Reviews - Updated on April 9, 2022

The developers at Tokyo RPG Factory are probably goths or emo without exception – they really love to tell sad stories. In I am Setsuna, shrouded in snowy melancholy, the titular girl made a bleak journey to sacrifice herself to save the world. And Oninaki begins with a scene in which a still small protagonist named Kagachi stands in a daze near the bed on which his dead parents lie. When Kagachi grew up, he became an observer (The Watcher), called to help lost souls through the process of reincarnation. And already 15 minutes after the start, he kills (at their own request) the parents of a dead boy so that they reunite with him …

Everyone will die, but I will remain

The fact is that in the world of Oninaki everything is built on the belief in life after death and that the souls of the dead do not disappear, but are embodied in others. There are also lost souls – people have died, but something else keeps them in this world. And observers just help them find peace in order to complete the process of reincarnation.

This is directly reflected in the gameplay – all the way we freely switch between the world of the living and the world of the dead, where you can meet some kind of ghost, listen to his story, fulfill some request (find a memorabilia, take him to relatives, and so on). This mechanic seems to be taken directly from Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms, but there was no such concentration of drama, sadness and downright black longing.

The story of Kagachi develops according to the principle “Everyone will die, but I will stay!”. Throughout the game, he loses loved ones, kills friends (again at their request), faces betrayal and deceit. And even he himself is forced to defend the traitors who treacherously seized the throne – so to speak, he chooses the lesser of two evils.

Forbidden tricks

As a result, the concentration of darkness, which happens to beautifully drawn and stylishly dressed boys and girls, reaches such a level that one wants to shout to the authors: come on, enough already! Oninaki game review

It’s called “Older kids help a younger kid.”

But then they play a scene where Kagati stands in front of the ghosts of the civilians he killed, among whom there are women and children, and a boy comes out to him, addressing us as an observer – they say, there the dog was left tied near the house, please take care about her. And here’s how to be indignant if a lump came up to the throat? The authors of Oninaki throughout the game unceremoniously beat you below the belt, kill loved ones, beautiful girls, children, dogs – and, admittedly, they achieve the desired effect …

Sit down and listen

They achieve it, among other things, by not forcing us to explore ornate dungeons for a long time and get stuck in random skirmishes on the global map. The whole game is actually divided into fairly short acts-events and investigations. We received information and went to look for a preacher who sows confusion among the people, or, for example, a maniac who kidnaps women.

And there – a couple of locations filled with enemies, a long scene with dialogues, a fight with the boss, another scene and dialogues, and then returning through the portal to the capital for a new task and dialogues.

Side quests related to the requests of ghosts are either inscribed in the plot, or run in the background and do not distract from the main events in any way. I repeat, the whole game is focused on a sad, emotional story.

Oninaki game review

It is safe to cross to the other side only in special places.

Brickwork, daemons!

Naturally, we have to constantly fight. But the fights, which is surprising for games from Tokyo RPG Factory, and for JRPGs in general, do not unfold in turn-based mode, but in real time, most of all reminiscent of Diablo-style hack and slash.

At the same time, they also reflected the central idea of ​​lost souls. The fact is that all the way Kagati is synchronized with the so-called Daemons (Daemon). In the world of Oninaki, this is not what you think, but those very lost souls, only powerful and lost so much that they don’t really remember anything about themselves. Each such daemon, being chosen, gives us weapons and skills, changing our fighting style – someone allows you to famously wield daggers, someone puts on slower but powerful axes and halberds, one “daemoness” opens access to a crossbow, and her colleague endows us with real rocket launchers. There is even a wolf on which you can fight on horseback.

The daemons themselves are present on the battlefield mainly as additional animations and strike during the application of one of their signature attacks. The more often we run and fight with them, the faster they pump, collecting soul stones – for them you can open new passive and active skills in the branch of this “demon”. They invested enough – and the overall level of the partner increased. By the way, among the abilities there are also memories that shed light on the past of the daemon – all this, of course, is also very sad stories that are served in stylish videos.

Oninaki game review

Many bosses have to be fought several times – this is explained by the plot.

Called to death

On the one hand, the battles in Oninaki look very dynamic and spectacular. Animations and effects of special skills make you constantly press the button to take screenshots. And when we activate the local rage mode or are transported to the world of the dead … On the other hand, there are a lot of enemies, they appear in fairly closed locations, and even in two dimensions at once – we are often forced to fight first in the world of the living, and then move to the world of the dead for a new portion of battles. As a result, you often have to hold down the button no longer for taking screenshots, but for attacks, remembering the skills of “clicking” and periodically cursing with the system, squealing something about sticky keys.

I did not find much point in changing daemons in the party and using those who are more suitable for this situation. Almost all the way I ran in tandem with the first girl Aisha given out in the story, pumped her over and even experienced serious problems just a couple of times even in the Maniac difficulty mode. True, for this I had to use all the opportunities that the game gives – to select weapons for my daemon, and then further improve it in the city and experiment there with additional effects that soul stones inserted into blades give.

But the boss battles were definitely successful. There are many of them, they are all different and with their own tactics. But this is understandable. The main thing here is that in fights with them there is no longer any talk of calling: you need to competently, seizing the moment, apply combat skills and get out of the way in time. It turns out not easy, dynamic and effective.

Evasion plays a special role in boss fights.

***

Of course, not everyone will like the departure from the traditions of Japanese RPGs (I’m primarily talking about the lack of turn-based battles), as well as a small amount of loot – especially since there are questions about the combat mechanics themselves. However, the style, music, picture, and most importantly, the story itself, sad and very tragic – all this in Oninaki personally attracted me so much that I definitely wanted to get to the final credits. Yes, the authors too unceremoniously put pressure on emotions, but in my case they, I repeat, achieved a spiritual response.

Pros: a fascinating, albeit very sad, story; developed characters; spectacular and dynamic battles; an interesting system of companions that change the available weapons and combat style; dynamic and challenging boss fights; everything, and especially the characters, looks beautiful; atmospheric music.

Cons: many fights are completed with a simple click; at the normal level of difficulty, the battles get boring – it’s better to play hardcore right away; little interesting loot.

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