Review: Onechanbara Z2: Chaos (PlayStation 4)

Onechanbara Z2: Chaos: Official GBAtemp Review

PlayStation 4 2,593 views 3 likes 11 comments
Reviewed by Nathan Nendez, posted Jul 24, 2015, last updated Jul 24, 2015
Jul 24, 2015
  • Release Date (NA): July 21, 2015
  • Release Date (EU): August 28, 2015
  • Release Date (JP): October 30, 2014
  • Publisher: XSEED
  • Developer: D3 Publisher, Tamsoft
  • Genres: Action Adventure
  • ESRB Rating: Mature
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos brings together two sets of sisters from two rival clans, the Vampires and the Banefuls, to fight a common threat in some hack and slash, bikini clad combat.
Nathan Nendez

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Onechanbara Z2: Chaos begins with the introduction of two sets of sisters who are battling against each other once more after defeating a powerful foe previously. These two sets of sisters are Kagura and Saaya, who are Vampires, and Aya and Saki, who are called Banefuls, which are special due to the mix of specialized blood in them. Shortly after the combat starts however, the game really begins when the arena you're fighting in collapses and the pairs of sisters are separated, the bikini clad Kagura and Aya on one end of a tunnel complex, and Saaya and Saki who are more modestly dressed on the other end. This is where the game really kicks off and you start to experience all that it has to offer. But what does Onechanbara Z2: Chaos bring to the table?

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Making up the meat of the game, it only makes sense to start by talking about the combat. Combat in this game is, on a basic level, hack and slash, button mashing. What you realize right away though is that the fighting can be surprisingly complex. There is too much to the system to really talk about without basically telling you how to play the game, but the moment you start playing, they throw all of the battle instructions at you in a few slides and let you have at it, which is admittedly a poor and rushed way to go about it. The system takes practice to get used to. You have light and heavy attacks, secondary and sub weapons, special attacks, transformations, weapon wear, character switching, and more all at your disposal. Although you can easily just mash away at light and heavy attacks and swap characters when one gets too worn down, there's a certain satisfaction that comes with being able to handle the fast combat so well that you barely get hit. At the same time, there isn't too much incentive to actually get good at the game, at least on the two difficulties you have available when starting. That is, until later in the game, where simply mashing buttons will leave you at the mercy of the sequences of older bosses that get brought back in late game chapters. You can alleviate a lot of the difficulty though by investing in items such as instant revival crystals, health restoration crystals, temporary power boosts, and more. These items can be purchased in the store or found by destroying objects and defeating enemies. The combat does feel good and each character feels relatively unique. At times it can get hectic, and certain boss fights can bring a fair bit of trouble if you aren't prepared.

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To add to the combat, there is also a shop with various things that can be purchased to augment the experience. As you earn yellow orbs from fighting, you can visit the shop at goddess statues located in each stage. At the shop, you can buy new skills for each character to improve and increase their combos, rings that can be equipped to add various bonuses, items to make combat a little easier, and weapons that only seemed to offer an aesthetic difference. On one play through, it will be tough to buy all that the shop has to offer. I focused on new skills, although at times I wondered if maybe I should have invested in rings, or purchased more items for when fights got tough. I can't say that items were an obvious purchase though, as the first half of the game really isn't very difficult. It isn't until a boss fight in the Los Angeles stage, about two thirds of the way through the game, that you realize that maybe items would have been a better investment.

When you first start the story mode, you only have two difficulties available: casual and medium. I chose to play on medium and started in on what would turn out to be a 16 chapter journey from start to finish. Advancing through the story mode, there isn't much story to really worry about. All you know is that somebody unleashed plenty of undead spirits on the world, which range from zombies to laser shooting wolf monsters and everything in between, many with unique abilities that add to the combat experience. You have to set your differences aside as Vampires and Banefuls to take care of the problem for the good of the world. Each chapter takes place in a different stage, but you realize early on that the experience is reminiscent of what you would expect in an arcade. Environments are relatively plain and basically just act as different backdrops for each arena, and every stage has a series of scored and graded battles that get added up for a final grade at the end of the chapter. Each chapter took me on average between 10 and 20 minutes to clear, meaning that the overall play time for one play through won't be very lengthy. Outside of the story mode, there is also mission mode where you can take on various missions and objectives to earn more rewards for things such as character customization and art for the gallery.

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Customization is a defining aspect of the game, that is, if you consider copious amounts of fan service to define an experience. Onechanbara Z2: Chaos walks a fine line with some of the options available. With plenty of risque options that can be unlocked, there is no shortage of steadily skimpier clothing options for all four characters. I won't share any screenshots of the options here, as I think the line they walk is a little too fine for here at GBAtemp, but you are free to fight the hoards of undead wearing little more than fruit if you want to, once you unlock it, anyways. Although this may be a nice feature for some, for others, this could be a major turn off from the game as a whole.

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Despite how fun the game is, the flaws are evident. The overall experience is very average, the story feels relatively unimportant, and the English voice acting ranges from not very good to average at best. Although there is depth to the combat, it's hard to mask the fact that, most of the time, it is basically just a button masher where square, triangle, and x are your best friends. Not to mention the steep difficulty curve about two thirds of the way through the game where stages start to feel like a boss rush mode, or the graphically unimpressive experience as a whole. The game becomes a lot of the same thing against a different backdrop early on with few exceptions throughout. It ultimately comes out feeling fun, but lacking in noteworthy ways.

Playing the game, it feels like everything is there that could make for a great experience, but it's hard to shake the arcade feeling that seems to hold Onechanbara Z2: Chaos back.

Verdict
Pros
+ Combat is fun, varied, and can be decently complex based on your play style
+ Enemies are varied and can be challenging to defeat
+ Bosses are a good change of pace, tend to be a challenge, and quick time events against them make for a nice use of the PS4 controller touchpad
Cons
- Environments are fairly basic and act as little more than backdrops for each arena
- Tons of fan service may turn off potential players
- The difficulty curve can be somewhat harsh
- English voice acting isn't very good
- Story feels secondary to the overall experience
- Long load times, upwards of 20+ seconds
6 Presentation
The character models are decent, and if you appreciate fan service, you may enjoy the customization options. Enemy models look relatively good as well as you slash them to oblivion with various blades and punch them into nothingness with powerful fists. It's hard to miss the fact that the environments are lacking though, the story is fairly minor, and that it looks, feels, and even sounds like something you might find in an arcade.
7 Gameplay
Combat can be fun to play and varied enough to keep from becoming stale. Even with the options, against hoards of regular undead, the experience does devolve into a button masher. It's only against bosses that you will really be tested, and at those times the gameplay shines as you use more of the options available to you to dispatch your toughest foes. You can mix up the experience by prioritizing different characters as your main fighter, and it can add a bit due to each character's unique combat styles.
7 Lasting Appeal
The story mode isn't very long, but it does offer multiple difficulties to play through. As well, since each chapter is scored, you can go back and try to get the top letter grade in each mission on every difficulty. Outside of the story mode, there is mission mode that can add more to the experience with miscellaneous graded missions for multiple difficulties.
6.8
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
Although Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is certainly fun to play through, it does fall short in too many ways to look at it as much more than an average experience. If you enjoy button mashing, fan service laden zombie slaying, this game is for you. For everyone else, you may want to do your research before committing to this title.
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