Onechanbara Z2: Chaos, otherwise known as big-chested-samurai-women-massacre-the-undead. This is the third time I’ve played this game now and across all major platforms oddly enough. The first one I played on the Wii and that was an alright game, it looked like I had been rubbing my face in dirt but it handled fine. The second I played on the 360, it still looked like crap but it handled like crap as well. Literally the only part of that game I can remember is fighting an undead killer whale. It was memorable not for being fun but simply for how bizarre the experience was; I thought I had seen everything zombies could offer in Resident Evil but apparently I was mistaken. So now there is another one on the PlayStation; is it good? Meh. Is it bad? Again, meh. If you watch gameplay for a few minutes you basically understand the entire game. So it is what it is, hot barely clothed female samurai going ape-shit on a minimal selection of ‘zombies.’ I put that into air quotes because zombies quickly give way to ‘whatever the hell the designers put in’ fairly fast. So it can be fun if you struggle to think about more than point and shoot or hack and slash. Or if you prefer virtual girls to 3D ones I suppose because that is practically the corner stone of the game.
So what is the story about? No really I’m asking because I have no idea. Three games and I literally have not gotten past vampire girl and her sister fight some other vampire group who release zombies on the world for what can only be summed up as ‘reasons.’ One thing that confused me this time though is that we have two pairs of vampire samurais but I don’t think either pair are from the previous games. One of them looks familiar to me but that is about it. The game also starts out where the previous game left off but since that game didn’t make it state side they might as well have just started in the middle of the story. The sisters overcome their differences to fight some other woman in a 3rd group who wants to do… something; you fight zombies for a couple of hours, a bunch of names are dropped and then you finish off the first woman. That is literally the entire plot, a whole bunch of things happen with no real reason or explanation and then you kill everything that isn’t you. I thought I recognized a couple non-playable characters but the game generally just blew them off as soon as it could anyways.
The plot isn’t just simple; it feels like it was written by a prepubescent trying to write a short story for a freshman English class. He wants to get it done as quickly as possible, doesn’t have a damn clue what he is doing and can’t stop thinking of boobs for more than a few fleeting seconds at a time. If I had to summarize the story in only one word it would be boobs. Zombies are numerous and easily forgettable and combat is the same thing nonstop so the only real thing to look forward to is the hot action. They put more work into customizing characters than almost anything else it feels like. You can fully customize almost every aspect of each playable character, even to the point where you can decide the exact angle and everything; much like the customization menu in Saints Row 2 or 3 that allowed you to change almost every little detail.
Like I stated earlier, this is basically the corner stone of the game, hence the Wii version was called Bikini Samurai Slayer because the older sisters were and still are only wearing a bikini. In my college years I tried to explain this game to my football friends who dismissed it as part of some fantasy I had come up with from the weird otaku part of my life. It wasn’t until I pulled up the game and showed it to them extensively online that they believed me. Why, because the concept is still weird and apparently somewhat frightening to people… in this country anyways. If I had shown them what is actually considered insane in Japan I’m fairly certain their heads would have exploded. The younger sisters are a bit more modest but that can be easily changed. Apparently I ordered the collector’s edition, which I didn’t realize, which came with a certain costume DLC that made me completely question the point of this game. Called the bananas and strawberries costume that is literally all the characters wear, one banana and two strawberries. C’mon now, it was already fairly clear who you were marketing this game too but now your just dragging everyone else down a little more by comparison. I won’t lie though, after my initial surprise I enjoyed it a bit but that also quickly wore off because combat moves are such a mad blur it doesn’t really matter in the slightest what they wear. I’m sure people watching me play live on twitch felt the same if they were a guy and some level of disgust if a women.
Besides clothes though there is not much else to customize, there is a gallery which should go without saying, a mission’s page and a section where you can switch weapons and other minor power-ups. Power ups or rings as they’re called can give certain abilities to the character wearing it but you are only allowed to buy one of each. So you might as well choose which character is your favorite, attach the best three rings you have and get used to using that character and no one else. Luckily enemies drop the more basic items fairly often so it is not too hard to just keep going forever with the same character. The best strategy is to just save as many points as you can until you can afford the most expensive rings with actual useful abilities. You can also use points to buy new weapons and moves but weapons seem to have very little bearing on combat and it means very little. You can also unlock more character customizations but there is no way to buy them.
