Wednesday, 13 January 2010

No problems with objectifying women here: Part 1

Title: OneChanbara Revolution (JP), OneChanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers (NA, PAL)
Developer: Tamsoft
Publisher: D3
Year: 2008 (JP), 2009 (NA/PAL)

OneChanbara is a series of games that were originally developed for the PS2 under the Simple 2000 line. Since then, it has spawned two movies, a lot of collectable figures and a number of sequels on various platforms.

Of course, swinging your sword via the Wiimote makes perfect sense. Hey, it worked for several other games, right? Hence Tamsoft's OneChanbara R. Whether or not the name is a throwback to the original name for the Wii remains to be seen.

OneChanbara is one of those series where you never march in expecting a AAA game and of course, R is no exception. The games' main selling point seems to be the fact that everyone is a hot chick. Indeed, the subtitle for the PAL version of R is Bikini Zombie Slayers. Telling.

But is it at least a good bad game? Maybe I'm not at liberty to say, seeing as I appreciate games such as Zombie vs. Ambulance, but I don't believe it's as bad as everybody says.

The game is chock-full of gameplay modes, including the mandatory Story mode, Survival mode and even a Practice mode. You start off with only one character to play as - Aya, the game's main protagonist. Completing the game with her unlocks another character and so on. There are a total of four unlockable characters, as well as numerous outfits for each of them.

Each character's Story mode is quite short, being eight stages in length. The game's narrative is presented in the form of a pre-stage cinematic of scrolling text and the character's voiceover, with the occasional, badly voice-acted cutscene thrown in.

The gameplay takes the form of a crowd-combat game, and I have to say that I found it deeply satisfying to slice my way through waves of zombies. It's mindless, but fun. One of the cool things about the OneChanbara titles is that as you kill enemies, you get covered in their blood. Getting drenched in enough blood means that your character will eventually go into a 'Berserk' mode, which causes your attacks to be more powerful but steadily drains your health. Once this mode has been activated, the only way to revert your character back to normal is to either use an item or to find a statue which removes the blood. Moreover, killing enemies means that your sword becomes bloodier. After a certain amount of hacking and slashing (as indicated by a meter on the side of the screen), your sword will become stuck inside enemies, leaving your vulnerable to attack as you struggle to remove it.

For a budget game and more importantly, for a Wii game that uses the 'waggle technique', the controls work fine. Depending on how many times you flail the Wiimote about, you can create different combos and switch weapon modes with the press of the C button. With Aya, this means that you can use dual swords. The only thing that really frustrated me about the gameplay is the fact that the lock-on mode does not target the nearest enemy, which can lead to problems when you are surrounded by dozens of zombies.

Another thing: unless you have amazing patience, don't try and play the game in one sitting. You will be bored out of your mind if you do. In saying this I'm making a point about the stage layouts, which is literally exactly the same (as are enemy encounters) for each character but just presented in a different order each time. Most of the time the game doesn't even explain what you're doing in a hospital or a forest or wherever you happen to be, which makes you think that maybe Tamsoft just got lazy and picked locations out of a hat.

That being said, the locations don't look bad, given the fact that it is a budget title and that the Wii has limited graphical capabilities. The character models look nice enough, as do the gore effects. It is also worth mentioning that even though R is a crowd-combat game, I do not recall having experienced any lag whatsoever, which impresses me greatly.

OneChanbara Revolution is a rather self-explanatory game. Hot girls kill zombies and get covered in blood. It doesn't require any thought whatsoever. The only thing you need, should you decide to play it, is to abandon any high expectations. If you do so, you should be in for an enjoyable, campy experience, despite its minor flaws.

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