Review: Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal – Bursting at the seams

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Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal is a remastering of the Nintendo 3DS title and serves as a directors cut of its original version. Now with the game out in the wild, it’s time to see just what kind of trouble the ladies of Hanzo Academy and Hebijo Academy can get themselves into.

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SENRAN KAGURA Burst Re:Newal gets a January release date for PS4 and PC

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Originally released as a Nintendo 3DS exclusive, SENRAN KAGURA Burst; XSEED Games has revealed the classic beat ’em up port will be released on PlayStation 4 and PC starting January 22, 2019. Here’s what you need to know.

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Review: Senran Kagura Reflexions – Reflecting on what went wrong

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Senran Kagura Reflexions is the latest entry as a side-story game, one where players will take on the role of being a masseuse for the hard-working all-female cast of the Senran Kagura universe. Find out what we thought about giving these ladies a massage and if it’s something to enjoy.

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XSEED Games unveils a massive line-up for 2018

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It’s not often you get an email, one that’s filled to the brim with exciting information regarding both games new and old. Luckily for us, all of these games look exciting, are exciting, and the franchises they are from are some of the most renowned around the world by XSEED fans both new and old. With a new lineup featuring many of their famed franchises, XSEED Games has announced that Marvelous will be kicking off their offerings starting on April 25, 2018 with a PC re-release of the once Xbox 360 exclusive Bullet Witch.

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Review: Senran Kagura Estival Versus – What a Titillating Adventure

Pros:
+Shinobi Girls Heart has returned from Shinovi Versus
+Tons of new stages. Eight to Nine Chapters with around 7 stages.
+Dialogue is rather hilarious. Come for the fanservice, stay for the stories
+Soundtrack offers a few standout tracks such, read the review for more on this

Cons:
-Feels more like a side story to Shinovi Versus than a proper sequel
-Levels tend to be re-used quite a bit. Only differences are mission goals.
-Background score tends to be repeats from previous titles
-Both PlayStation 4 and Vita versions suffer from minor frame rate drops
-Fanservice has gotten even worse


 

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When you read the pros and cons above, it’s hard to not-state that the series is all about the fan service in regards to the high-school aged or slightly older girls. It’s what Senran Kagura is known for, but in this latest version? It’s getting to be just about that. When we first experienced Senran Kagura almost two years ago, the series has become one that we highly appreciate for its combat mechanics, knee-slap worthy jokes, and even the anime-esque art style that keeps the series alive. Let alone does the series keep us around for that, it also keeps us around because the combat tends to be quite enjoyable, but so does the DLC when it actually has something to offer to the game.

Having been plying the game since its Japanese release thanks to co-writer and co-reviewer Greg F, we’ve taken a note of a few things in our joint review. Senran Kagura Estival Versus has seen some minor changes to its previous title. There are a few new mechanics such as bomb throwing, wall combat, and even special knock-outs that essentially go into a cut scene and humiliate the enemy characters in the best possible way. This isn’t odd for the franchise though, it’s all about the knee-slapping jokes and the heavy fan service and these new “Creative Knock-outs” or as in the Japanese version “Purupuru” offers a unique twist to the game. The first one players are introduced to is one of the girls being knocked up into a taito drum and getting her butt literally spanked with taito drum sticks. Literally.

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While it’s worthwhile that we can shake our heads and laugh about this, this is a theme that sticks around for quite sometime throughout the entry. Something we’ve gotten used to by now even, but the real look at the game isn’t the fact that the main chapters are rather short leaving players to fly through the main campaign in roughly six hours. While that can be a disgruntling feature, one that has returned and remains soft in our hearts is the return of Shinobi Girls Heart. Or as Greg puts it, “Yo dog, I heard you like side stories so I put side stories in your side stories.”

