Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is the latest instalment from Tamsoft’s hack and slash style game. I had no idea what the game was until I started and I have to say I wasn’t expecting something so ridiculous and ultimately feels like the games strongest draw.
The game sees you hacking your way through hordes of zombies as half-naked female warriors. Aya and her sister Saki, are joined this time by Kagura and her sister Saaya. Right from the get-go things are chaotic and blood soaked. The four scantily clad girls are once again on a mission to save the world from the evil threatening to take over. The two pairs of girls are over the top and the banter between them is always amusing. The game quite unabashedly knows what it’s going for with its gore filled battles and sexual innuendos, which in my opinion works well and there is actually a reason I suppose for the minimal clothing. The girls gain strength from the blood of their enemies, so the more skin exposed the better. The story is quite clearly not a strong point, whereas the combat is the main focus of the game.
Each character has access to two different weapons that can be switched between during combat. Each weapon you use has two different types of attack. The first is a heavy and the second is the light. I played the game on PC but decided to use a controller as it feels easier to play it that way, but you can play with a mouse and keyboard if you wish to do so. You can also jump, evade and dash with the back right trigger. You also use something called blood frenzy, which is a powerful attack that drains health at the same time. As you slash through enemies you must clean your weapon of blood as too much blood reduces its effectiveness. I thought this was a very clever mechanic and the animation of cleaning your blade looks awesome. Aya wields two katana blades while her sister uses hand-to-hand combat.
The game is split up into chapters, which involves you clearing out tonnes of enemies, often in locked areas that require you to wipe out every last enemy before moving on. Once you reach the end of an area there is a boss fight that takes place. In general, the basic enemies you face are a little dull in terms of variation and style but the bosses are all unique and often look utterly bizarre, which I really enjoyed. The boss fights feel like a culmination of many other boss battles in games, like Dark Souls and God of War because of their size. The 16 chapters within the game are fairly similar in terms of structure and I did find that the game started to become a bit too repetitive, but the satisfying feel to the combat makes it worthwhile. There’s almost a hypnotic rhythm to the mindless violence and once you find your groove it feels great. The chapters a relatively short in length, at around ten minutes each. As you get to chapters later in the game they do start to take longer to get through.
Now to the dialogue. While I can see that many players will find the dialogue to be utterly awful, I appreciated what the developers have gone for. They have fully embraced the bombastic and absurd tone of the game. It feels like some sort of weird anime, without any kind of meaningful story. Sure the characters are ridiculous and their outfits looks completely insane, but that also adds to the fun factor. I really enjoyed playing as Kagura because she is extremely quick and I loved her special attacks. I also loved being able to switch between characters by tapping up or down on the d-pad. Its worth experimenting with all the characters and the weapons they use. You can also switch between English and Japanese voiceovers. I often found some lines of dialogue that felt a bit off and I don’t know if it was because of the translation or meant to be intentionally weird. The writing and dialogue are bizarre but that is also why the game is so memorable.
There’s actually a surprising amount of depth to the skill system, meaning you can improve various abilities. The system can be a little confusing at first and I have to be honest I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing the first few times I played. It gives the relentless gore-filled gameplay a sense of progression. The game is also full of fun challenges to complete, which also adds to the replayability. These include things like killing a number of a certain enemies or using certain attacks at specific points. If you do well you will unlock some interesting things like hairstyles, even weirder outfits and concept art, which I always love seeing for games. The presentation of the game isn’t the highest quality you would expect but I have to say that I really liked the style of the environments, the bosses and the four main characters, despite being completely insane. The sound design is good and I especially enjoyed the fast-paced music that escalates during the blood splattering battles.
I did have a few issues with the game, firstly the game did crash on me once and the framerate does tend to stutter a lot. Also the camera feels a bit cumbersome and locking onto enemies doesn’t work very well, which is a shame as I tend to use that a lot in games like this. The camera is often obstructed by enemies and walls as a lot of the fights take place in close quarters. The combat does feel good, but not great, which is a shame. The enemies could have been more varied, especially if you compare it to a game like Dark Souls.
Overall I really enjoyed my time playing Onechanbara Z2: Chaos, probably way more than I should have. This is one of the most over the top games I have played in a long time and because of that it’s highly memorable. Some people may be put off by the over sexual and gory gameplay but I think if you go into it expecting something that doesn’t take itself too seriously you will enjoy it. It’s certainly not a perfect game, but it feels fun to play. I would recommend this game if you like hack and slash games like Dynasty Warriors.
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