Where do I start?
You just picked up Onechanbara — excitement is in the air! Ready for some sexy, zombie-slaying action? Well, you're gonna have to wait. The game opens by forcing you to sit through a good five minutes of scrolling text featuring an incomprehensible story. Said text is poorly narrated by scantily-clad protagonist Aya, who is apparently the last descendant of an ancient bloodline. The dialogue begs to be taken seriously, yet after the lengthy dissertation, we cut to Aya relaxing in the shower while her half-sister, Saki, rests in the living room as she crawls half naked towards a TV displaying news of a zombie outbreak. I felt a mixture of guilt and horror as I continued to watch — feelings that would carry on as I witnessed each tasteless cut scene, never once letting up and allowing enjoyment of either the insipid cinematics or the game itself.
Aya, Onechanbara's main character can only be described as some horrible mash-up between the campy atmosphere found at Chuck E. Cheese and the residue from thousands of sleazy stripper poles. The costume design is horrific and is in no way saved by the limited costume customisation — much less the horribly bland characters wearing said costumes (or lack there-of). I have nothing against scantily clad women — hell, Soul Calibur is one of my favourite games — but there is nothing exciting about badly rendered jail bait in a cowboy hat and feather boa. Unlike the Xbox 360 version, the Wii version has an excuse for the choppy graphics, seeing that the hardware can't support what the 360 can. In short, there's no excuse for the horrid amount of slowdown and terribly rendered visuals that plague Onechanbara.
Everything You Never Wanted (And Less!)
The rapid movement that makes up the game's rushed action sequences is seizure inducing, which in all honesty would have been more welcoming than having to play the game. Characters are easily stuck in cramped, poorly designed environments that don't compensate for such quick movement. Running around aimlessly chapter to chapter decimating zombies with little to no effort, I found myself hoping to get face some sort of challenge or at least take damage from a menacing foe or two, but that time never came. I survived the entire game without coming close to dying even once, all while button mashing. As I approached the first boss (who resembled some sort of sloppy tumor) I was looking forward to a life-draining challenge, yet was able to button mash the monster to hell with nothing more than a scratch on my nubile, under-aged body. Each boss battle after that mirrored that experience: hack, slash, repeat.
The variety of enemies is small and unimaginative. Think of run of the mill zombies and crows and that is what takes up the majority of the game. Survival mode is easier to stomach than story mode due to the, you know, absence of any story. The gameplay is exactly the same however, which is quite disappointing. Onechanbara's music compliments the bad graphics and cheesy design of the game. It seemingly has retro porn roots and fails to get better as you progress through the mindless bloodbath. The one redeeming quality of the game is the interactive loading screen which is a sprite based game reminiscent of Splatterhouse and is sadly more satisfying than the game itself. Still — after having to sit through countless hours of loading, even the sprite zombie game gets tiring.
Is it over?
So, let's review: mindless story? Check. Unlikable characters? Check. Insulting graphics? You name it, Onechanbara's got ample, under-aged amounts of it. Leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth and an unwashable feeling of downright sleaziness, Onechanbara can be simulated by checking into a shady motel. Where'd that stain on the comforter come from? Just like Onechanbara, some things are better left ignored.