Oninaki

Oninaki done

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Thursday evening I finished off the mainstory of Oninaki. It took me about 20 hours and I’ve seen all three endings. I lost a bit of sleep over it, I didn’t get to bed untill 1 at night, but I was happy that I managed to push through and finish the story that has captured me for the past 2.5 weeks. This also marks the fact that I’ve managed to finally finish a game within a month of release for the first time in I think the last 10 years or so. This also sets the number of games finished this year on four, of which Oninaki and Kingdom Hearts 3 were the longest games for me to play through. The other two were Yoshi’s Crafted World and Kirby Star Allies which were both relatively short games.

Now that I finished the story in Oninaki I’ve opened up the postgame content. This includes the ability to travel back and forth between different parts of the game and also the opening up of a 100 floor post game dungeon with a boss every five floors. This is the ideal place to level up Kagachi, I’m currently sitting on 71, and level up all my other Daemons that I didn’t really use throughout the story. I’m almost done with unlocking all skills on Dia and getting her to max rank. I picked up Izana (who wields a Scythe) instead of Aisha and I will probably swap out Dia with Lucika (fist weapons) once I get max rank on her. I also unlocked the 11th Daemon that wasn’t patched in untill launch day called Jex. Jex is a bit of a special Daemon seeing as instead of having auto attacks and his own skills he gets the skills of all other 10 Daemons. I can see how this is interesting to play around with but for now I’m not really interested in that and will focus on my other Daemons instead.

Right now I’m still very much into the gameplay loop of this game and I don’t see myself getting bored soon yet. I plan to defeat all the 100 floors of the post game dungeon and also track down and complete the sidequests that I’ve missed. Normally I don’t really aim to 100% complete games immediatly but I’m just really enamoured with this game so I may actually make an effort to do so. This means I will have to max out all my Daemons, complete all the side quests, max out Kagachi on levels and defeat the post game dungeon. However I also want to start picking out a new game to play on my Switch or another platform.

I’m very much leaning towards another Switch game. I have a bit of a backlog built up there and it seems like I’m better at completing games on that platform than on any other platform. However I’m also really leaning towards picking a game on the WiiU instead. I am really enjoying RPG’s right now, especially ARPG’s where I can just fight in real time instead of turn based. This already kills a few games like Pokémon and Octopath Traveler on my Switch and also Tokyo Mirage Sessions on my WiiU. I started playing Paper Mario: Color Splash when I was moving house but I don’t really feel like picking that back up again.
I could pick one of the two Xenoblade Chronicles games I own. I have X on the WiiU and never really touched it much and I own 2 on the Switch and got around 10 to 15 hours of playtime in on that. They are both ARPG’s and both pretty good looking so I’m heavily tending towards on of those. However I’m also really pulled towards picking up YS 8 again… It’s a difficult choice to make. I guess I’ll see what I want to pop in and play once I get done or bored with Oninaki… But it wouldn’t surprise me if it was one of the three games I just mentioned.

In other news I’ve been actually spending more time on the World of Warcraft Classic server than I thought I would. I am way behind the leveling curve of everyone else but I’m not too bothered by that. I’ve made a Druid who is now level 17 and I’m actually jumping back and forth a bit between playing that and my original Warlock. The plan for now is that I’m playing the Druid the most and then poke around on the Warlock and use up the rested experience and then jump back to the Druid. I’m only three levels away from unlocking cat form there so I really want to keep pushing through untill I reach atleast level 20.
I’m still not playing very much or very long. I get in about an hour or an hour and a half per session. I set very small goals for myself like completing the quests I have open in my log or getting one level. It’s working for me though and I see slow but steady advancement. I’m also really enjoying fishing and cooking and even though I probably shouldn’t spend my money on it now, I can’t help it whenever I level up enough for new recipes.

All in all I’m quite happy I managed to finish another game and I’m ready to pick a new one once I’m done with all the extra content.

Review: Oninaki (Switch)

Oninaki is a game that I bought on a whim almost two weeks ago. I’ve been playing it a surprising amount since and have landed on the final chapter of the story.. Thus prompting me to write my review about the game. As sidenote, I haven’t actually finished the game yet but I don’t think I’m too far off. So without further ado my review of Oninaki on the Switch.

The Basics

Title: Oninaki
Genre: ARPG/JRPG
Developer: Tokyo RPG Factory
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: 22-08-2019
Platforms: Playstation 4, PC, Switch

The developer Tokyo RPG factory isn’t a stranger on the scene anymore. As daughter company of Square Enix they are focused on renewing the old JRPG genre. Before Oninaki they’ve published “I am Setsuna” which I own and “Lost Sphear”. This is their third title and the first true Action RPG they have developed. I picked up this game for €44,99 on release, normally I’d rather wait untill titles like these go on sale but I was so intrigued with it that I decided to just dip in and get it straight away.

