Having recently had the chance to check out Onechanbara Z2: Chaos, I must admit that I came away with mixed feelings. It definitely has its good and bad, but is the game for you? Read on and make that decision for yourself.
The title, recently released in the US, is a sequel to a title that never managed to make it to our shores known as Onechanbara Z: Kagura. As a result, gamers who haven’t imported the title may feel a bit lost at first.
Luckily, Onechanbara Z2 makes it a point to run over the major events of the first game, explaining the title’s story for those of us who missed out. Of course Onechanbara Z2 focuses more on the scantily clad girls fighting zombies than the actual storyline.
The girls in question, Aya, Saaya, Kagura, and Saki, are actually part of rival clans; the Vampirics and the Banefuls, and from the very start of the game are at each others’ throats, literally attempting to chop each other into pieces.
Soon, however, a worldwide zombie outbreak occurs. The four girls decide to grudgingly put their battle on hold, realizing that neither group can take care of the outbreak alone.
Gameplay is where Onechanbara Z2: Chaos shines the most. Some may argue that this isn’t the case, and the scantily clad girls is where it shines, and if you would feel that way, it’s fine; You’ll certainly enjoy your time with Onechanbara Z2 if that is the case. That said, let’s dig into the actual gameplay.
To clarify my first statement in this section, combat is where the game shines the most. Each of the four characters you control has two weapons, as well as a sub-weapon that can further complicate things. Add on weak and strong attacks, as well as several different meters to keep an eye on, and you have the setup for a complicated battle system that can definitely take a bit to get used to.
During battle (which is most of the game), you can just mash buttons and probably make it through the first sections. That said, you definitely won’t get a very high score, and you’ll soon discover that random button mashing won’t take you very far at all. To make it through, you’ll need to get used to the intricate combo system, as well as master when to utilize the abilities that the aforementioned meters will generate.
Of course, if you think it’s as simple as, “Fill this meter, activate, DESTROY EVERYTHING!!!”, you would be incorrect. Each has its own drawbacks. One meter, for example, will allow you to gain a massive offensive spike, but your health will steadily drain while you’re using it. Luckily, you can tag in the other characters at any time for support.
Speaking of tagging, this system adds in yet another layer to the combat. The way it does so is because you can begin a combo with one character, then tag in a second, seamlessly continuing the combo and slaying your undead foes.
The bad part of gameplay comes in the stages themselves. The game is quite linear, though you can choose the order in which to visit stages at a certain point. That said, the levels themselves tend to be quite straightforward, with the brunt of the focus having seemingly been spent on honing the combat system.
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos runs at a full 60 frames per second, and I noticed no stutter or breaks in animation, even when the screen was filled with foes.
Unfortunately, many of the models are somewhat bland, as are several of the stages. There are a few interesting locales to visit, and the main character models are quite nice, but whether this is enough to offset the blandness of the others is something you’d have to decide upon yourself.
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is a game that many will pick up because of the scantily clad protagonists, I’m sure. These gamers will be thrilled to find an interesting combat system within, and will most likely enjoy mindlessly hacking apart the hordes of zombies that assault them.
Other gamers will avoid the title for this very reason, and they honestly may not be missing much. Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is a game whose combat mechanics and the sheer fun of taking on hordes of undead save it from falling into mediocrity. That said, the lack of polish in other areas unfortunately makes it an average game at best.
If the developers learn from their mistakes, the next Onechanbara game may be amazing. Only time will tell, however.
Final Score: 3/5