Onee Chanbara ORIGIN (PlayStation 4) Review

By William Lowery 07.01.2021

Review for Onee Chanbara ORIGIN on PlayStation 4

D3's Oneechanbara series is Bayonetta on a budget. The games lack polish and aren't the best, but there is something oddly appealing about slaughtering zombies as women with questionable fashion choices. The first two Oneechanbara's were only released in Japan and Europe. It wouldn't be until 2009 that the series arrived in North America with Wii and Xbox 360 entries. Five years after the release of Oneechanbara ZII Chaos, developer Tamsoft has decided to revisit the series' roots with Oneechanbara Origin, a remake of the first two games.

For centuries, generations of the Baneful Bloodline have sworn to keep the Earth safe from the wrath of the living dead. Aya is on such a mission when an informant contacts her with information on the whereabouts of her sister Saki. She discovers Saki intends on using black magic to resurrect their deceased mother and needs to put a stop to it.

Though the story attempts to seem complicated with plotlines involving sibling rivalry, cloning, and other shenanigans, the plot is nothing special. The lively banter between Aya and Saki is fun to listen to, but the story only serves to push things along until the final boss is defeated and the end credits start rolling.

Like its predecessors, Oneechanbara Origin is a hack and slash adventure. Aya and Saki traverse graveyards, hospitals, and other locations to slaughter the undead and stop the culprit responsible for the unrest. Since it is a remake, many problems prevalent in the PS2 titles have been fixed.

Screenshot for Onee Chanbara ORIGIN on PlayStation 4

Gone are the clunky controls, confusing level design, and poorly explained mechanics. From the get-go, the game controls great and the combat, while simple on the surface, has a lot of depth. Timing is the name of the game in Oneechanbara Origin. Mindlessly pressing square and triangle will not get Aya and Saki anywhere; in fact, it's more likely to make their weapons clog up with blood quicker.

The mechanics are easy to understand. Timing each strike buffs the damage of each subsequent attack, and when an enemy is weakened, it can be finished with a cool combo finisher. Evading attacks is done by dodging or parrying. Dodging at the right time fills up the Xtasy gauge, a special meter that lets one unleash a devastating attack when it's full. When timed correctly, parrying makes bad guys temporarily vulnerable.

Screenshot for Onee Chanbara ORIGIN on PlayStation 4

Initially, Aya is the only character to play as, but halfway through the campaign, Saki joins the fray. Both girls have different fighting styles. Aya is agile and prefers to use one or two swords to make mincemeat of the ghouls. Her sister Saki uses a sword but is more of a heavy hitter. Her other weapon, a pair of brass knuckles, turns her into a brawler capable of unleashing scores of punches against the undead.

There is a lot of fun to be had slicing or punching zombies and watching the hit/kill counter rise as the two girls cut a path through the living dead. Enemies include standard issue ghouls, as well as police and military variants who are armed. Certain types, like the Mudmen, can only be defeated with certain attacks. Each stage culminates in a boss fight against a bizarre creature. It's not every day players fight a zombie bear or a 50 ft. tall infant that shoots a tentacle out of its navel.

The better you do, the higher the ranking you receive at the end of a level. A higher rank means more experience and currency is earned. Experience results in skill points to apply to a character's health, attack, or defence. Meanwhile, money is used to buy items like health crystals or rings that grant permanent buffs to each girl.

Screenshot for Onee Chanbara ORIGIN on PlayStation 4

While the combat is fast and fluid, the rest of the game is not as well-rounded. Levels are linear and lifeless. Though the cel-shaded art style gives the locations personality, it doesn't cover the fact they funnel you from one point to the next, with little incentive to explore them. A parkour system was added that lets the girls vault and climb over objects and walls, but it's only used a handful of times.

Even on higher difficulties, the game is a cakewalk. While new enemy types are introduced at a gradual pace, they aren't much of a challenge since Aya and Saki level up quickly and become capable of annihilating anything that gets in their way. Proper difficulty has been a problem for the series since its inception, and as Oneechanbara Origin shows, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Screenshot for Onee Chanbara ORIGIN on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Oneechanbara Origin rights a lot of wrongs found in the early entries, yet it still feels oddly antiquated. The combat is riotous and entertaining, but the overall experience becomes monotonous after a few hours of play. Plus, it's barebones. With only a campaign and an endless wave survival mode, the game is slim on content, unusual since previous entries offered a lot of bang for their buck. It has a B-movie charm that's hard to resist, but other titles of similar fare have shown its possible to mix titillation with action to make a great time.

Developer

Tamsoft

Publisher

D3 Publisher

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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