Onechanbara: vorteX Preview
Ever thought Dead Rising needed more swords, jiggling boobies, and panty shots? Of course you did. I got to check out a new Xbox 360 game called Onechanbara: vorteX at a recent D3 Publisher event, and this looks like it's right up the alley of every red-blooded Anime fan who enjoys zombie-killing games with tons of purple blood and hot ladies in cool costumes slicing and dicing up the evil.
Ok, let's be honest here. This game is an adaptation of a current-gen title from Japanese developer Tamsoft, so its move to the 360 doesn't make for one of the best looking games. But the action is fast and furious here as you take either Saki or Aya through a city filled with the undead and chop up everything in your path.
The controls start out simple enough: X is your main attack button, A jumps, Y performs kicks, and B throws special moves. But as you start carving up zombies and their purple blood starts to fly, you'll notice that your sword gets more and more covered in the stuff. In Onechanbara, this is a bad thing, as the more blood is on your sword, the slower your attacks become. If your sword winds up getting fully covered in the goop, you'll start having "issues" where your next swipe might get your sword stuck, impaled, in a zombie's body, opening you up to their attacks and forcing you to fight to get your weapon free. That's why it's important to tap the Left Bumper regularly, allowing you to clean off your sword with a good flick.
The zombie blood plays another role in the game, too. You see, both Saki and Aya themselves can get covered in the zombie juice, which not only has a visual effect but also fills up a meter on the lower left side of the screen. When the meter fills up, your character goes into Rage Mode and does massive damage, but her health bar starts continuously going down. It's up to you to decide whether it's worth it - and at any time you can go to a special statue in some stages, or use an item in your inventory, to be cleansed of the zombie blood. Some bosses require you to be in Rage mode to beat them, which adds a little challenge to the whole thing.
A third character named "Annna" (yep, three n's - that's what it said!) is available on some stages. She's a zombie-killing cop who uses guns and is immune to zombification. In the demo I got to try, Annna had a pair of pistols she could use as well as a shotgun/submachine gun combo that was particularly deadly. In most levels you get to swap between your main two characters with a tap of the right trigger, kind of like when you tag in characters in fighting games like Dead or Alive, but there's also a mode you can play that forces you to stick with one character. This is definitely tougher because you've got a more limited range of moves to use and only one health bar instead of two to work with.
There is some added depth here in that your characters gain skill points allowing you to do more damage, last longer with a bigger life bar, move faster, or perform longer, deadlier combos. There's even some timing-based attacks you can do if you delay and time your button presses correctly in mid-combo. There are juggle attacks to send your enemies up into the air, and large sweeping moves that can kill multiple zombies at once. Aya has some cool throwing stars for taking out zombies at a distance (and eventually can wield two swords at once), while Saki's special attacks include wrestling moves for grappling the zombies with. Cooperative play will be included as well as some levels where Aya rides a motorcycle, although I didn't get a chance to try either of these.
While Onechanbara: vorteX may not be the most ambitious or best-looking of action games, this one could be worth looking into - especially if it comes in at a budget price. If you're into lots of item unlocks then this one will have plenty of longevity, as there are plenty of costumes and accessories you can unlock for the girls. Look out for Onechanbara: vorteX on the Xbox 360 in 2007.