The Story
The overarching plot is centered around Life, Death and Reincarnation. You play as Kagachi, a young Watcher who is tasked with protecting the realm and the Reincarnation cycle. Kagachi can travel from the normal realm to Beyond the Veil which is akin to limbo. When people die and have no regrets they are thought to be reincarnated. However when people have regrets they become Lost and can’t reincarnate and become stuck Beyond the Veil instead as Lost Souls. Lost Souls who are stuck long enough eventually turn into Fallen, spirits consumed by negative emotion. As Kagachi you are tasked to help Lost Souls move on and battle the Fallen who also manifestate in the real world. There’s cults, murderers, charm peddlers and all sorts of other folks causing trouble. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story here but so far I’m hooked and can’t wait untill I finish the ride. The only downside I would mention is that at some points the story seems to move a bit too fast for it to be believable. I think the game would have benefited from a bit more deepening of the plot or a bit slower storytelling at the start. However this isn’t disruptive enough for me to stop playing it or not enjoy what I’m actually playing through.
Next to the mainstory there’s also a lot of smaller sidestories to do although they don’t really add to the overarching story a lot. They are fun to do though as a bit of a distraction from the main story when things get more intense.

 

The Gameplay
The game defines itself as an ARPG and if I have to compare it to something I guess I would compare it to a hack & slash when it comes to overworld fighting but with an actual story to the game. You fight groups of mobs and bosses in real time. Your weapons are Daemons, powerful Lost Souls that are bound to Kagachi. Each Daemon has a weapon of preference and can learn four skills which you can use in combat. Daemons have skill trees that are fueled by special stones. Luckily you don’t have to do anything special for these stones except kill enemies. Kagachi levels up and so do the Daemons as you allocate more skills to their skill trees. Next to that, as I mentioned, all Daemons have a weapon of choice. This weapon is upgradeable and can have sockets for stones that enhance battle properties. There is an Alchemist where you can upgrade your weapons, craft new ones and socket stones. There is a satisfying loop where you go to a map, basically clear it of Fallen both in the real world and Beyond the Veil and then fight a big boss at the end. As you fight with your Daemon a gauge fills. When you hit 100% you can have your Daemon “manifest” and have all your combat stats boosted. This is really nice to clear big groups of mobs or bosses. All Daemons have their own specialty so some are better at damaging multiple targets, others are better at single target. You can have four Daemons “equipped” at a time and switch between them freely when you don’t have one Manifested. I notice that when I’m playing longer sessions my fingers kind of get tired from mashing the buttons at some point but the gameplay itself is very addicting and the upgrading and rotating Daemons is actually really fun to do. As added perk you can unlock memories from your Daemons as you level them up which adds more story to the game. Right now I’m running with Aisha (see picture) who wields a Sword, Dia who is a dual Gun/Bow wielder, Treize who wields Chains and Rigan who wields a Dual Knife. Dia and Treize specialize in AoE whereas Aisha and Rigan are better suited for single target combat. Although I have currently maximized Aisha’s rank so she’s strong no matter what.

Sound, graphic and other technicals
Here is where I think platform begins to matter when it comes to choosing this game. I bought it on the Switch and have chosen the mobility of the console, I’ve been playing on my TV and handheld, over the performance on PC and Playstation 4. As such I have to say that the graphics aren’t as beautiful as they probably could be on a different platform. The game suffers from FPS drops here and there, although never so bad that it becomes unplayable. The transition from gameplay to cutscenes isn’t always optimal and the cutscenes are sometimes slightly pixelated for a second before snapping back into focus. A bit of a shame because I think it could have been optimized better for the Switch. As far as sounds and music goes I have no complaints. The battle music isn’t annoying and every map has it’s own unique background music. The sound effects are fine. If I have to name a downside it’s that the game comes with only Japanese audio. I’m not too bothered by this but whenever something is said during battle it means I can’t understand it. All the cutscenes are subtitled but some of the “banter” or battle shouts have no meaning for me because I don’t speak the language. I probably would have played in Japanese regardless if there was an English option but having the choice would have been nice.

The final big downside is that the loading screens in this game are absurdly long. Sometimes I’m waiting for two minutes before I finally load back into the game after a cutscene. When starting up it takes a long time to get to the title screen to begin with and then there’s a long loading screen from title screen to actual game. As such I’ve been just putting my Switch on rest mode with the game still running purely so I can skip having to start it up. Which is something you shouldn’t have to do.

Final Verdict
Although the game has its flaws when it comes to story pacing and technical “issues” I’ve been hooked since picking it up. The gameplay loop is nice. I like the Daemon system and the fact that I can switch up my combinations a lot. The story has completely sucked me in and now that I’ve arrived at the final part I’m determined to see the ending by the end of the week. I’ve heard that there is postgame content and that the game contains multiple endings so I definitely want to see them all.

If you can look past the flaws and enjoy a hack & slash type of game with Japanese graphics this may be the game for you. It’s not absurdly long and has a nice gameplay loop. Is it worth buying full price? Only if you’re really a fan and think the game is interesting enough. On sale I definitely recommend picking this up and losing a few weeks of your gaming time on it.