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Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad review

Little more than an excuse to ogle cosplay girls, but did we ever really need an excuse?

Pros

  • Svelte
  • sexy character models
  • Fun swordplay
  • Gallons and gallons of blood

Cons

  • Terrible
  • brain-dead AI
  • Awful text narration sequences
  • Repetitive boss battles

Onechanbara is one of those bizarre, yet wildly popular franchises that makes absolutely zero sense without the disclaimer "Japanese fan favorite." The series is so popular that not only has it spawned games on the PS2 and Wii, but also an admittedly awful feature film of the same name. Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad, however, is the first installment to make the leap to HD on the Xbox 360.

The visuals pay off almost immediately. Loading up the game triggers a gratuitous cutscene, wherein brooding anti-heroine Aya languishes in a steamy shower as her sometimes rival and little sister Saki watches a news report of the latest invading zombie horde. Aya, hearing the news, bolts out of the shower sans bikini and ready to fight. Sadly, this is the longest of the few cutscenes. Most action sequences are related through text seemingly penned by a budding fanfic writer.

Skipping past the cutscene and straight into gameplay treats you to some svelte graphics provided that you only look at the playable character models. Aya, Saki and later Annna, an unlockable character and sometime Resident Evil stand-in, are rendered in loving detail right down to Aya's trampstamp tattoo. For the curious, yes, breast physics make an ample appearance. Everything else is lamentable. Graveyards, deserted avenues and parking garages provide a drab backdrop against which you'll splatter zombie puree to a grating soundtrack of shrill guitar riffs and Castlevania-ripped organs.

The combat in Onechanbara ties directly to the story and mostly satisfies. Sisters Aya and Saki each possess the Baneful Blood, an enriched lifeblood that grants speed and strength. You mash the X button to execute various cuts and swipes with either Aya or Saki's katana blades. The sisters' interface also includes a gore meter that increases the more zombie blood you spill. Once it tops off, the Baneful Blood triggers a rampage mode which increases speed and damage at the cost of a few health per tick. There is a tiny bit of gunplay with Annna but it's incredibly inaccurate due to single plane aiming system.

More Info

GenreAction
DescriptionProtagonists Aya and Saki are sisters with a passion for obliterating zombies, and an equal enthusiasm for showing off their assets in this 3rd person action bloodfest.
PlatformXbox 360
US censor ratingMature
Release date10 February 2009 (US), (UK)
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