OneeChanbara or Onechanbara, onee-chan, the Japanese word translates into “big sister” or according to Wiki “a colloquialism for a young adult woman”, while chanbara translates to “sword fighting”. Those two translations gives you a glimpse into what you are dealing with here, young adult bad ass women ready to kick ass. Some might say, if they just watch the screenshots of this game, that the game is sexist really haven’t played a OneeChanbara game. Sure the women are dressed in a certain way but once you get to control one of them you quickly realize they are bad ass killing machines. I got to play around with the latest western release entitled Onechanbara Z2: Chaos
If I got given this review copy back when I was 13-14 years old it would be a dream come true. Sexy ladies in a button-mashing Dynasty Warrior like game this would definitely be contender for my game of the year, however, as I have grown older (and maybe wiser) the “sexy” part of the game really doesn’t do anything for me. The dress up aspect of the game (you can unlock outfits and accessories for the different characters throughout the game) isn't what I enjoyed while reviewing this game. The combat however is where the game truly shines, sadly it is heavily shadowed by repetitive arenas, annoying glitches enemies and boring scenarios.
Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad might have been the first experience you have had with previous games in the series as it was the first prominent release here in the West, however there are multiple titles released previously in Japan. Onechanbara Z2: Chaos was my first run-in with the series so I was heading into this almost blindfolded as I knew nothing of the game other than the previously released screenshots and the “drama” surrounding them. But as with any game I like to try it out for myself before I pass any kind of judgement on them.
And Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is great at times but the annoyance of having to backtrack because a A.I. have decided to glitch through the world forcing you to retry the mission, or having to backtrack and use extensive detective work to find that one enemy that has decided to hide right at the start of the game just walking on the spot, then you finally kill that last enemy and having to travel back through the map, which sometimes are long stretches of waste open landscape with nothing to explore or collect to at least keep the repetitive gameplay look from becoming tiresome.
At times you get a cursor which is supposed to help guide you to your next objective, which is mainly just a random spot where you are locked inside and having to encounter all the hordes of enemies before you can move on to the next mission. The cursor however reminds me of the one you got in Crazy Taxi, you know the yellow cursor which doesn’t tell you if your objective is above or below you, which add to the dead wasteland you walk through doesn’t add up to much fun in the long run.
It is sad, because the combat is really, really good. The one thing that kept me going through the game was not the enemies, or the scenery, or the missions or the story, it was the combat. The combat in Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is excellent and fun. Mixing up combos and totally demolishing hordes upon hordes of enemies have never felt better. Linking up two characters for ultimate combos has never felt more satisfying. If Onechanbara Z2: Chaos does one thing extremely well it is the combat and in my eyes is the entire meat and bones of the experience. Changing up the weapons or switching out characters to take on different enemies, while pulling back to wipe the blood of your weapon before it becomes useless is all a huge part of the combat system which at first glance could look like another button-masher but if you dig deeper actually has a pretty intricate combat strategy system. And at the end of each mission you get a ranking, so there is always room to improve.
The bosses in the game though can also get repetitive and actually rather easy, but one of the enemies I encountered turned into different body parts which I had to hunt down and get a few hits in before it jumped back out of sight, only to reappear and having you do the same thing over and over again until it was defeated. Now this might not sound boring but when there is absolutely no challenge in it it kind of gets annoying towards the end and breaks the entertainment.
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos has a brilliant combat system that I wish they have put into a game that was interesting to look at and explore, and also in some case I wished they would have just shrinked the maps down since there really isn’t much free-roaming to do or at least no need to explore. There are unlockables which is great and the characters in the game are really well animated but everything sadly just blends into one grey mush after awhile. It goes without saying that if you are a huge Onechanbara fan then you already have this game, if you are new to the series just know that the combat is where it is at but it can quickly become repetitive and sadly not all that fun.