Once you get past puberty into maturity, you realize that being sexual is easy, but being sexy, truly sexy, takes real smarts and skill. It’s the difference between a trashy sex novel like E.L. James’ Fifty Shades Of Gray and an erotic classics like Pauline Reage’s Story Of O. Unfortunately, it’s not something the makers of Onechanbara Z2 Chaos (PlayStation 4) — an acrobatic hack & slash action game in which women with big curves and small bikinis take on hordes of zombies — seem to understand. Though there is some fun to be had if you’re a fan of mindless swordplay, it’s hard not to think how much better this could’ve been if they had spent as much time on the gameplay as they did the character’s outfits.
Using a choice of swords, chainsaws, brass knuckles, and their ability to fly through the air with the greatest of ease, the lovely ladies of Onechanbara Z2 Chaos have to take out a gaggle of the undead, as well as other scary monsters and super creeps. Which, for the most part, requires you to mash the buttons as fast as humanly possible, only occasionally stopping to consider if it’s time to use one of your special attacks or a healing crystal. Just don’t take too long decide, since you’re probably surrounded by bad guys who’d like nothing more than to rip you limb from limb.
This, however, is where the problems start for Onechanbara Z2 Chaos. Instead of basing the combat on a God Of War-esque skill/timing-based system, where you have to pick the right kind of attack and even occasionally have to block or jump out of the way, this takes more of a Dynasty Warriors approach, where you have tons of enemies coming at you from all angles, but most aren’t that tough. Except that they’re a bit tougher here than in Dynasty Warriors, and can usually take three of four whacks from a sword, while the enemies in Dynasty Warriors typically just need one or two.
Even when faced with an enemy who should require some strategy — like the zombie cops who carry riot shields — Onechanbara Z2 Chaos still lets you get away with just button mashing until they fall down and go boom. The exception to this is when you face a boss, since this is when the game takes a hint from God Of War by having you following specific button prompts to finish them off…though they’re really just quick swipes on the controller’s touch screen.
Onechanbara Z2 Chaos also suffers from problems that should’ve been fixed before it shipped. Like how enemies will sometimes get hung up on objects in the world. Or how the camera is slightly too loose, and yet there’s no way to adjust it. Or how you’ll sometimes cut enemies who are clearly too far away.
But perhaps the most damning thing I can say about Onechanbara Z2 Chaos is that it gets rather repetitive. Sure, there are times when the enemies vary, as do the locations, but never very much or for very long. Instead, it’s just a lot of slicing and dicing, with little in the way of variety to break up the monotony.
This, however, is not to say that Onechanbara Z2 Chaos is a lost cause. If you’re in the mood to mindless whack a bunch of the living impaired, this gives you that in spades. And does so in a manner that’s far more compelling than anything I’ve seen in a Dynasty Warriors game; mostly because — unlike those games, where the enemies are seemingly endless, and battles are more abandoned than won — Onechanbara Z2 Chaos gives you a limited number of enemies to fight at any one time. Even if that limit sometimes seems unlimited.
Onechanbara Z2 Chaos also has a neat gameplay trick that wouldn’t work for God Of War, but could for another game of this kind. When you hit the “X” button to jump, it often sends you character flying straight at an enemy. Sure, it’s neither new nor unique to this series, but it does keep the fight flowing, as well as make the battles in larger areas more engaging, since you spend a lot less time running around and more time smacking people.
Still, for all the fun I had cutting down hordes of zombies, it’s hard not to imagine how much better Onechanbara Z2 Chaos could’ve been had they spent more time on the controls and the gameplay than the character’s outfits. Especially since, when you’re playing the game, the women are so busy hacking and slashing and jumping around that you really have no opportunities to ogle them (well, unless you do so intentionally like a creep). As a result, their outfits aren’t so much sexy, or even silly, as they are superfluous.
Well, mostly. While I can forgive most of the overly skimpy outfits in Onechanbara Z2 Chaos, there is one that’s truly offensive: the “Strawberries & Banana” costume, which is only included in the special “Banana Split” version of the game, and is just two strategically-placed strawberries and a banana (you can see a NSFW video of it in action here). Though, to be honest, it only bothers me for being a waste of a good banana.
In the end, Onechanbara Z2 Chaos is a somewhat fun but deeply flawed and rather redundant hack and slash action game…that just happens to feature scantily-clad women for no discernable reason. Which, unfortunately, makes this neither sexy nor sexual, just kind of there.