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Oni Review

publisher: Take 2 Interactive
developer: Bungie West
genre: Action Adventure

PII-266, 64MB RAM, 500MB HDD, 3D accelerator
ESRB rating: T

release date: Jan 28, 01
» All About Oni on ActionTrip

Let's face it. We haven't seen many fighting games on the PC, let alone successful fighting games. Yes, we had Fighting Force and Mucky Foot's Urban Chaos, but I guess the PC industry is in need of games that offer some serious ass whooping. Anyone with half a brain can see that there was and still is a gap in the market and that the PC industry lacks more fighting games.

Enter Bungie West with their PS2/PC anime style "looking to score big on the Japanese market" fighting game, Oni, and now PC gamers can finally try out a beat 'em up which is not a PS1 port. Although, in all fairness, it does rather seem like a mix of PS1 and PS2 technology ported for the PC.

In the year 2032, Big Brother is alive and kicking. The World Coalition Government has annexed 80% of all nations and tracks your every move. While those in the cities maintain an acceptable level of comfort at the expense of freedom, the poorest masses exist at the fringes of a toxic wasteland and at the mercy of the Syndicate - a nefarious web of criminals run by Boss Muro (Another kick ass Japanese name).

Players are cast in the role of Konoko - a young girl unaware of her past and her destiny. But she's no ordinary rodent.... Oh no, wait. That's "Holy Grail." Er, I mean that girl can kick some serious ass! She's a member of CTF, Special Forces assigned to fight organized crime with any means necessary. And as is the case with most anime style Japanese stories you'll see a lot of spectacular, yet tragic deaths, family reunions, betrayals and all that other fancy stuff that makes me, um... watch those great tentacle-inspired adult cartoons on my 24h pay-per-view porn channel...

So, the story's basically a Japanese rip off no matter how you look at it, and half way through I almost got sick from all the evident sucking up to Sony. To further collaborate my belief that Oni should've been called "PS2 Brownnosing Extraordinaire" Bungie West has decided to leave out a save game option, which made me so pissed off a few times, I wanted to send a HDD to sorta let them know this is supposed to be a PC game as well... The lack of a honest-to-goodness save game option is OK and it can even make the gameplay more exciting, but only if you have enough time to sit for countless hours and play disregarding any work or a living thing that might want to establish contact with you. And your life consists of getting down on your knees and hysterically begging your parents to give you more money to buy a new game. However, if you think there is more to life than sitting behind the PC and cursing your ill faith because the droid pushed you off the ledge in Oni, you would appreciate a save game option thrown in.

Graphically, Oni falls way behind titles like: Alice or Rune, or even FAKK2. The environments are plain, unimaginative, and full of grayish tones... It's not like every environment is predominantly gray, but they all seem so murky and blurred; like looking at id's early work or something... The models are colorful enough, but my overall impression of the environments was this visualization of a grayish, and blocky world lacking any sort of vibrant level design (kinda ruins it for ya, ya know). If we take Alice as being the prime example of how a colorful and artistic 3D world should look like, then we can take the Oni world as being the exact opposite (or there about). What was it about the Oni visuals exactly that irritated me so much? I know it weren't the models, because they are well animated and interesting enough (they even have sufficient polys), but the textures are so dog poor I even though about scanning a few objects and e-mailing the .BMPs to Bungie. I mean, just look at the texture work in Quake 3: Team Arena, and then try to compare Oni with it. Also, is Oni utilizing the power of 32-bit rendering? Hell no! It looks the same in 16-bit and 32-bit. You just can't look kindly on these things.

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7.1   Good

It's a fighting game, and the fighting is all right. So's the shooting. Excellent AI;

It lacks a whole lot of depth; it's linear and it's full of controversial console drawbacks, like the quality of textures or the lack of a proper PC save option.


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