Nervy Supernatural Female Warriors | Onechanbara Z2 Chaos Review
Before we get started, just know that this review may get a little NSFW. The game is pretty risque.
The Onechanbara series is a long-running series in Japan and Europe, with Z2 Chaos being the 11th game in the series in Japan and the 6th in the series in Europe. We here in North America have only had 3 entries in the series. Why? More than likely it’s the series’ penchant for showing off the main characters’ fleshy bits. The series doesn’t give a shit when it comes to the skimpy clothing that Aya, Saki, Saaya or Kagura wear. Onechanbara Z2 Chaos is absolutely going for trashy, titillating, horror like so many ’80s movies. But given the series’ roots, how well does the game stand up on its own?
I found the combat, at its core, pretty fun. It’s an over-the-top character action game. So mashing the Square and Triangle buttons will unleash a light or heavy attack, respectively. Circle will have the character use a subweapon/special ability, if applicable. The X button will jump if tapped or if held down will perform a Rush to close the distance with an enemy. Each character can switch between a primary weapon and an alternative weapon instantly by pressing the L2 button and you can even switch out characters, on the fly, using the Up and Down on the directional pad. With all of this, you can do some pretty awesome combos. Especially since switching to a new character at the right time will extend the combo and have the character do a special attack. While the gameplay is fun it isn’t exactly the best, or the most intuitive.
As soon as you take control, you’re given a text dump to the controls of the game. Some things aren’t exactly explained. For example, as you use weapons fills up with blood and you need to refresh it with the L1 button. Why? I’m not entirely sure after playing through the game. I think it lowers damage dispensed, but the game didn’t let me know. Another issue that bothered me about the combat was the lock-on. R1 locks on to a, seemingly, random enemy. Most of the time, you probably won’t need the lock-on when fighting the normal enemies as they tend to hang out in groups. So if you’re attacking with a wide sword swipe you’re bound to hit something. The problem comes to the boss characters. Often times there are regular enemies in the boss arenas that you can lock-on to as well. Instead of using the right stick to switch between targets, you have to click the left stick. So that means you can’t move while you switch targets. And speaking of movement, when you’re locked-on, your character moves much slower. So it considerably hampers momentum when fighting. But why just avoid using it? Because it’s easier to actually figure out what you’re supposed to be attacking while locked-on. Well, that’s enough shitting on gameplay issues, how does the game look? Fucking shitty.
Alright. I’m being extremely harsh, but the environments in the game look almost Dreamcast-level quality. Especially for a game that’s coming out on a system like the PS4. The environments have very low quality textures, the enemy animations are atrocious, and objects have no “weight” to them. Not to mention the levels are at times annoyingly labyrinthine as finding the proper exit is frustrating. That said, the levels aren’t entirely too long. In one chapter, I could actually see the end of the level from where I first spawned. Of course, the game also throws up invisible walls to keep the player from going where it doesn’t need to go. The sound mix is equality abysmal. Look, I’m not usually the type of person to complain about sound mixing in games. If I can hear the characters just fine, I consider that adequate enough. Unfortunately, Z2 Chaos didn’t live up to my low auditory expectations. The characters voices are drowned out by the background music. Sure, there are subtitles, but it’s more frustrating being able to barely understand what a person is saying. It only makes things worse whenever Anna, the Charlie to these “angels,” explains the misson. Her voice is considerably louder than everyone else’s. I tried headphones and through my speakers, and the audio levels are just borked. There are sliders to adjust things, but it didn’t feel like the levels were adjusted enough.
After all of these issues with the game, I enjoyed my time with it. Now I know what you’re thinking; that I’m full of shit. But, the game gives absolutely zero fucks, and it doesn’t take itself seriously in anyway. In fact, it’s confidence in its budget title status makes it that much more fun to experience. The story is almost nonexistent. In fact, the clothing worn by Aya has more threads than the plot. But do you honestly need a reason to fight a metric shit ton of zombies and mutilate some monsters? Fuck no. The combat can stand well enough on its own, but the voice acting and the nonsensical plot help add a little flavor. Onechanbara Z2 Chaos has a barren field of fucks and it has none to give and that’s what makes it fun.