Review: Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus (PlayStation Vita)

Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus: Official GBAtemp Review

PlayStation Vita 2,843 views 1 like 7 comments
Reviewed by Austin Trujillo, posted Oct 15, 2014
Oct 15, 2014
  • Release Date (NA): October 14, 2014
  • Publisher: Marvelous AQL
  • Developer: Marvelous AQL
  • Genres: Beat-em-up
  • ESRB Rating: Mature
  • PEGI Rating: Sixteen years and older
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
Senran Kagura, one of the few games to go toe-to-toe with Dead or Alive for most insane use of breast physics, is a 3D Dynasty Warriors style game featuring 3 academies of young women training to become the ultimate shinovi. Lots of Action, Lots of Torn Clothes, and Lots of Jiggle, let's dive right in to this unique 3D Beat-em-up.
Austin Trujillo

 

The Rundown

Senran Kagura's plot isn't all that hard to follow. Three academies of young women are all vying to train and become the ultimate shinovi warriors, and every academy has a rivalry with the others. You will choose from one of the three academies at the beginning of the game, but will have the option to play as the other academies at any point during the game by selecting "Schools" from the in game menu. Each Academy has five girls to play as, and many missions to take on, from the typical story mode, to singular character missions for each girl. Your Goal in all of these missions? Beat the living daylights out of your opponent until all their clothes come off. Most of the story missions are atypical and just show off simple funny dialogue between characters before moving onto the fight. There's no real depth to it or that engaging of a plot, but the action never stops throughout the game.

 

Core gameplay and Mechanics

The gameplay of Shinovi Versus is very reminiscent of Dynasty Warriors, with of course, its own little spin on things. Fighting is tied to 2 buttons, which can be strung together to perform combos. There is also a Parry system allowing you to really rack up the number of combos you can perform. Air dashes and air strikes will allow you to chase your opponent, or make a quick escape when you're getting peppered by attacks. Most missions are relatively the same, usually having you face either a small horde of enemies before facing your main oponent, or just directly facing your opponent. In facing your main opponent from a rival academy, your goal is simple. Beat them up until all of their clothes come off. You will be able to see the more progress you make of taking down their health by small cutscenes that show either the upper, or lower part of their clothes rip. There is also a health gauge at the top left corner of the screen, and you can skip the clothes ripping scenes if you want to. As you continue to string combos and deal damage, your Ninja Gauge will fill and add a small scroll on the bottom left of your screen under your own health bar. The more you level up, the more scrolls you can have under your Ninja Gauge. These scrolls will allow you to enter Shinovi Mode, a mode where you change to your true samurai outfit and can perform special moves that will consume one or two scrolls depending on if you use a light or heavy super. Keep in mind, that your opponent can do the same, and this adds to the length of the fights and difficulty, as your opponent will also be performing special moves.

 

What else can I do?

Outside of beating the daylights out of people, the game has other extras for you, such as the dressing room, where you can obtain lingeire, accessories, and costumes for all of the characters with in game currency, as well as full screen modeling, allowing you to view them for close ups and other interactions. There is also unlockable art, music, and story to obtain using the same currency.

 

The Problems

 

One of the largest issues I faced when playing this game, besides the repetitive gameplay, is how easily the fights can be won with special move abuse. As stated earlier, you obtain scrolls that can be used for special moves by stringing combos and dealing damage. The problem here, is that when facing an enemy with full health from going into shinovi mode, you can take them down in a matter of seconds just by saving all your specials before they transformed. You can spam the specials and reduce their health in seconds, and even continue to fill your ninja gauge back up, just by using the special over and over again. This completely breaks the difficulty factor of the game, and makes fights unenjoyable. The other problem I faced is camera issues. The game allows you to lock onto enemies to help you keep track of them jumping everywhere, but that doesnt stop the camera from also spinning and jumping all over the place. It does this so often, it can leave you disoriented and confused as to what in the world is going on on screen. Speaking of onscreen gameplay, the frame-rate can take some slight dips when multiple AI are on screen, and also causes a little input lag. All of these problems bring down the gameplay experience and make it more difficult to really enjoy the game.

Before we go...

Senran Kagura knows what it is. There's fanservice and action enough to satisfy everyones needs. From my gameplay, I found myself laughing at the ridiculous insinuations of relationships and downright blatent fanservice that is included in the game. This does nothing to take away from the gameplay itself, but rather makes the whole experience more comedic and frantic. While there are some issues plot-wise and in the core gameplay, Senran Kagura stands as its own unique brawler that will certainly satisfy (in whatever way you imagine) those interested in the genre.

Verdict
Pros
+ Comedic and Engaging characters
+ Fun pick up and play gameplay
+ fast paced and full of action
Cons
- The difficulty can only really be set if you make the decision not to spam supers
- Frame chopping and slowdowns
- Frantic Camera
8 Presentation
The game knows exactly what it is, and presents itself well. Comedic, frantic, and packed full of action, it's a satisfying and entertaining take on the brawler genre.
5 Gameplay
While the controls are tight and combo system works well, it all falls apart with the combined frantic camera issues and broken special move system.
6 Lasting Appeal
Senran Kagura is a fun game to pick up and play for a few minutes, but the gameplay and story suffer from overly repetitive aspects. Mashing the same buttons over and over again gets old quickly, and the lack of an engaging plot takes you out of the immersion of the game.
6
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
All in All, Senran Kagura is a fun 3D brawler to take on the go and play a quick match or two. I enjoyed most of what I played, but was left a little hollow the further I moved into the game. Repetition and Fanservice aside, it's a game that will make fans of games like Dynasty Warriors happy in more ways then one.
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