No we’re not talking about recipes for delicious Japanese rice balls, but instead the free-to-play MMORPG by Cyberstep. Onigiri takes place in the realms of Mythic Japan and follows the story of your character, a powerful Oni, and the princess Shizuka. Long ago, Japan was said to be filled with evil spirits and powerful monsters known as the Kamigui who brought destruction where ever they went. They terrorized the land, but were eventually sealed away by the Sun goddess. However, enough time has passed that the seals have shattered and the Kamigui are now free.
What makes Onigiri different from most other MMORPGs is the fact that it coincides with an actual manga. So far there appear to be 4 chapters of the manga out and the game tries to follow in the steps of the manga in both story and art. While traveling through the story players can choose to either group with other players or fight alongside up to 8 NPC companions. Unfortunately, Onigiri itself falls short in a number of areas and doesn’t create a particularly amazing environment for manga fans or gamers in general.
ABYSMAL CHARACTER CREATION
The character design limitations in Onigiri are some of the worst I’ve seen in the MMO market. There are only four different choices for female and male characters and the options consist of young child, average, slender and glamorous (curvy)/muscular. While the females actually show some decent variation between the four models, three of the male figures look like anorexic models and the muscular figure looks like a weird hulking monstrosity; there’s no middle ground at all. Besides the body type only the face, hair, voice and clothing can be changed, which all have very limited options as well. In anime and manga most characters seem to be very outlandish or flamboyant, but with the limited choices available players end up looking like an extra instead of the hero/heroine.
It’s obvious very early on that this game is catered towards men that want to play as over-sexualized girls. The most prominent aspect of the cash item shop consists of cosmetic upgrades. Most of these include slightly more revealing outfits, but they go so far as to include sexy underwear, lingerie and even pasties. I mean who doesn’t want a black lacy garter belt set or pink ribbon underwear. For those with some tact, there is a decent selection of outfits that can be purchased with in-game gold and do cover a decent portion of the anatomy; however, there are still a number of choices that leave your character running around in mostly just her starting sports bra and boy shorts.#
If the character creation wasn’t bad enough, the texture quality during gameplay is at an all-time low. I can literally count the polygons on some of the objects and things that should be round, such as fence posts, usually come out looking like hexagons. For a game that came out in 2014, it already looks like it’s about 10 years old. Even though the textures might be on the low end of the spectrum, the art generally fits the manga style and the starting village is pretty quaint. It does actually look like something I would expect to see in a mange or anime, but again a lot of the textures and building designs are repetitive. Even the NPCs appear to just be recolored skins of the same character models that players have the choices of creating.
CLUNKY COMBAT MECHANICS
The aforementioned issues could easily be forgiven if the combat system ended up being superb. Unfortunately, it’s not. Onigiri has one of the most awfully designed combat systems that I’ve seen in awhile. It’s slow, it’s awkward, and it’s overly generic. Most classes have access to multiple weapons; the Daring class I picked can use swords, bows, dual swords and axes. The difference between the classes is a slight stat differentiation and the ability to wield specific weapons, although they don’t appear to vary a whole lot in the end. The ability to use multiple different types of weapons really seems to come down to preference and not strategy. Each weapon uses a very similar combination system of 3 to 4 attacks by holding down the left-mouse button and a variety of skills attached to each unique item.
Each weapon can have up to 5 skills, 3 normal and 2 Ougi skills, and in order to use the ability a player has to first select the skill by pressing the corresponding number and then press the right-mouse button. Instead of following the typical style of pressing a button to use the skill, Onigiri over complicates the process for no reason. Furthermore, a lot of the more powerful skills require a moderate charge up time and, more often than not, will result in characters taking unintended damage.
In addition to attacking and using a limited number of special skills, players can also block and dodge. Initially I thought the dodging mechanics would add a bit more depth to the combat system, but it turns out that in most scenarios simply strafing is going to be more advantageous than attempting to dodge. Dodging is accomplished by double tapping WASD to do a somersault in that respective direction. None of the keys in Onigiri can be rebound and any system that utilizes double tapping can easily lead to miss clicks. Additionally, dodging requires mana, characters aren’t immune to damage while dodging, and there’s a brief moment where the character is rooted in place when the roll ends.
GOOD CONCEPT, BAD EXECUTION
All in all Onigiri is just not a good game. There are really no redeeming qualities unless you really like manga, more than solid gameplay, and enjoy repetitive grinding in uninspired worlds. If you’re looking for a manga-inspired game than there are solidly better choices already on the market such as Dragon Nest and Elsword. Neither of those games are perfect either, but at least they’re not the crapshoot Onigiri is.
- Delicious rice balls
- Combines manga and game into one universe
- Horribly dated graphics
- Bland combat mechanics
- Laughable character creation system