While the main story is short, Shinobi Girls Heart allows us to once more take to the side stories to uncover new side stories to each of the girls. This giving us a true look behind the events of each character so that we get a bit more of a view from their side of things related to what’s going on with Estival Versus. While this is enjoyable, it’d be nice to see the main-campaign getting much of the same treatment. However, this wasn’t the case, and that leaves us with the feeling that this game is more of a continuation of Shinovi Versus instead of a true sequel. While that can be considered a troublesome flaw, we’ll cope with it for now. It’d be nice to see a true continuation with some of the girls either graduating from their schools or even becoming “Master’s” or in their case “Mistresses” of their schools to allow for a new and more dynamic cast.

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While playing the game on both the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4, both in Japanese and English versions for the Vita, we did take note of several things. The Japanese versions patch file has been staying ahead for a few weeks now. With the launch of 1.19 the game has seen a few changes while the American version is still sitting at 1.17, which only added in some of the new Purupuru Knock-Outs, a few bug fixes, and a few other behind the scenes notes. The biggest thing though is how the game has kept up since the Japanese version, which is pretty stable and runs as one would expect for a PlayStation Vita title. Just like the Japanese version, both the American PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita versions run into occasional frame rate drops that can make the game seem as if it were stuttering a bit. Nothing like sitting at a smooth 60fps until combat gets nuts and a lot of animated characters appear on screen knocking that frame rate down to what feels like between 45-50fps until combat lightens down a bit. While this seems like it is isolated to the PlayStation 4 variant. The PS Vita version seems to see the same framerate drops, but hardly as noticeable since that version tends to stick around an estimated 30fps. However, the PS4 version sees a lot more stability in the long run of things.

While performance does remain a question at hand, we do take a peek at the PlayStation Vita TV since Greg ran some tests on it just to ensure our review would be as accurate as possible. While we are used to seeing the PS TV get ignored a bit, the Vita TV still remains an important part to reviewing since many owners do use it and tend to prefer it so that they can play their Vita games on TV with the luxury of not staring at a tiny screen, but for those wondering if the game scales to the PS TV? You’re not getting that treatment this time around it seems. Without a post-release update, the Vita TV remains without proper scaling and looks almost atrocious on Vita TV. It’s best to get the PlayStation 4 version for the 10 USD more. Just not that the PS4 versions enemies all seem to render onscreen at once while the Vita version has pop-in enemies, rather extra waves of enemies in comparison to the Vita version. Or so it seems.

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While we do discuss the video capabilities and performance, the game does continue on with traditional cutscenes that variate between walls of text, character model reactions, and well animated shorts. All of this works well for the game as the narrating remains on-par with previous titles. But the one thing that comes down to really looking at the game isn’t necessarily just the graphics and video performance, but also controls. While we’ve become used to the franchise stun-locking our characters in combat, we’ve also seen the infamous return of button mashing in order to keep our enemies at bay, the title does enter in with some new combat mechanics. This includes wall-attacks, knock-up specials, and even parry attacks that tend to leave enemies pretty much out of the fray due to their inability to fight back. Just like before, players can use things such as bombs to knock enemies away, poison them, or simply do what I prefer and blow them up.

Sadly? That’s all that is truly new to the game outside of the Purupuru finishers that leave rival school characters in rather provocative positions while being in what little clothing they have or none only to be covered by glowing gold lights. While this is hilarious, it may deter some new series adopters left shaking their head, and wondering where the series is going to go from there. For those wanting to know about the disturbing Vita groping mechanics. It’s still there and still causes us to shake our heads. At least they censored the girls ages from the Japanese version so that American fans won’t feel as if they should be ashamed of themselves at the end of the day.

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus- PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita [Reviewed on both]
Developer: MARVELOUS
Publisher: XSEED Games
Price: 49.99 USD and 59.99 USD
Released: Available Now

While there could be more to go on about, it’s going to be hard to do so without looking at all the fan-service that has been given to this game, but at the heart of it all? Senran Kagura is a brawler that tries to take itself seriously when it comes down to core fighting mechanics unlike it’s comedic narrative that could leave a grown man or woman blushing. While fighting mechanics are at the games core, they’ve not grown enough to make themselves substantially different from previous titles. However, if you want to continue on laughing, blushing, and button smashing? This is the game for you if you can get over all the tits and arse this game has to offer.


