Oni (PlayStation 2) artwork

Oni (PlayStation 2) review

"In fact, this was the first game where I've actually had to use the R3 and L3 buttons. Running and jumping is easy enough, but when it comes to maneuvering, you're screwed. The camera doesn't help this either, as it always seems to be in the wrong place."

The Great PC gamemaker Bungie, along with Rockstar Games, brings to us the Vision that is Oni. Oni is an anime-influenced platformer much like Fighting Force for the PSX. It mixes the cyberpunk elements of The Matrix, along with the cutting edge anime style of Ghost in the Shell. The story follows special forces member Vixen Konoko and her struggles to bring down an evil syndicate, as well as to discover who she is. And much like the anime Ghost in the Shell, Oni's ending is bizarre and leaves you staggering in thought.

Graphics: The graphic quality in Oni is above par for even most of the other PS2 games. Set in rich anime textures, the game blazes on at a steady pace without skipping a note. Firefights break out between 12 people and not one bit of slowdown is shown. The hand-to-hand fights offer a few spectacular moves that will make your jaw drop (such as breaking an enemy's arm and using the weapon in his hand to kill another enemy). Motion capturing must have been done to do several of these effects, and you'll thank the creators for making the battles even that more personal. The lighting effects are spectacular, evident even more when an electric weapon is set off. Oni has Some of the best explosions and lighting effects for the PS2 to date, lagging slightly behind Starwars: Starfighter and Onimusha. The only problem I had had was the repetitiveness of the background textures. Every level seems as though it was built out of the same textures as the last, leaving for some lack-luster environments. This perhaps is only a slight distraction from the game.

Sound: Much as you might expect, Oni features the normal techno fare of the cyberpunk era. The same beat greets you nearly level after level, leaving you either sick of the game or turning off the volume and playing other music in the background. Sound effects, thank god, were done much better. Faces shattering and bones breaking are done with awesome crunching sounds, as well as the dull thud of punching someone in the gut. Gun sounds are quite nice, but some will just get on your nerves. The voice acting in this game is horrible, but does little to distract the player from moving on. In fact, the voice acting is so cheesy it's funny at times, which brought me to wonder if it was put in there on purpose.

Gameplay/Control: The premise of the fighting system in Oni is quite fun. With the mere different press of the directional pad you can perform at least 40 different hand-to-hand combat moves. And you'll need every trick in your arsenal. Some enemies can actually only be hurt by making the right combos. Gunfights become rather troublesome as the sites for the weapons are small and hard to use. Along with your moves arsenal, you have at your disposal backflips, crouches, cartwheels, and numerous other acrobatic feats. This makes the game even more like The Matrix. The basic game itself plays like a Tomb Raider game: mindless roaming and door puzzles. At times this gets frustrating and makes you want to quit playing. Controls don't help this equation, either. It seems that Rockstar Games tried to put too many commands into the PS2 controller. In fact, this was the first game where I've actually had to use the R3 and L3 buttons. Running and jumping is easy enough, but when it comes to maneuvering, you're screwed. The camera doesn't help this either, as it always seems to be in the wrong place. Overall, the control of this game lacks ease of playability.

Overall: Even with my love of Bungie and every game they do, I have to gripe with Oni. Although the premise is cool and the game is very challenging (the end is near-impossible), Oni seems to be a big letdown. Although not a horrible game at all, it should be a rental first. If you do have the urge to buy this after renting, more power to you. Although not a great game, Oni ranks as a decent action platform game and provides enough challenge to keep you coming back. In my truly honest opinion, Oni is a decent game designed at the more hardcore gamer. It is for this reason that I give this game the average score of 75.


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Community review by johnnythm (Date unavailable)

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zippdementia posted November 10, 2008:

Another 0 score. It's supposed to be a 7.5

I actually agree with that, for the most part. i might drop it to a 6, myself. The game had major flaws in the graphics department. I will rarely get down on a game for poor graphics, but I will come down HARD on a game for poor graphical design, and Oni's got that in spades.

The textureless levels were particularly annoying. Which one? Every single fsking one.

There were also some problems in getting the moves to work. Not the usual "this combo is hard" problems. Just your basic "controls suck" problem.
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zippdementia posted August 16, 2012:

Wow, I just found this randomly today and was going to point out... well... what I pointed out 4 years ago. Same comment, though; the score is supposed to be 7. I'd probably put Oni at a 4, not a 6. I was being much too kind.
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clementgoh posted March 17, 2020:

Yes it deserves a 6

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