Onechanbara Z2: Chaos Review (PS4)
Some things are just so ridiculous that you are instantly drawn to them. They may seem blatantly stupid but also have some weird charm despite themselves. The Onechanbara series of games is a perfect example of this for me. Although the premise is purely a ploy to have the main character half naked, it’s still one of my favourite origin stories ever – Samurai warriors who rid the word of zombies and gain strength from the blood of those they kill. Of course it makes sense that the more bare skin you have showing, the more blood will touch your skin and the more powerful you will be. The fact that you happen to be a 6ft Amazon wearing cowboy boots, a straw hat and the world’s smallest bikini is just a bonus! The series has changed a bit since this crazy beginning but let’s hope Onechanbara Z2: Chaos has not forgotten its daft origins.
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is the latest instalment in Tamsoft’s zombie hack and slash series on PS4 and is published in Europe by NIS America. I am also happy to report that Z2 Chaos is just a daft as the previous four games that were released in the EU. Aya, the bikini wearing warrior and her sister Saki, are joined this time by Kagura (another bikini wearing slayer) and her sister Saaya (another old spirit trapped in a young person’s body). From what you can gather from the game’s opening, crap went down previously and you were joined on your journey by these two people who look like alternative character models you would normally get from completing a game. All hell is once again breaking loose and the four of them are off to save the world, again. As you can surmise, the story is not really important. What is, however, is that the two sets of characters are opposites of each other and this makes for some of the best character exchanges and banter ever. Nothing beats two scantily clad well-endowed characters arguing with each other and one of them calls the other “Tits McGee”. It is completely insane and part of the weird charm that Onechanbara Z2: Chaos has.
Onechanbara’s gameplay is your basic hack and slash fare. Each character has access to two different weapons that can be switched between during combat. Each weapon has two different attacks; a heavy and a light which are mapped to two separate buttons. There is also your standard jump, dash and evade buttons. Added to this is the blood frenzy from previous games (a powerful attack that drains health at the same time) and the cool mechanic where your character needs to clean the blood from their blade / weapon as too much blood dulls its effectiveness. The game’s story is split into chapters with each chapter consisting of you running to an area covered in the undead. Kill all of them in the area and you will be allowed to move on. Repeat this two or three times and you will end up in the final area swamped with baddies and a boss. The boss is normally some huge multi winged/limbed/headed bugger that needs his large health bar at the bottom of the screen depleted. Get enough of his health bar down and you will need to complete a quick time event on the touchpad to finish him off. Most of the 16 chapters in the story mode follow this pattern but this is fine. Playing through the game for this review was rather relaxing; it was just mindless violence against undead beasties. Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is the type of game you can put in after a hard day’s work, kill some things for an hour or two and move on – It is predictable yet addictive.
Outside of the story, Z2: Chaos has some longevity as a result of the unlockables. Once again the series returns with missions. These may be as simple as killing a number of a certain enemy or using a certain attack in certain situations. Completing these missions will unlock goodies such as concept art, hairstyles and the controversial outfits for the characters. As if the skimpy default costumes aren’t enough there are other “outfits” which are essentially strategically placed bits of paint, material or, in one case, fruit! Some of these, such as the strawberries and banana surprise, are paid DLC and downright outrageous. In my opinion the game is crazy enough without the need for these and in the same way I skip over the bikini packs in Dead or Alive I have done the same here.
Graphically, Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is a bit of a mixed bag. The game runs smoothly at 1080p / 60FPS but is not the prettiest of games. The main character models look great and are well animated whilst most of the zombies look pretty much the same as they did in the original PS2 budget titles. There are exceptions to this but they are mainly the bosses. The worlds of Z2: Chaos also suffer the same fate as the NPCs in that they are not the best looking. Skylines look pretty enough though rather empty, whilst the stages themselves seem pretty generic and lacking in personality. It is rather strange that instead of putting you off the game, this is part of its charm that you have a game with amazing looking character models and God awful NPCs and environments.
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is definitely one strange duck. It wears its quirkiness proudly on its sleeve and draws you in with its crazy premise; daft story and over the top dialogue. The game is not perfect by any means but, if you know what you are getting into beforehand, it will deliver a fun experience in a weird world that you should check out at least once.
7.5 bits of cotton thread masquerading as bikinis out of 10