 

Our review is based on a review copy that was provided to us by the games publisher.  For information about our ethics policy please click here.


 Final Score: 7 out of 10


 

About the Writers:

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

 

 

Greg_F_Heisenberg

Greg F. is an RPG enthusiast whom absolutely enjoys the niche titles that come across from the East. When it comes to beat-’em-up brawlers such as Senran Kagura. Greg knows the titles just about as good as anyone else, but his passion not-so-secretly sits with his love for retro games from the NES and Sega period. In his free time Greg contributes to B.A.T.G.R. with his knowledge of such feedback.

 

SENRAN KAGURA: Estival Versus Gets Dated and a “Endless Summer” Edition

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Ever wondered what would happen to those Buxom Brawlers we’ve become familiar with? What about the fact the series is about to bring it’s busy beat-’em’up touch to the PlayStation 4 this year? For those unfamiliar, both the PlayStation Vita version and PlayStation 4 versions of the game will launch on March 15th this year.

With the titles getting dated, our friends at XSEED Games have also revealed that the newest team of badass beauties, the Overseers of the Festival, will be showing their faces in the newest title. For those of us who played the Japanese version have become acquinted with Sayuri, Ryōki, Renka, Hanabi, and Kafuru, who each possess a unique Shinobi Transformation and utilize powerful Ninja Art. These deadly ladies also seem to have taken a liking for their sunny island of paradise where… They’re in another dimension. Our silly ladies from the well known SENRAN series are whisked away and forced to operate the mystical Kagura Millenium Festival that seems to beckon new guests to this deadly island.

In turn, our friends at XSEED Games have also released a packshot of the new “Endless Summer” edition that will release through retailers in March. This release contains a 108-page art book packed full of artwork from the SENRAN KAGURA series, a randomly chosen set of ten 2.5” by 3.5” holographic “pin-up cards” featuring one of the six factions of buxom beauties each in two distinct poses, and a 2-disc soundtrack containing 70 total tracks. Players can grab the Vita version for 39.99 USD or the PS4 version for 49.99 USD.

This should be more than enough to keep you busy for a while! Stay tuned for our review.


 

About the Writer:

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

 

Senran Kagura Estival Versus Limited Edition Announced

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If you’re a fan of Senran Kagura you love the games silly and comical antics, the humour behind each character, but also the fact the game franchise has had amazing soundtracks even up to this point. Today XSEED Games has announced that they will be releasing a new limited edition in called the Bountiful “Endless Summer” Edition that features an art book, collectible character cards, and a 2-Disck Soundtrack. This edition with be available for both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita versions of the game when it launches in Early 2016.

For those unfamiliar with the series, the series is a 3rd person brawler that pits players as one of two dozen characters through each of the schools. Each character will feature new moves, more story, more attitude, and even more destruction with online matches that players will be able to undergo (PS4 version supports 10 players, PSVita version supports up to 4). With all the original characters returning, they will feature upgraded moves for players to master while new characters will feature entire new skill sets, along with a story that’s equal parts sexy and shocking, serious and scandalous, busty and bouncy.

Developed by Marvelous Inc. and Tamsoft, and published in North America by XSEED Games, SENRAN KAGURA ESTIVAL VERSUS is coming Q1 2016 to PS4™ and “PSVita” systems. The limited Endless Summer physical release has a suggested retail price of $59.99 for PS4™ system and $49.99 for “PSVita” system, while the digital release of the game on the PlayStation®Store will be available for $49.99 on PS4™ system and $39.99 on “PSVita” system. This title has yet to be rated by the ESRB.


