Onechanbara: vorteX - hands-on

The question at this point isn't whether Onechanbara: vorteX will come out in the US. The question is why it's taken this long. Now a long-running budget series in Japan, the Onechanbara (a Japanese pun meaning "big sister sword fight") games are built around a very simple concept: hot chicks with very little clothing slice up hordes of slow, dull-witted zombies and get covered with gore in the process.

It's exactly as stupid and repetitive as it sounds, but it's hard to imagine a game that's better geared toward the base urges of twentysomething male gamers (unless maybe it was called Naked Lesbian Explosion Punching, or something). And hey, with the 360's raw zombie-generating power, it's actually kind of fun. (Want to see it in motion? Hit the Movies tab above and look for "Onechanbara - gameplay trailer - 12-11-06.")

Strange as it sounds, Onechanbara: vorteX does have a plot, albeit a pretty simple one: two sisters, Aya (a bikini-clad cowgirl) and Saki (a teen in a Japanese school uniform) see zombies on TV, and decide that it's a good idea to run outside with swords and rip shit up. Eventually, they meet a policewoman named Anna, who mixes up the gameplay a bit by toting a small arsenal of powerful handguns.

As for the gameplay itself, think Dynasty Warriors with lots of blood and bounce. You can switch between two of the three heroines on the fly, but whichever one you choose, expect a whole lot of button-mashing as you enter fenced-off combat zones and start slicing waves of zombies to pieces. You'll also need to collect coins and other assorted useful items, and the bigger, tougher monsters (which range from skeletal mummies to huge monstrosities made from dozens of corpses) can be a challenge, but mostly it's a mindless cakewalk.


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