Review by michinoku

"Horribly underrated;a gem of a game with a few flaws..."

Well, well well. THe PS2 finally came, and coming with it was Oni. When I first heard about it, it was only on PC, and it was primarily a brawler. I was hoping that it would make it to a console, since it seemed that it would fit better there. I was right. After playing a demo of this game on PC, and buying the game on PS2, I find that this game works much better on a console. The story is pretty generic, someone awaking to discover a new identity, and a bunch of hidden secrets, and all of that. The graphics are So-so: they don't really take the texture power of the PS2 to it's limits, but they certainly do have some cool settings, designed by real architects. THe sound is pretty good, although the music is nothing to write home about. The control is the big issue of the game, and why it is given such a low score-the gameplay is affected by this, and can swerve either way depending on how well you adapt.
Now, the specifics.
Story 7/10
Generic cyberpunk sort of thing, with a few interesting twists. It's execution is better then the concept.
Graphics 8/10
Nothing too spectacular, but I do find that the backgrounds, while bland, have a certain feel of realism. Everything is placed well, and it's all good fun when you knock someone off a ledge, and can watch them plummet 3 stories to their death.
Sound 8/10
THe music is generic techno, and only gets started when there is a big action sequence, or during a cutscene. The sound effects are pretty well done, but nothing spectacular like in previous console games like Medal of Honor.
One thing that Oni features, (and the scapegoat for all of it's low reviews), is the control. The use of the two analog sticks is a new and radically different concept, and is something more akin to a PC game then a console one. However, I ended up finding that it worked quite well, after some getting used to. ANd the use of the trigger buttons for main control also takes a bit of adjustment, but I found it pretty comfortable after awhile. There were times when I went to jump across a ledge, and in angst pressed the X button, which caused me to plummet to my death. And since it's not DVD format, the load times can be a bit frustrating. The control is the main reason why people don't like this game-but since I bought it, there wasn't any way I could just drop it, and so I adapted. Survival of the man who just spent 50 bucks, I guess.
This is the big issue. The gameplay can be seriously deterred if you dislike the controls, but it can be remarkably entertaining if you like them. While there are two levels of gameplay, the gunfighting and the hand to hand combat, they both are handled pretty well. The targeting is a bit frustrating when there are gunfights, but with moves like Konoko has, who needs gunfights when you can break necks? Some of the fight scenes can be pretty fun, although there are times when distant snipers intervene, and it starts to get annoying. Also, there is little to do when you are surrounded...but other than that, it's pretty fun. THere are some scenes when fighting that just look too cool to be true, such as when you and another enemy run at each other and kick each other out of the sky. It's really fun.

If you are closeminded, then rent this game. If you are openminded, you still might consider renting it first. It's plenty long enough to withstand a rental and then a purchase, and since it's got two endings, you might find yourself playing for awhile. You have to either have a) a lot of patience or b) money for a stream of new controllers, but if you have either (or both, I accept cash), you'll find an interesting little game that no one loved.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 03/06/01, Updated 03/06/01

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