ONINAKI – Review
Follow Genre: Action, RPG
Developer: Tokyo RPG Factory
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PC, Switch, PS4
Tested on: PS4

ONINAKI – Review

Site Score
6.5
Good: Original story with nice looking graphics
Bad: Loose threads and wonky dodging
User Score
7.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)

There aren’t a lot of games about death and the after-life. ONINAKI does actually bring it in quite a beautiful way that makes you think. ONINAKI is a new RPG with a lot of action where you will take on the role of Kagachi who helps keep the balance between the living world and the after-life. ONINAKI was developed by Tokyo RPG Factory and published by Square Enix. We got a chance to review the game and take on the role of a watcher.

Story

When a loved one dies, you must not mourn them. Since if a person who died has regrets, they will become lost, and those who are lost cannot be reincarnated. That is what Kagachi got told when his parents passed away. Since he was still a child he didn’t fully understand however, when he grew up, he finally understood. As he became one of the people who deal with the lost, a watcher. Watchers maintain the order between the Living World and the Beyond and rescue losts who have gone of the path.

When Kagachi was trying to deal with his parents’ death as a little boy, he ran into a girl. She seemed to recognize him but wondered why he was so small. He didn’t understand what was happening and before he knew it, she disappeared again. Now many years later, he runs into her again during his duties as a watcher. She, however, doesn’t recognize him this time and he starts to question her. She tells him she is being hunted and not long after, her words get proven as she gets attacked. After being slammed away, Kagachi manages to magically heal the girl and they decide that sticking together would be the best strategy. As she wants to beat her attacker and cure him and Kagachi can apparently heal her. He then names her Linne as she forgot her own name.

In ONINAKI you will mostly follow Kagachi as he performs his Watcher duties dealing with the lost ones. The main story is mostly about the little girl Linne and the bad guy that attacked her. It takes a while for the story to progress, but it never feels slow as there are little side stories happening the entire time. Sometimes it does feel like there is a lot of unexplained parts still included that aren’t addressed at all, certainly parts that have to do with the lore of the game. Some parts from the side stories also happen without explanation and that leaves you confused.

Graphics

ONINAKI looks pretty good graphic wise, the little 3D models for the characters are very detailed even though they are pretty small. The backgrounds are also well designed from the city streets to the grasslands outdoor. It seems that the developers decided to make the cutscenes the same 3D style as well, even though you might expect them to do animated scenes from the cover art. The close-up 3D scenes are still good but sometimes lack a little bit of that extra detail.

Attacks look pretty cool with specials having cool effects. Your Daemon looks like a spirit that is floating behind you. The effect that takes place over the entire region you are in when you go to the Beyond is also really cool. Certainly, when you notice that your Daemon is also more visible and other things pop out that you couldn’t see before. Enemies have this fantasy look but still quite an obvious look like supernatural beings.

Sound

The music in ONINAKI is quite great and has this typical RPG feel to it. When you go into the spirit world, it kind of goes back to the background, to give more this “silence” and eeriness feeling.  The voice acting in ONNINAKI is a sort of half voice acting, there are only certain words that will be said out loud. These words are usually the most important part of a sentence and express what the character is saying. It is a little bit odd that not entire characters are voice acted but this is certainly also an effective way to give a little bit of voice to the characters.

Gameplay

ONINAKI is an Action RPG where you will take on the role of Kagachi, who is a watcher. Watchers maintain the order between the Living World and the Beyond. To help them maintain order, Watchers create a bond with a Daemon, which is a lost that got awakened. The Daemons each have their own weapon, which Kagachi, in turn, can use when partnering with them. You will first start with only one Daemon which Kagachi had bonded with when he became a watcher. However, throughout the game, you will find more Daemons which you can then also bond with.

You have a basic attack, what kind depends on the Daemon. Then you also start with one special. In the skill tree, you will be able to use special stones to unlock skills as well as bonuses. Once you unlock a skill, you can assign it to a button of your liking. Only four buttons are available including the basic special button, so you will have to choose when you unlock more than three. For some reason, however, the developers have also decided to put some basic combat things locked behind a skill tree unlock. Such as locking on, turning around while doing an attack. Sadly, even then there are quite a few issues with combat.  “locking on” isn’t actually locking on, you still fire wherever your character is looking at, except that if an enemy that is locked onto is also where your character is looking at, he will get hit for more damage. This isn’t bad but not what you would expect with lock-on, the feature itself is completely missing, which is quite annoying when you run around trying to do far away hits.

Dodging in ONINAKI also seems to have quite a few issues, some Daemons have a jump as a dodge, however even if you jump up to avoid an attack, if it even goes a little bit in the air, you get hit. Nearly every hit an enemy, certainly bosses, can do to you stagger you. This would be okay, if not for one little attack staggering you making it so a multi-attack instantly kills you. The only way to have more chances for avoiding those kinds of attacks is by unlocking the longer dodge skill bonus. It feels like dodging could be made a bit better, to actually give you a chance to dodge.

There are regular enemies, sight stealers, mini-bosses and bosses in ONINAKI. Enemies don’t have a lot of variation so you will come across the same enemies quite often. Sight stealers are also a kind of boss that is harder to beat however when you beat them, you can go to the Beyond without being blind. Mini-Bosses, after encountering them once, you will see them return more often. Bosses are strong bosses that you will have to put quite the effort in to beat. The most effort comes from actually trying to dodge, when dodge doesn’t fully let you dodge. There is, for example, one bot that shoots missiles, if you jump to dodge, all six missiles will hit you since the first staggers you and the others easily hit you.

Manifestation is when you and your Daemon are really in sync. When you activate Manifestation you actually are not able to get staggered and get a lot of more critical hits and damage in. It gives you an incredible bonus but of course only for a limited time. You will have to fight enough enemies to get a high enough percentage to be able to manifest.

Conclusion

ONINAKI is pretty fun but there are quite a few issues with the combat that can be frustrating. The story is pretty great but has quite a few loose threads. The theme of the game can get quite eerie and is quite interesting, it might have been cool had they expended a bit more on the lore. The graphics and music are quite good, even though the voice acting is only partially done. ONINAKI might not be fully worth its retail price, certainly not for hardcore RPG fans, but the story is certainly still worth checking out when there is a sale, or you can just play the demo to find out if you like the game for yourself.

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ONINAKI - Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Theotakutem


The one and only slowqueen! -student multimedia-

1 Comment

  1. Ibuki
    Ibuki
    September 17, 2019, 1:43 am

    I was looking forward to this one, but it seems that the game does have its issues.

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