About the Writer:

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

Review: Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson – Where Tattered Crimson Cloth Flows

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Pros:
+Hilarious dialog that truly brings the game to life
+A rather decently enjoyable soundtrack
+Higher frame rate than its predecessors
+Better quality character models
+Smoother combat and gameplay

Cons:
Short game without DLC to expand on the title
Character side stories removed
Lack of actual clothing variety to keep things unique and changed up
-Predictable plot, pointless camera controls
Cooperative play is unlocked through the progressing in the main campaign


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Breasts, bazongas, hooters, jugs, tits, etc: When it comes to Senran Kagura, this pretty much sums up its reputation among the gaming community. However, for those willing to give the series a shot, they’ll discover a competent brawler with decent visuals and delightful characters. The latest entry in the series, Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson, looks to expand upon the success of its predecessors but some shortcomings may prevent this title from truly standing out on its own.

Following the lead of the previous two entries, Deep Crimson is a story about Good, Evil, and Friendship. Taking place during the ending events of Burst, we join Hanzo Academy’s shinobi group led by Asuka as they storm Hebijo Academy’s castle to prevent one of Hebijo’s sponsors, Dogen, from summoning Orochi. Waiting for them is Hebijo’s own elite squad led by Homura. Both groups clash, eventually earning mutual respect and in the end, it’s up to Asuka and Homura to finish off Dogen. This is where Deep Crimson’s own story starts, and begins to fill in the events between Burst and Shinovi Versus.

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Plot wise, the story breaks down into Homura’s group coming to terms with becoming Renegades and Asuka’s group struggling with orders that leave them questioning what it means to be Good Shinobi. The first two chapters act as a recap and tutorial, allowing the player to become acclimated to the combat system. It isn’t until the third act that the plot begins to pick up, with an invasion of Yoma in Japan and the introduction of two new characters, Kagura, a reincarnated god-like being and her bodyguard, Naraku. In order to restore Kagura’s dormant powers, the duo harvests Red Orbs from the slain corpses of the Yoma Generals. Once Kagura has absorbed enough of these orbs, she’ll have enough power to wipe out the Yoma, which will result in massive devastation to the surrounding area and the loss of her life until she is reincarnated after another 100 years. If Kyoto is to be saved, Asuka and Homura must team up to stop Kagura.

Obviously, this isn’t the strongest plot out there and much of the story becomes predictable, with battles dragging on as they’re used to string along the plot in between bouts of dialog. I went into Deep Crimson knowing the story would be barebones but I was still disappointed with just how lackluster it was. Unlike previous entries, Deep Crimson lacks the extra side stories for each girl, which was useful for expanding backstory and explaining their motivations. Even with missions and the Yoma’s Den, the game can be completed in about fifth teen to twenty hours, barring how challenging you find replaying the game on higher difficulty levels.

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The saving grace of Deep Crimson is the writing and character interactions. Many times throughout my play through, I found myself audibly laughing at the various hijinks and shenanigans. My favorite sequence takes place at the beginning of chapter three, where Homura misplaces the bullet train tickets and her group has to stowaway on the train’s roof. Homura, being the leader she is, insists that they continue training which results in Yomi and Mirai’s clothing being blown away, causing them to go temporarily insane. Sadly, not all the writing is up to par. As I mentioned in the first impression, some of Mirai’s dialog is rather salty.
It only occurs a few times but when she does drop an F-bomb, it is a little bit jarring. It still feels out of place even if this is an M rated game.

Visually speaking, Deep Crimson is a step up from its predecessor. In-game models seem to be split between player controlled, low polygon count models and higher quality models used for special attacks and in-engine cut scenes. The transition between the two during combat segments is fairly smooth, with beautifully choreographed partner animations. Special attacks are colorful and vibrant making them stand out from the usually bland backgrounds. Speaking of character animations, the rumors are indeed true as breast physics are now approaching Dead or Alive levels of absurdity. Clothing destruction also received an upgrade as far as shredding fabric, but the ability to fully strip your target did not transition over from Shinovi Versus.

