Having a friend around to help fend off the undead hordes is, generally speaking, a good thing. However, when the main protagonist is capable of staving off the undead onslaught all on his own, a partner starts to become something more of a novelty. That is the essence of Onechanbara’s co-op play, something that exists as a novelty instead of a true co-op experience. There were times when I was playing Onechanbara that I found myself wondering why exactly a partner was needed at all. After all, the basic sword weapon I started off with was pretty good at slashing through the zombies, and even the boss characters weren’t difficult enough to really require another person. The game must have been reading my thoughts for just a couple of levels later, I was suddenly playing the game by myself. No, my partner didn’t quit the game and no, he didn’t die. I was simply playing the game by myself while he watched. To put it another way: a game that features co-op game play actually contains levels where only one person is playing. The reason why this is a couch co-op only game became very clear to me in that instant. If you could play this game online, countless people would be off doing whatever else they could to ease the boredom while their partners shouted into their headsets, “You can come back now! The solo portion of the co-op game is over!”
A modern day video game, by a broad definition, is comprised of three main elements: story, game mechanics, and graphics. A really good video game likely has a great story, excellent game mechanics, and graphics that work well for the particular game. This isn’t always the case, as there are quite a few games out there that stand out because they have a really great story or a really great game mechanic or the most amazing graphics ever seen, but most of the bigger games released these days successfully hit at least two of those three areas. Onechanbara, in spite of the questionable attention heaped upon its protagonist, does have graphics, at least, that are appropriate for a game that’s the equivalent of a bad pulp fiction novel, i.e., it reads poorly and it feels like it was put together with bits of straw and sawdust. Being an action horror game, though, Onechanbara brought to mind one of the great horror writers of the 20th century, H.P. Lovecraft, and the group of writers that followed. In “The Salem Horror”, Henry Kuttner tells of an Old One that is described as “the Thing that should not be.” Certainly in the world of games, Onechanbara approaches that same level of description as “the game that should not be.”
The Co-Op Experience: The Co-Op Experience: Slice and dice your way through hordes of relentless zombies as bikini clad babes. Both you and your buddy control one of the Onechanbara in this Devil May Cry style action game.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.