Gameplay is also kind of a joke but it did get better as the game went on. At the start of the game you literally have little to no moves, the only helpful one being a dash and attack move. It wasn’t until later I realized that most moves and combos have to be purchased before they can be moved. I’m not sure what the reasoning behind this was, I assume to some extent it was supposed to pad out the game length by making it frustratingly hard on the first play through. Now that I do have a good amount of the combos the game isn’t easy but it is not the same three or four moves nonstop so some of the monotony has worn off. Although that seems like a terrible way to design a game, the reward for playing it is to make it better to play? They might not cost much in the store but there are a lot of them and it cost a lot to get the items that would actually be useful. It is possible to switch characters at will which is actually fairly well designed but if you have a character that’s not up to par for whatever reason it will just drag down the entire team.
Monotony seems to be the name of the game though, while not all characters have the same weapons they all handle the same for the most part. Some may move a little slower or faster but in most cases it is marginal at best. Speed seems to be the only real difference since no single character really does more damage than another one. Levels are a little more diverse with only a few of them looking like a dungeon of some sort. However, since there is no interaction with the levels they might as well be so much background wallpaper. A couple of stages like LA and China look interesting but they all act the exact same way making it a meaningless cosmetic change at best. The only stages that make any real difference have areas where enemies can be knocked off the map but there are only like two or three of them.
Everything is done in such a linear fashion there is little to no wiggle room for anything besides hacking and slashing. Exploration if possible has little more meaning than to find the last couple of zombies that became stuck on the setting in order to progress to the next area. The game itself only has a few levels at best with one level being broken up into six different stages. Just because it has multiple parts does not mean it is multiple levels. It is just more padding that has no real meaning to the main story and designed to keep the player busy for a little longer. If it wasn’t for how terrible your character is at the start it would probably be as short as The Order: 1886; either way it still didn’t take more than a day or two to beat the main story or whatever passes for a plot in this.
As stated, the game design is marginal at best and has little meaning either way. All effort put into this game seemed to be geared towards trying to give whoever bought it a boner by focusing almost entirely on the main characters. The music however is a little more interesting, a kind of DJ style pop that really brings some needed life into the game. Hack and slash combat as simple as this wouldn’t be able to keep anyone’s attention for long without something to grab the player. Some games do great things with music, like Saints Row 4 which got a lot of mileage from various songs. To be fair I always believed this was because they purchased the song rights before realizing no one would ever need to use a car but what do I know. The main song of the game is easily the best though since it is the only one with lyrics. There isn’t much in the way of cut scenes either; most cut scenes being reduced to comic book style still pictures with dialogue. There are a few animated ones though that look good but kind of prove my point on the actual purpose of this game. One especially that takes place on a beach in LA were we see the reinventing of the bikini.
In the end Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is like watching two different movies at the same time. On one side you have an ancient zombie movie with little more direction than destroy everything that moves without a pulse. On the other screen you have soft core porn with little or no more direction than to be hot and do sexy things and let’s be honest, you don’t really want an elaborate plot in porn. It takes away from the point of the movie, to get a boner… or whatever the female equivalent is. So you have gore and violence on one side and partial nudity on the other; if you slam them together you get Onechanbara. No story, no meaning, just gore and partial nudity…with some suggestive themes. Again though it’s not bad per say but you are better off knowing what you are getting into. After a certain point you can get through the entire game almost one handed, saving your other hand for stroking… your phone you dirty boy. Sometimes it is nice to just cut loose and not have to think about every little thing, kind of like the average GTA Online player. Sometimes you just want to stop, bust out the tank and cruise around town…blowing things up.
If you have trouble getting a boner and think this game is the best aid but are unsure if zombies will just kill that boner again then you’re in luck. Below are actual gameplay videos by yours truly because… you know… I believe in the power of boners.