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Of course, you can’t discuss a Senran Kagura title without mentioning the Dressing Room. As with Burst and Shinovi Versus, the Dressing Room allows players to customize their favorite characters with various clothing and accessories. I was disappointed that the costume selection is only marginally better than Burst. Much of the selection is simply a palette swap of the same design, with each girl having four colors available for their attire. The worst offender is the selection of “swimsuits” available. Every pair of the 390+ (not including streetpass) available swimsuits consist of the same bottom and occasionally different top. This is minor in the grand scheme of things but is still a letdown when compared to everything offered in Shinovi Versus. Whether this is due to censorship on a Nintendo platform, hardware limitations, or simply a design choice is up for debate but the hope is additional DLC will correct this.

Another new feature to the dressing room are AR photos. Using the Question Block AR card included with the purchase of your 3DS, you can project your favorite characters into the real world. The use of AR is always intriguing but as neither the 3DS nor Vita have a high resolution camera, the blend of game assets and real world backgrounds is usually underwhelming.

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One thing Deep Crimson has in its favor is the music. The sound track really runs the gambit, with fast paced battle anthems, bubbly and cheerful mood music only to follow up with some of its more somber tracks for the occasional serious moment. For the most part, the collection is average but there are several tracks I found myself humming later on. Of note, “Pride of a Good Shinobi,” and “A Sharp, Quiet Mind,” by Mutsumi Ishimura are worth a listen. The voice acting is top notch as usual, with the Japanese cast nailing their roles. You can really hear each characters own personality come through, even if you can’t understand the language.

When looking at Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson, combat is the name of the game and this game does an admirable job in delivering that aspect. The core gameplay is still that of a button masher, utilizing Light and Heavy attacks in various combinations. If you’re not opposed to mindlessly power leveling, you can mash your way through the majority of the fights, however, later battles will become much more challenging, requiring the use of Ninja Arts. These powerful attacks are broken into three categories that target different sections of your enemy: top, bottom, and both. By pressing the Left shoulder plus X, Y, or B, your character jumps into a flashy animation, usually dealing high levels of damage to single or multiple enemies.

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Deep Crimson also introduces the new partner mechanic. In a nutshell, you’ll have two characters to manage on screen but control only one at a time. By tapping A, your other character teleports next to your current position and you gain control over them. The more you use the characters, the higher their affection level grows. Mastery of this tag system is key towards the end of the game, where you’ll need to balance the damage you’re dealing with the damage you’re receiving. As with solo missions, your two characters can perform new Secret Stacked Ninja Arts, where both attack in tandem. The higher the aforementioned affection level is, the more devastating these attacks become. Depending on the character level and their partner’s affection level, it wasn’t uncommon that I would take out nearly a third or sometimes half of a bosses health bar.

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Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson – Nintendo 3DS [Reviewed]
Developer: MARVELOUS
Publisher: XSEED Games
Price: 39.99 USD
Released: Available now exclusively on Nintendo 3DS

Over the last two weeks, I’ve had time to reflect on Deep Crimson. The game was fun, being at its best when played in short bursts, but in the end, Senran Kagura 2 is a flawed title. While the presentation and gameplay received improvements, the lack of costume variety, loss of character side stories, and short single player campaign, makes the game feel more like an expansion rather than a sequel. The series in general has a decent foundation thanks to Burst and Shinovi Versus, but without the additional narrative, the game simply falls apart. And in an age where anything could be found online, focusing on fanservice will only work for so long. Hopefully Estival Versus will return the series to a proper balance of Plot and “Plot”.


Our review is based upon a pre-release of the final version that was given to us by the games publisher.  For information about our ethics policy please click here.


