D3 Publisher is going back to its grindhouse-inspired roots with a remake of Tamsoft’s first two OneeChanbara games, packaged together in one release called OneeChanbara Origin. One of the strangest “how the heck did this become a series” examples out there, OneeChanbara started life as a “Simple Series” release. Now we’re seeing the second localized OneeChanbara game this generation. While this is a remake of some extremely low-budget PlayStation 2 games, the spirit here is the same as the Simple Series concept. Do as much as possible with only a little to start with.
OneeChanbara fits this philosophy by way of character action, channeling the likes of Devil May Cry in its over the top violence and impressive combos. There are a couple of unique and frankly cool twists here of course, which seems to have contributed to a flashy, trashy, direct to bargain bin b-movie romp. If you’re into grindhouse-y sex and violence, or at least can tolerate it, there’s a lot of nuance to discover here. So I’d like to talk about that a bit, and show you all what I mean!
OneeChanbara Origin Combat Guide
Like many balls to the wall character action games, OneeChanbara Origin plays by its own set of rules. Part of the point here, as is the case in similar titles, is to figure out what those rules are and find ways to frag your knuckles across the limits. So with that in mind, I’ve broken this piece down into a list of core concepts, things to keep in mind if you want to maximize your already ridiculous combo strings.
How is there reloading in a sword game? Well, a gimmick that has stuck around since the series’ beginning is a focus on, well, splatter. Grindhouse-style cinema and splatterpunk have a huge cross-section in Japan’s cult media, and if you’ve ever seen something like Meatball Machine or Tokyo Gore Police you’ll be on the same page. Protagonist Aya (and subsequent characters) get covered in blood as they eviscerate the undead, and that is a boon and a burden.
As you deal damage, a little meter on the leftwards UI shows Aya’s sword filling up with red. That’s her sword being covered in blood and viscera, and losing its edge in the process. To get back to where you need to be, you’ll have to “Reload,” slinging the blood off the blade and getting your speed and damage back. Of course, this is a slow animation, leaving you vulnerable. If you do it during a combo, however, you’ll get a Quick Reload that barely interrupts the action.
The problem there is Aya leaps back a bit, and you’ll be just out of range if you’re focused on a single enemy. Luckily, the window of opportunity for getting that combo number up is pretty generous, and if you dodge roll right afterwards you’ll keep your combo and momentum alive. You can interrupt your combos with a Quick Reload at just about any time during a combo, even cancelling basic attacks. It’s super versatile, and while it’s another button to worry about you never want your sword to stay in the red.
OneeChanbara knows exactly what it is, and there’s no better indication than doing well in combat giving you “Cool” bonuses. It’s like PaRappa the Rapper but if Joe Chin was murdered by Travis Touchdown. Getting a Cool rating on anything you do, from attacking to jumping to finishing combos. If you take an action immediately after throwing out an attack, with perfect timing, you’ll enter Cool Combination mode. This includes attacking, jumping, and dodging. If you do it right you’ll know, because you’ll start seeing extra light around your character. This increases your damage and speed, and even adds to your possible combo string (extra button press)!
Parry and Predict
Timing isn’t just for getting high scores; it’s also for surviving. There’s no blocking in OneeChanbara Origin, only dodging and parrying. Dodging is almost a better tool for mobility than defense, but parrying is crucial. A successful parry causes a little AoE explosion that also does a ton of stun damage. Getting those brief periods of stun is easily the best way to get damage in on bosses effectively, so getting used to those cruelly tiny parry windows is key. Learning to parry well can shave minutes off of boss encounters.
A “Predict” is what happens if you dodge an attack with perfect timing. You’ll know you got it when the action briefly goes slow-mo and your character gets fancier with their footwork. Getting a Predict is less mandatory, but they do give you massive boosts to your Xtasy meter, which gives you a special combo finisher when it’s full..
Practice and Check in With the Command List
It seems like OneeChanbara Origin momentarily forgot it was a third-person action game, and slipped a little fighting game energy into the mix. Everything I wrote above only goes so far at first, because the game is also governed by a leveling system. Every level you’ll get some skill points to feed into your stats (attack/HP/defense), but more importantly your movelist will continuously expand.
You may notice it organically at the beginning, when your basic combo strings suddenly get longer. But as you level up more nuance will pour into your toolbox, and the game doesn’t really draw attention to it. But not only can you check your command list from the pause menu, you can also see the unlock requirements for stuff you don’t have yet. You’ll get a ton of extra additions to your “Main Combo,” but you’ll also get totally new variations and even inputs as you go. But it’s tough to test things out in the middle of everything.
Back to that fighting game reference, OneeChanbara Origin gives you a way to test out what you’re capable of. Practice mode really is straight-up fighting game-style. You can set several parameters when you start, including enemy types, numbers, and even behavior. You can set them to be invulnerable or not, and set your Xtasy meter as well.
A final tip: Aya’s “Main Combo” is simply a giant string of pressing the Square button. Most of your other moves use the Main Combo as a springboard, but there’s one thing to keep in mind. As the Main Combo grows, you don’t need to press it every time before you can do something else. In the command list, anything that branches from Main Combo means you can use it at any time during that string. You can even just press Square once or twice, and still have access to the full move list.
As you can see, there’s a surprising level of nuance to the combat in OneeChanbara Origin. It may seem like something slapped together to wring easy money from the Otaku Gamer crowd, and considering Tamsoft is also the house of Senran Kagura I don’t blame you. But after spending some time with OneeChanbara Origin and really diving into its systems, there’s a lot of game here under the corny cheesecake presentation. And if you were already a fan or interested in this game without looking to justify it, hopefully this guide helps you chase even higher score.