Analysis of Oninaki, a role-playing game in the style of old genre productions

Written by Kamran Haider

Those responsible for, first, I am Setsuna and, later, Lost Sphear, present us their new work. A journey in the role of role-playing game that recalls the old productions of the genre of several decades ago. Oninaki analysis.

I am Setsuna and Lost Sphear are two irrefutable proofs that Square Enix will continue to support one of its most beloved genres and that so many joys it has given them throughout its long history. The RPG Classic-cut no longer living its golden age, much less, but those who grew up delighting us with titles of the caliber of Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana and many others, we are more than willing to continue to enjoy these productions … at least as long as they keep appearing.

Which is the most recent to land on PS4, Switch and PC? Well, Oninaki, a title created again by the Tokyo RPG Factory studio that tells us a simple but quite careful story in which death rises as the central theme. The main protagonist is Kagachi, a young man who is orphaned as a child. However, in the world in which he lives, he firmly believes in reincarnation … a belief that, sometime later, he sees how indeed a certainty is.

When leaving the bodies, the deceased can be reincarnated, but some lose their way by some circumstances or others. Precisely Kagachi, as well as other characters around him such as Mayura or his father Kushi, are dedicated precisely to that, to help the so-called Lost Souls so they can reincarnate by finding their way back from the other world. Like Watchers, which is how these people are appointed to watch over the soul of the dead, they must fulfill such a complicated mission. And for this, it is necessary to go beyond the reality in which they live and also travel in the world beyond.

Oninaki, adventures, and fighting between two parallel worlds

With this very interesting background, an adventure happens that has all the basic ingredients traditionally found in this type of production. Of course, in the case of Oninaki, the developers have varied somewhat the formula that they embodied both in I am Setsuna and in Lost Sphear (his two previous works). Exactly, because if both productions had chosen to integrate a turn-based combat system, in this case, they wanted to introduce battles in real-time. That is, we are facing an Action RPG of those of a lifetime in the purest Zelda style, to cite a very recognizable example.

As always when swaps of this type occur, there will be users who complain about this change and others who receive it with open arms: it is a matter of taste. In my opinion, this change gives us one of lime and another of sand, since although the real-time confrontations speed up the development of the adventure in general, the combat system suffers from the fluidity and spectacularity necessary to emerge. Do not misunderstand me. It is not that it is bad and makes every battle soporific, fortunately, it is not the case. But it shows that it is an area that developers do not dominate and have implemented a system that fulfills its mission and that also has its grace due to the presence of the Daemons (of which I am going to talk to you right now), but also It has a lot of room for improvement.adventures

No surprise, but the adventure is quite varied and attractive

. What are the Daemons? Well, these are lost souls that we can recruit as we move forward so that they fight alongside us automatically. And best of all, everyone has their own weapons and attributes, which modify even the way we fight our character as well as their special attacks and other skills. In the beginning, we can only use one, but as we move forward we have the opportunity to recruit a small army of these very special companions, being able to alternate the presence of each other (up to four at a time) to modify our skills and style in full fight.

The presence of these Daemons is so crucial and prominent in the course of the adventure that it is even possible to improve their skills independently by collecting special items. Each Daemon has its own skill tree, and some of them are very useful on the battlefield. And not only that, since we can also get to know your past through certain memories that are scattered across the stage.

As in any adventure of this guide, we must also perform other tasks and functions throughout our trip. And one of the most important is the exploration, being able to travel a vast world … that is divided into two: that of the living and that of the dead. We can alternate at any time the presence in one and the other, although in order to have a complete view of the world from beyond it is necessary to liquidate certain monsters. This mechanic that plays with the alternation between two parallel worlds is not new and, in fact, so by boat soon a multitude of titles that already minted it come to mind, including the classic Zelda: A Link to the Past. But, despite not being a novel idea, it is fair to point out that it brings enough interest and freshness to development.

The conversations and interactions with other secondary characters also have their role, being able to engage in dialogue with a number of characters. These conversations take place in Japanese with subtitles in several languages ​​… among which Spanish is not found, something that has not caught me by surprise gave the previous precedents with the works of this study. Fortunately and as often happens in many of the titles of this same style, it is perfectly possible to move forward and overcome the adventure even though we do not manage well with English (or French or even German), but it is clear that We will lose interesting details related to the plot.

All this, plus the existence of other elements of the role such as the collection of objects, the resolution of very simple puzzles, plot twists, etc. they result in a quite varied and attractive adventure that, although it does not surprise (nor does it intend to do so), manages to move us to the golden age of this type of production. That is, back in the 90s. And just for that, there will surely be many users who bet on this production.

The recreation of the world (or worlds) that hosts this odyssey is really captivating.

Besides and without reaching outstanding levels, Oninaki is a very careful title in the visual. The recreation of the world (or worlds) that hosts this odyssey is really captivating, being able to visit a good number of scenarios (forests, villages, dungeons …) that have been endowed with a colorful and bright rather than striking. The characters are not the most detailed in the world, but they do enjoy good animations and enough personality. I reiterate that the least achieved has to do with the combats, which are not exactly spectacular, but at least they allow us to see several very well-conceived final bosses.

The sound facet, on the other hand, has left me with a bittersweet taste. The Japanese dubbing is quite good and the effects are true, but the soundtrack … it is certainly quite good, of course, but I expected to enjoy more epic and memorable melodies.

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Tokyo RPG Factory gives us another remarkable RPG that is somewhat out of the norm previously established in its two previous works (I am Setsuna and Lost Sphear) due to its fighting system, confrontations that this time happens in real-time. Precisely the battles are not the most outstanding value of all those who have Oninaki, but instead, their history, protagonists and artistic style are very striking.

  • The approach is not surprising but it is attractive
  • The story is well recreated and has very striking details
  • The presence of the Daemon brings grace to development
  • Charismatic and gifted characters of quite a depth
  • Not bad, but the combat system lacks more dynamism and spectacular
  • Maybe we expected more from the soundtrack, remarkable but not especially bright

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Kamran Haider

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