Sunday, January 19, 2014

Unsung Games: Oni

Bungie's Destiny is one of the big video game titles that is scheduled for this year, and for good reason, Bungie has won many fans the world over with their extremely popular Halo series so a good amount of people are eager to see what the studio's next project will bring.Despite being known for these first-person shooter titles, my favorite title developed by Bungie was a 2001 action game named Oni. This anime-inspired game brought a good deal of innovation by blending third-person shooting with close-quarters combat.Oni was a released on the PC and PS2, and while it is fun on both platforms, Ibelieve that the PC version is superior. Indeed, Oni was my favorite PC game of that year and one of my favorite PC games in general.Why is this my favorite Bungie game? Let's dive-kick in and find out!

The storyline of Oni takes place after the year 2032, and much of planet Earth is uninhabitable. All the world's nations have combined into organization known as the World Collation Government. Peace is kept in the cities through the Technological Crimes Task Force (TCTF) and it is this task force that the main character Konoko works for.Muro, a terrorist who leads the Syndicate organization has plans to bring about a new age to the world, but doing so will lead to catastrophic results for humanity. Konoko fights the forces of the Syndicate and along the way discovers the truth about the world's governments as well as her past and true nature. The story is an engaging science-fiction tale that stars a strong female protagonist who you are rooting for the whole way through. Towards the end of the game you actually get to decide the way the game's final act unfolds and this control over the story was another thing that made Oni an excellent game for its time. The only downside to the story of this game is that it ends without a real resolution. The main conflict of the story is over, but the consequences of how the story ends leave you yearning for more. Despite this, I greatly enjoy Oni's storyline and it was a fantastic take on stories like the classic anime Ghost In The Shell.

Konoko Is Outnumbered, But Not Outmatched!

Whether you prefer to beat your opponents with your fists or you like blasting them with a variety of firearms, Oni has you covered.Throughout the game you acquire a vast array of moves for Konoko to bring the pain. Stringing together special kicks and punch-combos against your foes is good fun. Whenever you want to take on enemies from a distance however the weapons of Oni are equally fun to use. You start with a standard pistol, but soon you can fire off plasma rifles and eventually obtain the devastating "mercury bow".Combat is challenging and engaging in Oni and the later stages of the game really test your skills as many powerful Syndicate Strikers await you. In addition to the game's main combat, Oni also features a good amount of platforming. Konoko is very agile and there sequences where you must slide, dash and leap your way to your objectives. One especially memorable chapter of the game has you chasing a cyber ninja across the city rooftops!LAN-based multiplayer was promised as one of Oni's features and while it ultimately was not included in thefinal product I feel that it isn't that big of a loss since the single player game is so strong.Between the fisticuffs, gunplay, and acrobatics, Oni is just a blast to play.

Konoko, A Powerful Sci-Fi Heronie

Oni also boasted some real impressive animation. All the different interactions of the characters have is for the most part quite smooth and Konoko's fighting moves are very fluid. While some of the environments lacked extra detail the overall visual presentation was altogether very well done. Last, but not least Oni also sported an awesome soundtrack that mixed fast-paced techno with traditional Japanese-style music. Bungie created an excellent action game with Oni, but sadly the game did not meet with the same popularity as some of their other titles and the studio moved on with their successful Halo series.I do enjoy Halo, and while I'm still unsure about how I feel about Destiny I am sure many people will love it. Still, Oni remains my favorite Bungie title and I hope that someday this fantastic, over-looked game gets a release or even a spiritual sequel. That would be most grand!
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