Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers
So much blood.
Posted 4 years ago By - Zach R.
I have to admit, I had no idea what to expect from D3’s Onechanbara series. Coming away from Onechanbara Bikini Zombie Slayers, I’m willing to state that this certainly isn’t going to be exactly what most people expected either. Having played the inferior, not to mention dirtier, 360 game, it must be said that the two are almost night and day. For once I get to tell Wii owners the good news: you’re getting the better end of the deal, even if that deal still doesn’t amount to a must have game. Don’t get me wrong though, Onechanbara is still worth a look but not simply because there’s hot girls in bikinis!
Onechanbara is still worth a look but not simply
because there’s hot girls in bikinis!
Unfortunately, the story might be too convoluted for all but the most dedicated of fans to follow. The game is actually a continuation of the Xbox 360’s Bikini Samurai Squad, and it does a lousy job of explaining anything that happened in that game. Even though I have played both games, I’m still not sure what the ’Baneful Blood’ talk is really all about. All I really know is that you play as one of two sisters, Aya or Saki, and you’re out to vanquish evil. Offering some kind of background would have been nice considering that this is the first time the series has made it to North American shores and the previous game appeared on an entirely different system. To be fair, the story is secondary to the gameplay anyway, but it really would have been nice to understand what’s going on a bit more. I’m sure there are those who will be able to decipher what is going on here and how it all fits into context with a bikini-clad heroine, but the games presentation in general just didn’t motivate me to go back and really try. What it breaks down to is that you start at point A and while moving to point B, but you may want to kill everything in between.
The actual gameplay itself is definitely much better than the story, albeit a tiring and poorly explained one. Controlling the characters consists of using the nunchuk analog to move, and swinging the Wii-mote to slash at hordes of oncoming undead. Yes, the game is a bit of a Wii-waggle fest, but in short bursts it can be an incredibly satisfying feeling to slice through hordes of zombies. There are two different attack styles per character, and switching between them is as simple as pressing a button. The first requires you to swing just the Wii remote, the second adds the nunchuk into the mix. This is pretty much best way to play in short bursts, as it can be quite exhausting to play for long periods of time. Aya carries two Katana’s which help her blow through the masses of undead, but it’s Saki’s secondary attack that is more interesting of the two. Saki initially carries a very large katana, but her secondary attack entails putting the sword away and beating armies of darkness with her bare hands. She’ll suplex, airplane spin, and plane bludgeon zombies with her fists. While the mechanics are not the freshest out there, it’s an incredibly satisfying one, and beats the button mashing found in the 360 version hands down.
While the game lacks true 1:1 motion, by no means does this mean that it plays poorly. The controls are actually quite responsive and despite their tiring nature, it’s entirely fun. The coolest mechanic put in here though is sword cleansing. Mowing through hordes of zombies causes your blade to become soaked in blood. The more blood, the slower and less effective your sword strikes become. Holding B and swinging downward will shake the blood of your sword and allow you to mow through zombies much more effectively. It’s a simple mechanic, sure, but it’s also one of the cooler moments in the game.
The more blood, the slower and less effective your sword strikes become.
Not only does you sword become soaked in blood, your character also becomes a blood spattered mess . Rather than having a mechanic as simple as the cleaning your sword, there are only two options here. The first is to find a statue that removes the blood for you and also acts as a mid-point save system. These are placed sporadically throughout the levels and are more hassle than they’re worth as finding them on the in-game map proves to be tedious and confusing than option two. That option is to let your character become completely covered in blood, and have her enter "Rage" mode. This mode makes your attacks stronger, but comes at a cost. While in "Rage" mode you’re more susceptible to damage from enemies and your health will gradually drain. Finding one of the statues to wash away the blood is the only way to exit the mode, but due to the fact that they’re not largely available, you may find yourself dying more than once as a result.
Aside from the main story, there are several modes that should satisfy your hacking needs. Survival and Freeplay are both offered in co-op or single play mode, as well as a Quest mode. While the first two seem pretty straight forward, the last one is a bit problematic as there isn’t an explanation offered as to what it is your questing for. In fact, the game does very little to explain a few aspects of the gameplay itself. Perhaps it’s due to poor translation, or just sheer laziness, but the game only offers an in-game tutorial that doesn’t really offer much insight into the complexities of "cool combos", or how the level-up system works. There’s nothing in the manual that will help since it’s only three pages long and the information given in the onscreen cues is sketchy at best. You’re largely on your own when it comes to figuring out how to best enemies in this game. Even the training mode are a wash as you’ll likely keep killing your one opponent before you master the moves you’re trying to learn, and the whole process resets.
This is clearly the superior version of the game
What’s really surprising here though, is that this game came from the same developer, (albeit different teams), that made the 360 version. While the 360 version offers boring button-mashing and a focus on the physics of the female chest, the Wii version offers decent motion controls, and far less focus on the more ridiculous aspects of the game. There are definitely frustrations throughout both, and the gameplay can get a bit stale when all is said and done, but for some reason, be it the motion controls or just less of a focus on the adolescent nature of the game, the Wii version is actually quite fun to play. It’s clear that the team was thinking about the gameplay here, and while they could have spent a bit more time smoothing out the rough edges, this is clearly the superior version of the game, which is refreshing when you consider that it’s usually the other way around.
Graphics and Sound
One of the better aspects of this title is the animation system. The girls animate smoothly and the moves they can perform can look pretty impressive at times. Character models look good, but they could definitely have used a little more polish. For a budget title, everything here is serviceable, and there are some nice little touches that have been added here and there such as the blood spatter that covers your character and the camera, but in the long run the game certainly isn’t pushing the Wii by any means.
The moves they can perform can look pretty impressive at times.
The audio is bland techno-rock that’s almost standard in nearly every fighting game out there. The one shining aspect of the whole audio side is that they did not dub in terrible english voice-acting at all. Instead, all the dialog is presented in its original Japanese. This is something I really appreciated, though will likely put some people off.
The story mode offers a fair amount of content thanks to multiple difficulty levels, but it’s the other modes that really give the title it’s replay value. There are a couple of hidden characters and alternate outfits to unlock, but essentially it’s the gameplay that will decide whether or not you’re going to be willing to come back for more. If you’re not ashamed to admit that you own the game, you can even invite a friend in to play through the game in co-op.
For $30 there are definitely worse games you could buy for the Wii, but most will likely overlook the title due to the inherent "dirty" feeling you get from playing a game about a pair of sisters who slay zombies while barely dressed. If you can look past its glaring issues and let yourself be taken in by the simplicity of the gameplay, you might just find a worthwhile, albeit poorly explained, game that’s worthy of at least a rental if not a permanent place in your Wii collection.
+ Saki’s Beat Mode is refreshingly different from the tedious swordplay.
+ Hacking and slashing is fun in short bursts.
+ Plenty of modes.
+ Nice price.
- Will likely make anyone over the age of 30 feel like a dirty old man.
- Generic techno-rock and bland environments.
- Sets the equal rights movement back about 50 years.
- Takes itself way too seriously.
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Release Date : 2009/02/10
System : Nintendo Wii
Publisher : D3 PUBLISHING
Developer : Tamsoft
Category : Action
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10