The Good: Nice anime cut scenes, lots of levels, smooth combat animations
The Bad: Clumsy and cumbersome controls, boring levels, lame objectives, no mid-level save, unfair checkpoint placement, flat ugly textures
Oni was a very hyped anime style game back in the day. This game was made by Rockstar before getting into the 3D Grand Theft Autos and other games. This game has a lot of potential, but is flawed in a lot of ways that make the game more boring and frustrating than bad. With that said, the only redeeming quality are the good-looking combat animations and challenge.
Right out of the gate you will notice that the controls are completely upside and backwards. All the combat moves are on the shoulder buttons. Why in the world they thought of this is beyond me. You actually don't really use the face buttons all that much. This make jumping, fighting, and shooting clumsy and cumbersome and you can't change the controls to something more natural. These are just some of the worst action/adventure controls I have ever used. The actual combat is fine, but executing these moves is a pain. I felt like I was stumbling over myself because I had to think about the controls. These just aren't natural! Jumping with R1, L2 and L1 are kick and punch, and you pick up items with R3. What?! I felt like I was trying to solve a Rubix cube, not play a game.
Secondly is the exploration factor. The levels are boring. They all look pretty much the same with flat boring textures and the design is confusing and labyrinthine in some levels. There's no direction and your compass is useless. The bar gets smaller as you get near an objective, but if you are two flights down it will act like you're standing right next to it. Enemies are stupid and clumsy, boss fights are frustrating, and the game just can't compensate its own design with the clumsy controls. I can't tell you how tired I got after just three levels of finding this colored console to open same colored door over and over again.
The story isn't really worth sticking around the 14 levels either. The anime cut scenes are nice, but you probably won't even get through this slog of a game. I tried really hard to keep going, but there was never a change in pace. It didn't help that there is no mid-level saving and the checkpoint placement is unfair. If you quit in the middle of a level you have to start all over. There are just a lot of annoying things with this game, but even if it was flawless you still have the fact that the game is just boring and not very fun.When it is all said and done only the hardest core of anime fans will stick around until the end. You really had to have played this when it first came out, then come back for nostalgic purposes. The game is just clumsy and boring, but has so much potential if only the developers spent more time on the game. As is stand, I really can't recommend this to anyone.
(Based on PS2 version)