Ashes of Oahu
After selecting a new game, you will have the choice of five game difficulties to play: Easiest (for players who are more interested in the story than combat), Standard (as it was designed to be played), Reduced Difficulty (combat is made easier but still a challenge), Difficult (Combat is much tougher for experienced first person players) and Crazy (as tough as it gets, not for the feint-hearted). Once you’ve selected the game’s difficulty, you’ll move on to a small intro.
“Oahu; once a paradise, but the Hekili Nui devoured everything. Unprepared, the island reeled. Slowly, the islanders found their place. Found hope for the future. But hope is fragile. A wicked spirit rose from within... corrupting men’s uhane... and raised a soulless legion that swept the ‘aina like a plague consuming all. To protect what is precious, A warrior must rise! To defend the sacred, a warrior must fight. In the face of evil, He must be defiant. He must resist. And with the strength of his ancestors, deny even death to save his ‘ohana”.
You play as Kai; you were killed, and your son was taken by the Hog Child. However, your spirit has been returned to your body by a mysterious figure who stands before you. They explain it was they who returned your spirit to your body and that it isn’t time for you to join the ‘uhane hele just yet. The mysterious figure tells you that in his previous life he was called Kahuna, that he is now ‘aumakua (deified ancestor, family god), that he will guide you on your journey, and that you may call him Pueo. Alone he can’t stand against the Pua’s Kupua, which is why you are here. You come from a strong line of ancestors; Pueo will show you how to strengthen your mana and together you will tell a new mo’olelo.
You need to find your son, but the Hog child is powerful and his rampage across Oahu has gone too far. To save your son and the rest of Oahu you will need to be of equal power. Pueo can help you achieve this if you let him, you will also find others around the island both living and dead who can aid you. Your tribal tattoos react to the presence of nearby spirits, who are everywhere. Their mana calls to yours, your ‘uhane resonates with them. In Oahu there are many spirits, many of them are lost and they need help to move on, helping them they may help you in return. These spirits can be seen more clearly by using your ‘Uhane Vision. Seeking out the akua (gods) will allow them to teach and evolve your mana skills. From here, your journey begins...
You start on the beach and you need to get by some raiders in order to reach the Heiau further up the beach. The Heiau is a Hawaiin temple which will need repairing. You can collect materials from plants and wildlife; to repair the first Heiau you will require three fibres and three gums. You can also find materials on your enemies or in ruins; using your ‘Uhane vision will help you find materials you might otherwise miss, as they stand out and can be seen even when hidden, and the same goes with enemies who show up in red. After completing the heiau you will awaken the Akua, who gives you two weapons to help build your mana and to strike silently at your foes. The first is a blade, which, when used to kill your foes, will give you mana so that you can use your ‘uhane powers. The second is a bow so that you can take down your foes silently and from a distance, as your enemies use guns. Using the bow will require mana each time it is used, so the blade he gives you will come in handy to help keep your mana stocked up.
Moving silently through the land will help you sneak up on unsuspecting enemies. Taking them out one by one without the other enemies spotting you is a must; stealth is a big part of the game. You can hide in bushes and wait for an enemy to pass then sneak up behind them and perform a takedown. Doing this in the right place will also hide the body. The enemies can cross paths as they move around so anybody left in the open could alert them to your presence. On your HUD is an indicator on whether an enemy can see or hear you. A Detection Meter will show the direction of an enemy who can see you, filling up the meter. Once the meter is filled it will turn red, indicating that the enemy has detected you. Making too much noise, like running around, will also alert the enemy to your whereabouts, so it is better to sneak about, especially until you can get your hands on some guns. After using my bow and running out of mana, trying to rush an enemy who has a gun with my melee weapon didn’t work out very well for me.
There are five factions throughout Oahu: The Islanders, Hawaiians, The Research Institute, Lava Dogs and Raiders. The Raiders are always your enemy, while the other four factions are neutral to begin with; whether they remain neutral, or become a friend or an enemy will depend on how you treat their faction. Each of the factions have their own benefits and skills; for example, medicine, rifles and horses are skills for the Islanders, whereas Hawaiian’s skills improve the body, soul and spirit. Completing missions and helping the faction will increase your chance of their becoming allies with you in the fight against the Raiders and the Hog Child.
You can also gain skills from each faction as you earn experience points for completing tasks. To learn a skill, you will be required to visit the right faction member to unlock it. It will also require some skill points which you’ll acquire as you gain experience and level up Kai. Repairing the Heiau around the island will also grant you skills and special powers. At Hanauma Bay, where you first started, you gained a blade and bow; revisiting the heiau once you have reached a certain level will unlock a new skill. At the Farm, you will be endowed with the power of transforming into a chicken; unlocking other heiau and their Akua will gain you the power to transform into a bird, shark and other skills. You can only transform if you have enough mana to spare, but when you do, changing into a chicken will allow you to sneak past enemies unseen (just hope that they don’t have chicken on tonight's menu as you go clucking by).
Raiders will start making outposts through the island; this is something you can’t let them do. You will need to clear the outposts of the raiders to stop them settling into an area. Once you have cleaned out an outpost then the other factions can move in and increase their own outposts and grow within that region. There are also Bunkers near these outposts, and you can use these to save the game. All your weapons will be stored on the walls; although I haven’t been able to drop any items here so far, they are always with me the same as with any resources I collect.
You can increase the amount of resources you’re able to carry at any one time, and crafting items from the resources you have collected is simple to do from your inventory. Upgrading your inventory limit will allow you to carry more items from each of the resources simply by selecting upgrade and having the necessary resources. You can craft medicines, health patches and other useful items from the inventory by having the right items to craft. You can find resources scattered around Oahu and from the bodies of the enemy, from scrapped cars and from anywhere else.
At times you’ll come across weapon upgrades; use these on weapons to increase their stats, giving them more power or stability. You can use these upgrade parts in the Mods section of the inventory. Here you will also find Resources (all resources you’ve collected), Weapons (any weapons you currently have), Consumables (Health packs, etcetera), Ammo (any ammo you currently have) and Throwables (stones, grenades, molotov’s etcetera which can be thrown).
While you are in the inventory along the top of the screen, you’ll have options to visit the Map, Missions, Skills, Factions, Journal and Controls. Selecting these options will give you details on your whereabouts on the island, information on the factions and your status within them. Regarding any current missions you have unlocked, you can activate anyone you fancy; doing so will guide you to where the mission is to take place. You can also set waypoints on the map to anywhere you like, and they are indicated on the compass of the main game screen showing you which way you need to proceed. There are plenty of missions to complete and talking with new friends and at places like outposts will keep you busy. How and when you take on each mission is up to you as the game is an open world.
I have enjoyed playing the game so far; the Hawaiian beliefs and culture I found intriguing. There isn’t much voice acting in the game and it’s mainly subtitles while interacting with other characters, which feels a bit weird at first. I have found that the game can suffer from stutters or is laggy at times; like others have said it probably could do with a bit of optimisation. The developers are releasing updates for the game so hopefully this will be sorted at some point in the future. I would say it’s worth giving the game a bash, as even with the bit of lag here and there, it’s still playable for the most part and I love the story and the beliefs of Oahu.
Review written by Piston Smashed™ for Zeepond.com!
Positives+ Multiple endings depending on the choices you make
+ Good story
+ Nice graphics
+ Has achievements
Negatives- Laggy at times
- No cards currently
Use the powers of your ancestors and liberate the Island of Oahu from the Hog Child and his evil Raiders
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Zeepond Rating: 7/10
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