I spent part of last weekend finishing the recently-domestically-released Xbox 360 Oneechanbara game, which turned out to be exactly as advertised – you run around as a sword-wielding zombie hunter with a refreshingly relaxed attitude to her dress code, and beat the hell out of zombies. If you like slamming the X button and watching zombies get diced – and, hey, who doesn’t like that – this game satisfies.
Now and then, you will step into the role of your younger sister, who moves a little differently and wears a little more clothing but who is otherwise very similar to play – run around, hit things with swords until everything falls down, move on to the next fight.
Everything’s still good up to this point.
Unfortunately, you are occasionally forced to play as the game’s third character, Annna, and yes there are three Ns in her name, and those segments represent periods of time when the game is Not Fun, because Annna comes with some of the worst-ever camera angles I’ve ever seen. Seriously, you’ll be using the game’s mini-map and radar to aim and firing blindly off the screen most of the time in the Annna segments, which is compensated for somewhat by Annna not really having to aim very much.
To round out the complaints, the game sends you through the same set of city streets / parking garage / sewer system levels over and over again, hunting for keys the whole way, and I spent the entire game figuring out stuff that the manual hadn’t been polite enough to mention, like how to use healing items – or even that I HAD healing items – or how to drive a motorcycle through the game’s single vehicle level with no instructions provided.
Back to the good stuff: The publisher apparently decided to save some money on hiring English voice actors, so the player is spared that particular pain, the cutscenes look very cool even if the in-game graphics are about a generation-behind, a fair bit of the game takes place in a very recognizable street in Akihabara – and it’s an odd thing indeed when a game can inspire a feeling so closely akin to homesickness – and you get to fight a massive zombie version of Shamu.
It’s shallow, it’s eyeroll-inducing, it’s got a plot that might make more sense if the first two games in the series had ever been translated, and it was well worth playing. Now I just need to pick up the Wii sequel, because, you know, got to see how the cliffhanger resolves.