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Onyx, the re-review!

The return of the Onyx! (new review for ONYX 2023 remake)

Hello players!
This is another RE-review, but it's done for a specific reason: Onyx was recently re-released in a totally new edition that changes various aspects of the original game, it's a sort of remake that updates combat, improves some maps, adds new graphics, changes some characters and adds cutscenes... ANYWAY the old version is still available, and for this reason I decided to keep the old review below, even if it was pretty bad!

Anyway the Onyx 2023 version starts like the old game: there's a conflict involving some powerful being, including a mysterious young boy. Chad Daniels from Trace City lives with his aunt but she enrolls him in a military program, anyway the encounter with the previously mentioned mysterios boy sends him to another parallel dimension. Here he discovers he's a "Diamond", a person with special powers that can make the difference in the battle for power in the world of Allumia. Despite his desire to go home, will his new friends convince him to stay and save the world from the power of the Onyx?

The plot is basically the same of the 2006 version but there are lots of changes concerning cutscenes and maps that I think are really better compared to the first game: while the first game was pretty good (but my memory wasn't so I may not remember many parts too well), I think that the story here is better explained and also the dialogues make more sense.
The dungeons are also better designed, BUT I liked some cities as they were before, like for example Zycon and Mepori were perfect as they were, and the new Zycon outlook is... ok, not bad but still I preferred the old one.

Now, reading the old review I see that I was yearning for a "modernization of this game, with better maps"... well this varions has this AND MORE! So it's good, really good, while it's not your typical rpgmaker fantasy jrpg game (it's clearly inspired to Shin Megami Tensei, with angels and demons involved in a struggle for power). While the gameplay hasn't changed much, I liked most of the changes and I found it more appreciable than the old version for the new players.

Once again you will have to face many different fearsome creatures in this dark modern adventure!

Similarly I appreciate the changes on some characters, like Vernon that not only was actually made stronger (in the 2006 version is one of the less useful character, it's much better here in the 2023 version!) but also was changed aestetically, on the other hand I miss the old classic Chad Daniels with red coat and bandana. The game also introduces facesets and they look good and match the various characters.

But the greatest improvement is probably the change of battle backgrounds and monster sprites, that have a more serious "Megaten" feel (most of them are probably taken/edited from Shim Megami Tensei and Persona games, but still there are some from Final Fantasy and others) compared to the previous ones that in some cases were more fantasy/cute than creepy. Some of the best ones were luckily left unchanged, anyway the backgrounds are finally appropriate and feels less generic. But combat was also rebalanced, I found it easier, less grindy and more approachable by new players, anyway this may also be due to the fact that I played the game before, so I was used to a tougher challenge (not to mention that I more or less remembered the enemies and battles I was going to face, even if some enemies were obviously changed).

Anything bad? Well I found some passability errors (but not many because I never try to run into walls!) and some parts where the game was slower, but for the rest no issues or serious problems. The game is for the most part improved under every aspect, but probably the nostalgia makes me prefer some of the aestetics of the old version (but story and gameplay are better here!).

Believe it or not, this is the same location of city in the picture below! Same Npcs, as you can see! How different it is now! And WE are different too!

Oops I did it again (ancient review for ONYX 2006, 04/29/2019)
Never, never NEVERRR... judge a book by its cover or an rpgmaker game by its graphics. This is an important lesson, since I usually play good looking games first, and then I discovered that I missed a gem like Onyx.

But how was my experience with this game? Let's find out:

The beginning that turned me off
Yes, the game hasn't a particularly exciting start. First thing: mapping is ok, average in some points and the chipsets used are decent... most of the time. I found weird that some buildings are modern outside, and then BAM you find the village interiors chipsets used inside. Ok, in many games like A Blurred Line there is a mix between sci-fi and fantasy resources, rural villages and cyber cities coexist, but this here was too odd, as I found also people dressed like middle age peasants in a modern city (also what is wearing the protagonist? Isn't he a normal guy from 2014?). And what made me confused is that the second city you'll visit is... far better! Both for mapping and charsets/chipsets used.
Ok. Well...
Also music is just average, but not bad.

This is Zycon city, and trust me... it looks like a safe place but it's not!

Let's speak about combat: it's the usual front view battle already seen a thousand times. People complain that there is little balance, anyway I found it not too hard and I liked some fights, like the one with the "zombie family": they are all different, and the first time my party was annihilated! Anyway I confronted them again with the same party, not a level changed, and with some strategy, I was able to defeat them with little effort! Yes, because each character has a different specialization, be it combat, magic, healing, the ability to strike more opponents, and so on.

I am thankful for the detailed guide inside the game since it's very old school for some choices (i mean the dungeons with random encounters, for example), but I like that because I was forced to play this game.
By what?

Yes, what I really liked?
The story, of course... and what a Story!
This isn't your usual Final Fantasy ripoff or generic fantasy, it's a... no I won't spoil anything! But it's really different from most of the things I played.

But there are still a lot of many good things in this old classic, such as a great number of playable characters (the large cast is composed of many different and colorful individuale), some temporarily some not! A good number of different enemies (lots of heroes but lots of different villains too), dungeons, some not too difficult enigmas, and lots of dialogues. Humor and horror, funny and epic scenes... there's a bit of everything in Onyx.

Also, you can save anywhere, and this is something I always like!

These two seems to be some really dangerous opponents!

So, how is Onyx?
In my opinion it's a good old style rpgmaker game. I found some typos ("Europoena" instead of European and a couple others I can't remember) and a couple of map errors (such as a stair that works like a corridor), and while I didn't like some chipset choice and the lack of facesets, I liked all the rest.
A lot.
This game spawned also a sequel, but I've still to try it, it's not the prettiest game (the author is the same of Mystery Man Zero, a great looking game, with far better mapping, sadly unfinished), still it's a good experience in my opinion. And it should be noted that there are no errors or game breaking bugs, so, while this is clearly one of the first works of the author, it really shines compared to many other complete games of the same period. And even some that came later.
Ok, a "modernization" of this game, with better maps would be nice, anyway this is a true classic that I still liked playing.
And I'm sure I am not the only one!


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Thanks for the review! Hopefully the next time you hear from me will be for a commercial project. *fingers crossed*
Thanks for the review! Hopefully the next time you hear from me will be for a commercial project. *fingers crossed*

Whoa cool! I'm really curious especially about the themes and setting, since I noticed they're always peculiar and original.
I'm verr curious of what else was done to it. Very. And buffing up a game to it's potential is fun! They need shadows underneath them though!!! Agh!!
Anyway I should have mentioned that I (badly) did/edited Chad's new faceset to match its new appearance :P
Oh yeah I forgot that, because I was busy with work, do you still need help with that one faceset? Initially it was done by someone else but I do have art training to make it more like the initial character.
Oh yeah I forgot that, because I was busy with work, do you still need help with that one faceset? Initially it was done by someone else but I do have art training to make it more like the initial character.

Sure. If you want, go for it!
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