If you are a fan of the Senran Kagura games then you probably already have this game pre-ordered, and probably are already on your way to GameStop (or your equivalent of it), or you’re waiting on the digital copy to download, heck you’re only here reading my review to pass the time, and no matter what I have say about the game, you already know that you are going to have the time of your life with this entry in the series. As for the rest of you, you’re either in the camp of curious gamers that have considered getting it, or the poor trolley types hoping that I’m gonna validate your notion that these games are for poor, pathetic perverts sitting in their basements trying to get a look at virtual ridiculously proportioned boobs.
So, did I get everyone? Yup I think I did, and to be quite frank I’m with the camp of pre-orders folks. Were it not for the review copy we received, I’d be right there with you, waiting on my download to finish, with the intention to at least sink a couple of hours into the game before I had to get my work day started. So for those that already care about this title I’ll validate your purchase now, and say ,”Yes it’s a game that I can safely say is well worth the price of admission”.
Now that, that’s out of the way let me tell you all about the game!
The Story: A mystical phenomenon transports the shapely shinobi of the titular series to a parallel dimension to face off against their rivals in a new kind of battle. In this strange-but-sunny island paradise, the girls find themselves face to face with their departed loved ones. Can they bear to part from them a second time?
Senran Kagura Estival Versus is a perfect sequel to Shenran Kagura Shinovi Versus in every way possible. The menus are better organized, the characters are redefined, the story structure is easier to follow, and the visuals, Oh, the visuals….. Well let’s just say I can be quoted in saying, “this is one of the best looking PS Vita game I’ve played to date.” Senran Kagura Estival Versus bleeds color. It shines in the right ways, and uses the Vita’s capabilities to their max. Which gives us a game that just looks and performs wonderfully. EV also has all that you’d expect from a SK game including; the full shop, multiplayer (didn’t test for review), the dressing Room, and the library, A single-player mission mode.
The environments in the game are really well detailed, and no matter if you’re at a hot spring stage or a winter wonderland, you’re going to want to explore every inch of it, because it all just looks amazing, and in some situations it’s worth the effort to do so. Each stage has a couple special locations with exclamation signs that allow for special finishers if you are able to defeat one of the other playable characters near them. However I’m not going to explain what they are like or where to find them because half of the fun of playing these types of games is discovery and collecting, two things Estival Versus is really good at.
P.S: Find and smash all the towers
The character models are another beautiful thing about this game that I found myself impressed by. Though the truth still remains that you can basically swap any of the girls heads with another’s body, (excluding a small few characters) and notice no difference, it is a minor gripe compared to the things that matter. The look of the character models for each playable character and the enemies are really nice. It just makes you want zoom in close and admire that stylized anime look that the game is going for, and though their body types may be carbon copy duplicates, each girl has her own sense of personality. From the way they stand, run, their attacks, literally everything about each of them except their body types is unique. It made discovering each of their transformations, and moves a labor of fun. With players like Asuka and Rin having some graphically jaw dropping moves that make you want to pause the game and watch it frame by frame just to see each and every detail that it has to offer. Most, if not all characters have been reworked to visually look/play different. Some are small tweaks like Ikaruga’s timing during combos, while others are huge, like Rin being an even bigger OP monster of a character… (play as Rin first chance you get, you’ll understand). The character’s clothes also take damage, and in some situations they burst right off. (when that happens It’s all censored by lights though)
Visuals out of the way, let’s talk a tiny bit about the mechanics. EV is a beat-ep up styled game similar to the likes of games like Dynasty Warriors, but better. The characters are controlled very similarly to the way you would in the previous SK game for PSV and PS4. X for jumping, O to dash, triangle for heavy attack, and square to use weak attack. Mix that all with, new special bombs, mechs, transformations that change characters play-styles, and the combos that unlock the more you level up your characters, and you easily have an RPG-esk game on your hands that remains similar enough to the previous game to appeal to fans, while at the same time offering so much more to improve the formula. One new addition is the ability to run on and attack from walls, another is team air raves. They have even nerfed some characters (I.e: Hikage, and Miyabi), while making others like Yomi more appealing to play. All in all it’s a balancing act that is going to appeal to some while at the same time pissing off others, based on the characters you prefer using. As for me, my only gripe with it was that some characters attacks seemed to not register when fighting other playable characters. This however is something that I believe can and will be fixed in a future update.
Senran Kagura Estival Versus features a cast of 25 unique playing characters that are all playable when you first start the game. Three more characters are unlocked by playing the the single-player campaign, and meeting certain requirements, and then there are four more characters that are listed as DLC. I was able to play as all the characters that were none DLC during my time working on this review, and they all played differently from each other, which is a huge plus for me. NO TWO CHARACTERS ARE THE SAME. I hope to get my hands on the DLC characters post launch as there’s no way to purchase them pre-release.
What we get from Senran Kagura Estival Versus is game that is what we expect, boobs, solid gameplay, and unapologetic shameless fan-service. It’s also a game with a way deeper story than you would have expected, about dealing with death, mortality, and loss. Senran Kagura Estival Versus is what it it. It’s a solid game for gamers that like seeing the female form, with a story that will surprise most that just look at the visual appearance without actually experiencing it for all that it has to offer.
At it’s current price of $49.99 for the physical Vita version and $59.99 for the PS4 Version or $10 less for the respective digital copies, it is an easy recommendation for Mature gamers. The game is rated M for mature on the packaging and it’s PSN store page, so parents it is your responsibility to decide if your kid is Mature enough to play it or not.