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SummaryGreat potential, complete flop.
The GoodOni could've been great, awesome even. Combining three crucial elements (being great graphics, fight moves and a voluptuous female), Oni should have been one of 2001's greatest games, but ultimately, it failed.
Regardless, Oni deserves recognition for being the first mainstream anime-based game for the PC. There have been a few anime games in the past, but none of them are actually widely known.
Also, it warrants some merit on the grounds of its terrific "animesque" 3D engine, which while isn't actually fast, isn't slow either, and definitely looks GORGEOUS. The scenes are definitely believable for an anime game, and the fight moves are very well performed.
The music, rare as it is, is pretty good never-the-less.
The BadOni has two major shortcomings, which are enough to render a potentially great game into a complete mess.
The first is a completely inadequate control system. I consider myself a very able person when it comes to getting the hang of control systems in games (I've never had any troubles with games ranging from Doom to Alice to Unreal Tournament), but Oni's control mechnasims managed to completely baffle me. Difficult to learn as they are, it's nothing compared to how difficult they are to use in a furious combat sequence. This might not have been too bad in itself, but combined with the second problem, the game becomes extremely frustrating.
The second problem is save points. *sigh* Shouldn't the lesson have been learned over the years, especially after Daitakana, which was particularly criticized for its "save crystals" mechanism? This is not a playstation game, and I think that's what the programmers failed to realize - miserably so. Combined with a really unintuitive control system, the lack of quicksave/quickload option in this game makes it completely unbearable to play. A stupid mistake, such as falling off a bridge in the middle of combat (or alternatively overhead-throwing an opponent and falling after him) can, and in fact will, make you go through entire sections over and over and over again.
Bad controls + no quicksave = big no-no.