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Oni

Developer: Bungie Software | Publisher: Rockstar Games
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 01/28/01 | Genre: Action

Bungie and Rockstar have teamed up to bring the action game Oni to the Playstation 2. So how is the game? Keep reading to find out!

Oni is essentially what Winback could have been. It features similar gameplay, but offers a much more extensive control scheme. The game centers around a young girl name Konoko. Konoko is an agent in an organization known as the TCTF. The TCTF is a unit run by the world coalition government that is responsible for crushing rebellions and crime organizations. Konoko's best friend is an SLD or "simulated life doll" named Shinatama. Shinatama is specially linked to Konoko and feels everything Konoko does and sees what she sees.

After completing her training, Konoko is selected for a mission to investigate a group known as "The Syndicate". The Syndicate leader seems to have a connection with Konoko, but exactly what that connection is, is up to the player to find out for themselves. As the game progresses Konoko discovers that she can no longer trust the government she is working for.

The graphics in Oni are a bit strange. On one hand, the structures and everything look nice and the characters are all well animated, so one would assume the graphics are great. However, upon closer observation, one discovers just how bland the environments really are. Most levels feature a very small variety of colors, including a dull blue, gray, and black. So while the graphics are nice, they alone, are not enough to keep the player entertained.

The control scheme in Oni is fairly complex, but with a little patience, you will gain better control over Konoko. Part of the reason it is so complex is the sheer number of actions you can perform in the game. Konoko can flip, tumble, and cartwheel her way through the dull levels, and also pick up weapons, items, and take down baddies in various ways. All these actions are packed on to the PS2 controller in one way or another.

The sound in the game is fairly unnoticeable...at least in the way of music. When there was music it was usually played softly in the background, but once in awhile it will blare and catch you off guard. As far as things besides music, well, character voices are all done well. I especially enjoyed listening to Konoko taunt enemies before beating them to a pulp. The other effects, such as gunfire and footsteps were all pretty average. Nothing to get excited about.

Oni is a fairly good game, but it is not without it's faults. The most annoying of which was the incredibly dull level design. Running through several stages filled with nothing but black and gray is enough to frustrate even the calmest of players. The levels were not always just dull, some were very poorly designed. I can remember throwing down my controller more than just a few times because of jumping to my death, half the time I couldn't even tell there was a ledge in front of me. Another problem was the obvious cheap shots that some enemies took at you. Often times you never saw the enemy that killed you. Needless to say, this got fairly irritating after awhile.

Overall Oni is a good game, especially if you're a fan of the genre. It offers a great challenge, and with three difficulty levels, you could be playing this one for awhile. That is, of course, only if you don't mind playing through the lame levels again. If you're not a fan, then you probably won't want to buy this game, but it is worth a rental.

By Ryan Schaefer - 08/01/00
ESRB Details: Animated Violence
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Screenshots for Oni

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