While, in this day and age, very few games can remain completely timeless unless the genre is “retro”, some definitely stick out as less influenced by time than others. Before Bungie’s heyday with the Halo series, but after Marathon, they helped put out a little title called Oni. Oni capitalized on the whole Anime scene and had a very similar backing to Ghost in the Shell. But what makes this title a bit less dated than its other titles is a combination of its animation system and open-ended gameplay.
The gameplay in Oni isn’t particularly one-sided. While it was marketed as a third-person shooter, most of the time you will be duking it out with enemies because you don’t have any ammunition or quarters are too close to open fire safely. And in this combat engine, Oni really shines. These days, interpolating character skeleton animations is commonplace, and typically even expected, but in 2001 it was a lot less common, though not unheard of ( Half-Life was one of the first widely commercial titles to allow this sort of animation ).
But Oni took the skeletal interpolation system and applied beautiful fighting animations with it, leading to some really satisfying combat moves. After you become comfortable with your fists, it’s very satisfying to brawl with your enemies. At the higher levels of difficulty it can be frustrating, but if you keep your head on you’ll generally be able to put down a grouping of enemies with a little patience. If you are looking for an online platform on which you can enjoy this game then you can try unblocked games for office that offers many other older video games.
The other nice thing about Oni that was rather unusual at the time, is that the game engine is rather open-ended. Most of the time you have to do something simple such as open a door from a computer console ( the main items you interact with ), but how you get to the consoles and in what order is quite varied. Generally, you find yourself in an area, and then you are turned loose to fight the opposition in the level however you see fit. The animations really pull you into the game as you carefully ambush a guard coming around the corner, take his rifle, and down the two guards patrolling in the distance. Oni supports a stealth approach to some degree, but it is not intended to be able to carry you through the entire game.
Outside of the animations which solidify the combat system, the game does not have massively complicated levels with bump mapping and high-resolution textures, you’ll mostly be running around in urban areas with tiles or gravel and computer consoles everywhere ( this is the future, after all! ), but it’s not very often that you are looking at the scenery and considering which kinds of “ugly” it is. Some of the levels are actually impressive in their size, as the roofs atop the Airport Hangar, which are surprisingly large for an older title.
This being said, the story for Oni is fairly generic and you’ll only be mildly compelled by it. Basically you are chasing an arrogant, cliché bad guy through the first part, and you get into a slightly more compelling situation later which doesn’t leave you completely apathetic. The voice acting is very average, though the protagonist’s voices are generally decent.
Either way, you can pick this title up cheap and it is definitely worth the play through if you’re just looking for some nice games to gear you up for the holiday season release. You’ll have fun with the run and gun action, and honing your combat skills is especially satisfying as you pick up new and nicely animated maneuvers.