 Final Score: 6 out of 10


About the Writer:

Greg_F_Heisenberg

Greg F. is an RPG enthusiast whom absolutely enjoys the niche titles that come across from the East. When it comes to beat-’em-up brawlers such as Senran Kagura, Greg knows the titles just about as good as anyone else, but his passion not-so-secretly sits with his love for retro games from the NES and Sega period. In his free time Greg contributes to B.A.T.G.R. with his knowledge of such feedback.

First-Impressions: Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson – Where Spanking the Competition Shades of Red Starts

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Senran Kagura is one of those series that’s easy to write off as another fanservice title with little character or substance. But when Burst hit the eshop back in 2013, I found a charming, if not ludicrously perverse, brawler that I actually began to enjoy. Since then, I’ve played through the Vita sequel, Shinovi Versus, which really took the original game and improved upon it in every way (except for Bon Appétit. That game was nothing but fanservice. Glorious, glorious fanservice.). With Shinovi setting the bar higher, I was looking forward to trying out Deep Crimson for the 3DS and seeing what improvements a more experienced team could produce.

Before I go any further though, I’d like to let everyone who played Burst know that the frame rate issues from the first game are almost non-existent. Aside from a few instances that will be covered later in the review, the game runs at a steady clip even on original 3DS hardware. Deep Crimson starts during the final events of Burst, with the girls from Hanzo Academy storming Hebijo in order to prevent Dogen from summoning a Yoma. As I jumped into the tutorial stage, the first thing I noticed was the level design. Rather than keeping the camera fixed above the stage like other Beat- ’em-Up titles such as Double Dragon; Deep Crimson has opted for a hybrid of Burst and Shinovi, with levels falling into two types: Open Arenas and Corridor Runner. The camera is still fixed but the angle gives it more of a 2.5D game, and it can be slightly manipulated if you have a CPP or N3DS, but thankfully the control scheme works well enough that neither is required. Within each stage, you’ll run between sectioned off areas where you’ll need to defeat enemies to continue on to the boss.

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Like Burst and Shinovi, combat has the potential for real depth with impressive combos that can be pulled off with practice and timing as button mashing will only get you so far before bosses begin to roll your fighters. One of the interesting new mechanics introduced in Deep Crimson is the partner combat system, where you’ll have control over two fighters. By pressing the A button, your characters will switch places, giving you the ability to daisy chain several powerful attacks, leaving your enemies in a perpetually stunned state. When you add in stat boosting Shinobi Stones that enhance healing and damage dealing stats, the potential to abuse this new system becomes apparent. But between bouts of combat is what I think is the best part of the game, the writing.

To be clear, the story thus far hasn’t been anything spectacular, but it’s the character interactions that are the real jewel with plenty of hilarious, tongue-in-cheek moments. On more than one occasion, I found myself actually laughing at the dialog. Of note, the language is a tad more colorful than I remember from the previous entries. I never played the original Japanese version, so I couldn’t tell you if Mirai had a sailor’s mouth, but seeing her drop f-bombs does have a certain shock factor. Perhaps it is because this is a Nintendo system that I’m just not as accustomed to seeing salty language, but the cursing feels out of place. In many ways, I feel like I’m watching a fansub where the translator used curse words just for the sake of cursing.

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The further I get into this game, the more I begin to feel that there’s real potential in this series. Sure, the premise of Senran Kagura has always been sexy ninjas with destructible clothing, but with a third game finished and a fourth one due out for PSV/PS4 next year, the series has laid down its foundation and begun to fill in the lore necessary for future games to continue on with a cohesive storyline and universe. Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is now available in stores and on the Nintendo eshop. Life and Hometown forever.


About the Writer:

Greg F. is an RPG enthusiast whom absolutely enjoys the niche titles that come across from the East. When it comes to beat-’em-up brawlers such as Senran Kagura, Greg knows the titles just about as good as anyone else, but his passion not-so-secretly sits with his love for retro games from the NES and Sega period. In his free time Greg contributes to B.A.T.G.R. with his knowledge of such feedback.