By Steve Baltimore / August 12th, 2015
|Title||Onechanbara Z2: Chaos|
|Developer||D3 Publisher and Tamsoft|
|Release Date||July 21, 2015|
|Genre||Beat ’em Up|
|Age Rating||ESRB – Mature|
It has been quite a while since I played a game in the Onechanbara series. The last one I played was Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Squad for the Xbox 360, and, while I found it entertaining in that B-movie sorta way, the controls left a lot to be desired. When I first heard XSEED games was localizing the latest entry in the series, Onechanbara Z2: Chaos, I wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or not. So, when the chance to review the game came along I decided to give it a whirl and see for myself.
The story follows the epic battle between the Vampirics and Banefuls. These two groups have fought for supremacy for centuries. Their battles had taken their toll on both clans, and their numbers had declined greatly. Among these surviving members there were two sets of sisters who realized that Queen Carmillia of the vampire clan was pulling the strings all along and decided to turn their weapons on her. The queen could not overcome the power of all four sisters working together and was defeated.
After the battle with the Queen, the girls decided to finish their showdown. In the midst of confrontation, a strange girl in an iron mask appeared and destroyed the castle floor. As they fell into this giant hole, they caught a glimpse of a new enemy, a women sitting on the Queen’s throne with a crazed smile. They must now work together to confront this new foe and rid the world of the undead once more.
While this isn’t the most interesting story in the world, I found it enjoyable enough to see what was going to happen next. The story itself is told through in-game cutscenes and with some comic style panels containing still art. The comic panels look pretty nice and are fully voiced in both Japanese and English, though I will admit I was a bit confused as to what was going on at first. This is likely due to the fact the Onechanbara Z was not localized and this picks up at the exact spot it ended.
While this is not the best-looking game on the PS4 by far, it still looks pretty good. The character models are hand drawn, and you can tell great care was given to them. The enemy models look pretty decent, as well. They are not as detailed as the girls, but you don’t notice when you’re cutting them to bits. Though I will say that most of the boss monsters look pretty bad ass. They are very detailed and quite large in size. Though the environments are mediocre, they get the job done, but nothing really stands out about them. The good news is this runs at 1080p at 60 FPS. There aren’t any major framerate issues to report here — this one runs silky smooth as the girls shred everything in their path.
The soundtrack is mix of upbeat techno and rock tunes with a little funk thrown in for good measure. They fit the game perfectly, and get you really pumped up to cut through tons of enemies at furious speeds. The game is fully voiced in both English and Japanese. Some will find the dub a bit odd, since Kagura sounds like a cowgirl more than a zombie slayer. Well, she does have a cowboy hat on! Anyways, I didn’t think it was bad at all. The VA folks seemed to put some effort into bringing these characters to life, and it shows. The Japanese audio is just as good, so either way you go with this, you’re in good shape.
The best part of Onechanbara Z2 by far is the combat. Each girl has at least two different weapons you can use at any time. Some even have a third weapon at their disposal. Because if you’re gonna cut up the undead, do it with flair! Attacks and combos a pretty standard button-pressing affair. What is unique here is if you press the buttons at just the right time, you will perform what is called a “Cool Combo.” This will not only increase your damage but you will gain a speed boost, as well. There are a ton of different moves and combinations for each of the gals, but some will have to unlocked via the in-game shop with orbs you obtain during missions.
Characters can be switched in and out on the fly by pressing Up and Down on the D-pad. This was one of my favorite features. It allows you a lot of flexibility during the hectic combat. This character’s weapon not effective? Not a problem. Switch out and continue to kick ass! Characters out of combat will regain a certain amount of health. One of the new additions to the game is the “Cross Merge” combos. You will notice under each of the character’s portraits at the top left of the screen it will sometimes say “I’m Ready,” which means that character is ready for the combination. When you tap down the touch pad on the Dual Shock 4, any characters that are ready will jump into combat along with whomever you using at the time. All four girls can be on the screen at one time in this manner, and things usually get crazy. This is fantastic for boss battles or when you are surrounded by hordes of enemies.
There are two other types of special moves at your disposal, these are called “Ecstasy Combos” and “Dare Drive/Xtasy” transformations. The Ecstasy Combos are your basic special moves. Some will have the girls spinning around with swords like a buzz saw, while others may provide protection or throw fireballs. Simply fill up the three bars above the character’s health bar by attacking enemies to perform these. You can press Left and Right on D-pad to select which move will be used, as some characters have more than one. Dare Drive/Xtasy transformations not only change your appearance but greatly increases your damage and speed, too. As your enemies bleed, the gauge for this will fill. When it is full, press down R3 and L3 and watch the slaughter begin.
There are a couple of different play modes to be found here. The first is Story Mode, and, as you may have guessed, it tells the game’s story. There are a few different difficulty levels to choose from; each unlocking different items upon completion. Each story mission will end with a crazy boss battle. The monsters are huge and will have to be cut down to size before they are defeated. This usually happens during some quick-time events that occur during the battle. These are really simple; just swipes across the Dual Shock 4’s touch pad. Most of these battle aren’t that difficult, but they are definitely entertaining. The drawback to Story Mode is that it is very short and can be completed in around four to five hours. Since you are rated at the end of each story mission, you will want to replay them to get a better score.
The other gameplay mode is Mission Mode. This mode has you defeating enemies with various conditions. These mostly consist of only using certain moves and combos to do damage, but it makes completing some of these very interesting. You are rated on these missions just like in Story Mode, and, the better your grade, the bigger your reward. You unlock a ton of accessories for the girls in this manner. This mode is actually fun and challenging. However, it really feels tacked on just to have more content.
The accessories I just mentioned are purely cosmetic, but they are a ton of fun to play around with. You can equip them to any part of the gals’ bodies. This can make for really funny outfits for them to wear into combat. You can unlock a few full costumes in game, but some you will have to purchase via DLC. If you pick up a physical copy of the game, the “Banana Split Edition” will include the Strawberry Banana Surprise costume. This one is way over the top and leaves little to the imagination, if you get what I mean.
While I had a lot of fun with the combat and thought the characters designs were great, I can’t help but feel Onechanbara Z2 is lacking in the content department. Sure, there is a lot of replay value to unlock accessories, costumes, moves, weapons and other things, but you’re still doing basically the same missions over and over. A physical copy will run $49.99 and will include an artbook and soundtrack along with the aforementioned DLC costumes. This seems like a decent value since you are getting some physical goods with the game. However, the $39.99 digital price seems a bit steep to me when you consider the amount of content here. But, if you played other titles in the series or are just looking for some mindless zombie slaying fun, this may be exactly what you’re looking for. Otherwise, you may want to hold out for a better offer down the line.
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is available on Amazon:
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