Oninaki touches upon a subject many of us find difficult to talk about, Death. I have seen a number of my family pass away some truly to young. The hardest for me was my daughter, Esmé, who passed away at only 8 weeks old from SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome). Oninaki talks about praying to help the deceased find their way to the other side and ultimately reincarnate, while grief shackles the living and causes the dearly departed to stray and become lost. I am not a believer of religion and I never prayed for my little girl, but others who have faith did, I said goodbye in my own way. I have come to terms with what happened to my girl, and I will always think of her. I do believe her energy was reincarnated into my little boy, as when he was born he was a spitting image of her, so for me, I have my girl back, and also a little boy called Elias.
So Small spoiler here…
Right at the start of the game as you play a watcher called ‘Kagachi’ you meet up with a lost soul, a young boy, who requests to see his mom and dad for the last time. You agree and take the little boy to his home, you arrive, knock the door, introduce yourselves, and tell the parents what has happened, while letting them know that their boy was with them. Even with the parent’s prayer’s, the mother is filled with grief and cannot let go and asks if she can join her son. The father also requests the same. ‘Kagachi’ agrees and in the style of old Japan, the two-parents turn around, kneel and with one quick slash of his sword… well that’s where the story ends, did they meet with their little boy and move on, well we can only hope.
That’s the end of the Small spoiler.
For me being a parent that has lost a child I would have hoped that my little girl has passed over to the other side, I would never want my child to be lost between worlds, so I choose to remember her in a number of ways, heart, mind, soul, and a plant that flowers and grows fruit in and around her birth month. I also choose to have Esmé’s ashes sit on my window-sill in my games room, looking out on the world.
Now you play that main protagonist ‘Kagachi’ a watcher, he guides the lost to the other side and helps the living come to terms with grief even if that means taking their lives. I personally believe that a watcher follows a sort of a code, similar to the ‘Code of the Warrior’ used by Samurai Warriors. They are entrusted to do a role, do it well, understand and do what is right for all parties.
Just like Samurai Warriors, the combat in this game is fast-paced ‘Hack ‘n’ Slash’ with tactics involved when it comes to the boss battles. This sort of genre is something new coming from game development studio Tokyo RPG Factory, with their first two games Lost Sphere and I am Setsuna both being classic turned-based titles, similar to Final Fantasy. Oninaki, on the other hand, has the combat style from games like Diablo and Torchlight. It just lacks the end game content, shed-load of loot and extremely deep customisation.
Your combat abilities come from finding and working with wayward souls called Daemons. There are 7 Daemons in total and all come with different weapons. They are the following;
Gavod, who’s weapon is a Shield Cannon, Rigan who uses Duel Blades, Zaav who holds a Spear, Lzanada a Scythe, Aisha a Sword, Will an Axe and Dia who harnesses Shotbolts.
Through working with the Daemons the watchers gain a weapon and a set of skills. To unlock skills you need to acquire Soul Stones, these are obtained when successfully using a Daemon to take down enemies. Through the skill trees, you unlock increasingly more powerful abilities, passive abilities and memories that tell you about how the Daemon came to be. I honestly never expected a back story for each Daemon, and by having this, it allowed me to form a bond with them.
When it comes to using powerful skills, be mindful of when you use them as they all come with cooldowns, relatively fast cooldowns, but a powerful skill can mean the difference between living and dying during those boss battles.
So instead of building up your character, you build up your Daemon. By doing this, it offers many forms of gameplay, from fast and fluid, to slow and defensive while not forgetting ranged. They also offer different strengths and weaknesses, so use each Daemon wisely.
You can only use 4 Daemons at any one time and they are assigned to the left analog stick, left, right, up and down. You can swap them out relatively easily, through the menu system, so don’t fret if you feel you are using the wrong one for a particular battle. If you have a keyboard from Razer, Corsair or SteelSeries you can create macros to access and assign your Daemons faster.
Even with all these skills and abilities on offer through each Daemon, I very rarely changed to use a different one. Yes, I tried every one out, I unlocked new skills and memories, however, I always seemed to revert back to good ole faithful Aisha. She is actually the first Daemon you come to know and attach to. The only types of enemies that seem to offer any form of diversity were the bosses, the general enemy types were simple to take down and just required you to constantly click one button to kill them. Then again it was the same in Diablo and Torchlight and many other Hack ‘n’ Slash type games. So it is not a complaint it’s just a fact. General enemies are easy while bosses offer a challenge to some.
The first few hours the game draws you into its dark undertone. The idea of jumping between realms is great. Finding enemies on either side, levelling up, learning about your Daemons, running quests and expanding the storyline is all great. Jumping to the realm of the lost is not a good idea all the time though especially when its pitch black, and not knowing one touch from an enemy could kill you. To remove the darkness from an area in the ‘realm of the lost’, you need to complete an objective.
Now I enjoy Hack ‘n’ Slash Games, I tend to buy almost all of them, I play them from start to finish. In fact, I still play Diablo 3 on my Switch with every season that comes out. Oninaki provides an intriguing premise and touches on an element many of us find uncomfortable even if it was not in a game. It offers up over 50hours of gameplay if you touch base with side quests and take your time throughout the game. This is not the greatest game that Tokyo RPG Factory has created and it is not the worst. It is good in its own merit, it just lacks refinement and one more important thing, English voice acting.
- Price£44.99 can find it cheaper
- Developer: Tokyo RPG Factory
- Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch