Imagine if you could marry the adventure and acrobatics of the Tomb Raider games to the martial-arts action found in pure fighting games like Tekken. If you have a clear picture of what that would be like, you've got a handle on Oni from Bungie Studios. It's a third-person-perspective action-adventure fighting game, but with a distinct Japanese animation (anime) flavor.
The story concerns the TCTF (Technology Crimes Task Force) police sometime in the future. Konoko is an operative with a cybernetic uplink to a little girl android named Shintama. She becomes embroiled in the hunt for a criminal named Muro and his hulking bodyguard, and her battles with his thugs rage through office buildings, chemical plants, an airport, and even the TCTF headquarters itself.
It's a simplistic story--high on the melodrama, but perfectly in keeping with its anime intent. Like the story, the action serves that goal as well. Oversized rifles, bizarre rocket launchers, plasma cannons, and freeze guns make up the arsenal, and, should those run out of ammo or get knocked from one's hand, fists and feet complete the set. Konoko can execute a multitude of fairly easy-to-perform flips, combos, and devastating punches and kicks. Combat is fierce and always challenging, yet never dull. And the animations are flawless and fun to watch, while never being overly gory or tasteless. Think of the jaw-dropping combat in The Matrix and you've got a taste of the action in Oni.
The only real flaw is the save-point system used in the game. The game is divvied up into bite-sized chapters, and it automatically saves at the beginning of each one. However, there's little reason not to allow one to save anywhere, and a few of the save points are too far apart. Repeating large sections of the game multiple times becomes a chore and detracts from the game's pace.
If you can get past the repetition, you'll find Oni a refreshing kung-fu alternative to the typical run-and-gun action gaming fare. And you'll find Konoko herself a fascinating protagonist to boot (pun intended). --Andrew S. Bub
- Excellent control system
- Great level design
- Stylish graphics
- High difficulty
- Bad game-saving system
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