Back in the late 1990s and early 00s, I was very much heavily into all things Ghost in the Shell. The movie, the manga, the TV miniseries, the art style, and the crazy robotics. You name it, I ate it up. It didn’t even have to be Ghost in the Shell; so long as it came close or paid homage to Mamoru Oshii, I followed like a hungry dog, a transformation that ultimately led me to picking up this little one-shot game from Bungie West called Oni.
It’s a third person action-adventure game that blends gunplay, exploration, and hand-to-hand combat as players help Konoko (who is not too far off design-wise and name-wise from Motoko) strike back against the Orwellian government known as the Syndicate. She’ll sneak around and break enemy’s necks with her killer assassin moves. She strafe around corners and fire at goons with a multitude of weapons: handguns, rifles, special energy weapons, and more. And the story unfolds via in-game cutscenes. At the time, it was a very impressive game. It felt dauntingly large and yours to do whatever with.
I first saw Oni at a friend’s house, and it was basically the tutorial level that teaches you the punches and kicks of things and then the very first mission, which has Konoko clearing out a Syndicate warehouse and eliminating a mole within their operations. I remember now, upon seeing it, just being wowed by the fact that it was–despite obviously following a linear path–pretty much up to the player to clear out the warehouse as they pleased. This I liked. Exploration and freedom is always good, a trend that the PlayStation 2 will continue to push later on with games like Grand Theft Auto 3 and Persona 3. Also, ammo is pretty scarce on Konoko’s first foray into enemy terrority so she had to rely more on punches and kicks and deadly neck-breaking flips to weaken the enemy. Having only experienced then Dark Cloud as an action-adventure battle system, this one in Oni was fast-paced and nerve-inducing. Though it did take some time to master, learning how to block and move around an enemy’s attack.
Graphics then were top-notch. Top of the notch. A notch at its toppest. Now…eh, not so much. I mean, there was a serious lack of texture throughout:
So yeah, the game’s pretty ugly. But the fun factor was high. Guess that’s enough ying/yang for me.
Truthfully, I don’t recall ever getting far into the game. Maybe five or six missions and that’s it. No real reason is jumping out to me as to why I stopped, and I guess at some point I traded it in for, most likely, a measly lump of store credit. And yet…I miss it.
I dunno. I think if I spy it in a bargain bin for $5.00 or less, I might have to get it again.
GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.
Oni is weirdly nostalgic for me, a reminder of those weird early PS2 times.
Think I rented it at the time. I didn’t get far in it either, but you can probably put that down to it being a bad game. If you were to actually go back to it, it would probably be unplayable.
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