After nine grueling battles against flamboyant caricatures of noble Sengoku-era fighters over the span of four or five hours, I at one point got 5,649 hits in a row in Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes, slaughtering hundreds of soldiers with Saika Magoichi and her arquebuses. I am sure that if she was so strong in reality as she is in this game, everyone in the world would be speaking Japanese today.

There would be two results: we would now lack a fleshed out array of swear words, and we would be unable to play Sengoku Basara with ridiculous English voice-acting, which would be a damned shame.

The Sengoku Basara series (in game and anime form) presents the Saturday morning versions of ancient Japanese historical figures to the modern youth of vending machine land. Imagine the reverse-localized United States corollary, hitting Wii systems all over Tokyo: stomp through history with Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, shooting the native people during moonlit Christmas ambushes while speaking most righteous Japanese. Candy sprinkle topping: despite the game being subtitled "Samurai Heroes," virtually none of the characters could remotely be considered Samurai, and only some of them are Heroes.

Since the game's so completely steeped in Japanese themes, there is something rottenly disingenuous about it all. At one point a character says "I assure you, Magoichi Saika is not a name you will soon forget!" And I space off for a couple seconds, staring at the screen glossy-eyed, a man with fifteen months of total Japanese immersion under his belt, and say aloud, to nobody, "Who's that now?" It was my own character's name. They even use the English pronunciations for Japanese names and words, like if Todd Bill from Kmart said he wanted to "sing some carryokie and do some kamakazzy." For Todd that's fine, but coming from Date Masamune it seems weird, like Dick Sargent.

And so against all rationale the schlock-fest is charming. You think "you aren't fooling anyone, Johnny Yong Bosch," and then this yukster in the game goes on and on about cooking his hot pot, and then you listen to some romantically involved couple yammer on and on about harvesting rice, and their pointless babble actually sort of grows on you. Before long you're stabbing people and listening to your Samurai Hero deliver lines like a high school play and you don't want them to stop oh god never stop cause it's just so terrible and it's not like this is a serious game or anything.

And then you wonder, did Capcom's localization team decide to ham it up on purpose? It is a question worth considering because I imagine that like the executives responsible for New Coke, they are neither that stupid nor that smart.

Speaking of seriousness: are you the kind of person who likes to stack objects really high until they crash to the ground? Do you enjoy balancing brooms upside-down on your palm? Sengoku Basara is like that, but with none of that pesky failure. Point yourself toward bad guys (in this game, that means just face some direction), and push the buttons of Y and X, occasionally at the same time, and perhaps in conjunction with the triggers, and watch the bodies bobble through the air like lotto balls on drawing night as the numbers soar into the stratosphere and people scream in agony. Occasionally, listen to enemies throw out sublime, randomly-timed, spoken incongruities as you deliver fatal blows to their bodies—one foe comments as you beat her to a pulp that she can tell you don't like fish because of your eyes, and another bulking swordsman remarked to me as I fatally shot him through the kidneys with a musket that he was basically the greatest swordsman ever, and there was no way that I'd make it out alive. Then I busted open his wooden storage box and ate all his rice balls, because he is a little bitch.

Other things: something like fifteen awesomely designed playable characters, a map-of-Japan battle selection system with branching mission paths, and totally sweet, slammin' rock music that sounds like it is being played by tiny, nimble hands. Level ups bring new moves and the ability to kill dudes faster—I went from level one to level thirteen after my first so-so battle, and from there everything was simple. There are lots of numbers flying everywhere, and there is enormous money falling from the sky (I guess in ancient Japan for a couple years they switched over to using FUCKING ZENNY GODDAMMIT CAPCOM). Also there is accessory crafting, if you are into that.

Somehow, no matter how ridiculous it seems, it is precisely this ridiculousness that makes Sengoku Basara a remarkable game: it's far too unique a generic hack-and-slash to ever seem generic, and even though the gameplay consists of "kill it all," killing it all has never been so streamlined and enjoyable. You will never scramble for yellow keys, magic switches, or talk to villagers. You will not find yourself saying "shut up, where are the dudes," because there are always the dudes. You will be given free reign to totally overthrow Japan by gaining massive XPs and saying egregious, shocking things in English, and then you will slice/shoot/jump/roll and radiantly murder a billion guys, which is basically why video games still exist in the first place.