I know what you’re thinking.
Actually, depending on who’s reading this, I probably don’t and that’s for the best.
It’s been seven years since I first reviewed an Onechanbara game. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was also the last time I touched the series, content to simply go “yup, there’s something decent buried in there” before tipping my hat and walking away. Though I’d never go as far as to claim any sort of authority on the topic, my general takeaway of the many many many Onechanbara titles is that they’re all pretty much the same experience with some minor variation on the playable ladies and whatever clothes they happen to not be wearing, which begs the question as to what, exactly, the appeal is of this game in the modern era.
I’m certainly not going to sit here and pretend that I’m above it, but according to my extensive research (Wikipedia by way of Google), Z2 Chaos is the ELEVENTH game in the Onechanbara series. While one’s first instinct would be to point out the fact that that’s a very long time to go without being aware of the existence of internet pornography, I’m not here to shame. Like I said, there’s an actual game underneath all of that. It’s a very repetitive game with nonexistent level design and AI, but in terms of the character action standards we’ve come to know and love, the series as a whole has actually featured a rather involved combat system, often requiring unnaturally good timing to pull off “Cool Combos” and other attacks with names like “Chaos Special Deluxe Maelstrom” and the like. It’s that contrast that always confounded me; a series propelled by a very challenging and tedious gameplay loop wrapped in vapid anime cheesecake.
It’s some anime ass anime this time around too, with long protracted cut-scenes featuring Dragonball-esque transformations whilst hot J-Pop tracks blast in the background. In the quest to figure out exactly what gives the franchise so much staying power, I can’t help but assume that there are people actually invested in the story of these games, caring for the plight of Bikini Cowgirl 1, Bikini Cowgirl 2, Vampire Schoolgirl and Chainsaw Schoolgirl (official names by the way).
Now, I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a cathartic quality to mashing the X button over and over to make my 75% nude demon schoolgirl swordlady beat up a bunch of copy-pasted zombies, but I couldn’t ever imagine doing that and then going “you know, this really needs a follow up”. Seeing that this is only the third or fourth game in the series to get localized, maybe there is a cultural divide there that I’m missing.
My well-documented love of DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball says otherwise.