Since Namco oversold the new Ni No Kuni special collection I have to wait another week or so until my copy arrives to do my review on it. So in the mean time I will do my review on something I picked up from gamestop for a few bucks.
Onechanbara bikini samurai squad is your basic hack and slash single player game, although it does have a mode for two players, the split screen makes the camera difficult to use and difficult to even play. You play as 3 women named Aya, Saki, and Anna who fight some organization named the ‘Organization’ that apparently likes to release zombies on the world as part of some epic plan to take over the world. Aya and Saki are sisters that have an ability called the Baneful Blood that makes them super human but freak out if they are covered in blood… and Anna is some chick who shows up with a bunch of guns in the beginning. Developed by D3 publisher and released for 360 and Wii in 2009, this is the first of its series to be released in North America, if you like blood and boob graphics then welcome, if not, you came to the wrong neighborhood.
You start as Aya and Saki who fight waves of zombies as the Organization sends people to catch Saki for some experiment to exploit the baneful blood ability. Why Aya would not do just as well is never really explained, but as you play through the game a lot of concepts and characters (I assume from previous games) are mentioned as vital parts of the plot but never actually explained. The game seems to expect you to know most of the previous plot already and does not elaborate on much if anything. The voice acting is also in Japanese only, which would be fine except the scrolling english text is in a font so odd it is difficult to read. Then later you pick up your third and final playable character Anna, the only ranged character of the three, she does not have the baneful blood but wants to save her brother from the Organization.
That’s basically the entire game, sometimes someone gets kidnapped, split up, or some psycho zomibe/human/baneful blood experiment will show up to give you a hard time. There is no end to the zombies though, so go nuts. The game does have some mildly interesting modes to break up the long plot. Survival mode where you just fight endless waves of zombies, which is nice and makes it easier to build up character stats for story mode. Or the dress up mode where you can earn clothes to dress up any of the 3 playable characters, or you can leave them in their underwear… ya know… whatever works for ya.
Have you ever been so stunned by the background or level layout of a game it was almost too distracting? Well you don’t have to worry about that here. It is a good thing the resolution is so bad because most backgrounds look so terrible it hurts. What makes it worse is that the game reuses the same 3 or 4 areas throughout nearly the entire story. So there is little to no change in scenery through out 90% of the game, you have the city, a run down building/parking garage, or a cave. One level took place in a forest which was a nice change of pace, then I realized the level just had me do a big circle around the area a couple of times and I went back into a cave, dashing my hopes for some small change.
The only thing in this game that doesn’t look entirely terrible is the playable characters, but movement and attack animation is so poor and stiff it kind of ruins it. Even the human type bosses all look exactly the same, except of course for the female bosses who also appear to exist for the soul purpose of fan service (and one very angry killer whale).
The game does have a few short FMV’s though that breaks up the endless zombie killing and adds some semblance of a story to this game, most of them look good and actually add something to the game. In fact, in one FMV where you fight Himiko and she transforms using the baneful blood, I can honestly say I was very scaroused. However, since there are only about 6 or 7 FMV’s in the entire game it is not near enough to save this train wreck. I do remember playing the Wii version years ago and at least that version had an excuse for the terrible graphics, but it also had more interesting and diverse playable characters.
You have the opening music which is mostly just a long jingle playing during the Main Menu and a closing song (the only thing that can be called an actual song). During gameplay you get a lot of background music that sounds like a cross between rock and techno that tries to match the mood of the game from level to level. Mostly though it all sounds the same and you never really notice any of it.
Everything else sounds the same, every zombie, every attack, everything sounds exactly the same. The only difference between any zombie or character in this game is the VO. The voice work is not that bad for the most part, each character with a speaking part does it well and sounds fairly independent of other characters. Of course I am still fairly sure they use the same basic attack sounds. Other than that the any sound work is either marginal or just repeats non stop through out the entire game.
Short explanation? You cut up zombies good (and I mean good unless you want a pair of legs chasing you around), level up, beat the game, and then wonder why you ever played in the first place. It’s a hack and slash game and that is all you do, except for one level where you drive a motorcycle in a straight line for a few minutes, even though the animation is so bad you don’t even appear to be moving. For the most part you run through narrow passageways clogged with zombies that you have to mow down and if you see an open area it is a good sign you will be locked into a small area until you kill everything else, kind of like a last man standing cage match. Sometimes you are required to kill zombies until you can find some item to progress, but that is just more hacking.
As you progress through the story those paths only become more clogged until it is impossible to get through without hacking a path clear. The cage match sections work in much the same way, at some points in the final levels I found myself locked in with so many zombies it was difficult to move and I just kept spamming the attack button while I watched Netflix on my laptop. The only thing that stops the player from just hacking away for ever is a gore effect, the amount of blood that builds up on the sword that weakens the attack and eventually causes the sword to just get stuck in enemies, forcing you to stop and clean it off. Some enemies also have cheap abilities making them impossible to kill without certain moves. This becomes very frustrating though because the game does not explain this or any of the special moves the User has at their disposal. The only reason I figured out a lot of the different moves in this game, of which there are only a few, is thanks to a lot of button crunching.
The main problem that slows down the player, especially players new to the game, is the complete lack of direction in the game. The player can wander in circles for long periods of time without finding anyway to progress, and since many levels look exactly the same and even use the same map it is easy to forget where you have and haven’t been. This only becomes worse as the levels get bigger and the enemies become more irritating to fight. The only upside to this is it can make leveling up quicker, but only if the player can survive long enough.
The interesting part of gameplay is the leveling system, for every zombie killed the player can pick up a yellow orb, no idea what it is supposed to be, that the player uses to level up certain stats on their character of choice. Leveling up is a long process but the upgrade is obvious and really helps make playing easier. There is also the berserk effect, the more Aya and Saki kill zombies the more blood they are covered in until they reach a point where they go berserk and their attack power sky rockets. Most enemies go down after only a couple of hits in this mode making it really easy to beat any level. However, being in this mode causes health to drain extremely fast over time, kind of killing the fun of it.
Overall, only one thing comes to mind when I think about this game “oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god”. This game is bland and broken on many levels with little to no redeeming features to it. I spent a few bucks on this at gamestop and it almost feels like I spent too much. Although I did find brief enjoyment in the dress up section, it was only momentary. Any other attempt at being original in this game is half baked and broken or just falls short due to all of the other problems already present.
The only replay value in this game is to collect all of the xbox achievements which requires you to play through 4 different difficulty levels, but who really wants to go through it that many times? The rest of the achievements are just simple grinding or overly complicated. If you like crazy hack and slash games, or enjoy extreme amounts of blood and fan service in your game (or just have a few bucks on hand) then you could try this game or pay someone to slap you around a bit, either way. If you like fan service, I left one last picture just for you as I wait for Ni Nu Kuni to save me from this living hell.