That’s right everyone, Senran Kagura:Peach Beach Splash is finally here. Finally we can bare our water themed fantasies while battling for dominance in a battle of fanservice goodness.
Wait…. Hold up, let’s get this little disclaimer out of the way before we begin the breakdown of the game. If you don’t already know, I am a huge fan of the Senran Kagura franchise, and so this review may be a bit biased. I always try to be as objective as I can be when reviewing games, especially with the ones from franchises that I like, however, sometimes the FANBOY! does come out. So please enter this review with that knowledge, and I urge you to always get a second opinion, because a review is just that, an opinion, and mine may not always align with yours.
So without further adieu, SPLAAAAAAASSH!
Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash is the newest entry in the titular franchise as of writing this review, and boy is it different. It’s not what I expected, or initially wanted from this franchise, but after plugging many sleepless nights into it I can safely say that it’s exactly what the fans deserve. The game captures most of what makes SK great, and implements it in the form of a third person shooter, similar to the likes of Splatoon.
Each battle begins with a choice among the large roster of SK girls, along with a choice of 3 pets that can be summoned in battle to assist the player, and a couple cards that either buff certain stats, or allow for special attacks and shields. All of these are card based, and a booster pack is received after each battle. Packs can also be purchased in the store once unlocked, which is all great, and adds something new to the series, although unlike the original SK games this game doesn’t highlight the individuality of each girl with it’s gameplay. This could be a major fault with the game, but it’s not due to the clever implementation of different water based weapons that can be equipped to any character. The girls each have their own unique melee moves, but you will rarely use them as they’re not very effective, or easy to land. In my time with the game I stuck to the shotgun and assault rifle almost exclusively. This is because they both offered the ability to handle large groups of enemies along with the ability to traverse the map quite effortlessly with the water jet-packs each girl has attached to their waist. These jet-packs allow the girls to traverse the maps by either sliding or hovering over the ground. How effective they are at this depend on the weapon the girl has equipped. Some don’t allow for much aerial traversal while others can pretty much allow you to stay aloft indefinitely.
In battle, you and your team of up to 4 other characters must defeat the opposition by lowering their health bar to zero. When this is done the character is downed and must wait to either be revived by a teammate, auto revive after a period, or be sprayed till they lose part of their swimsuit and then taken out of the game.
Speaking of swimsuits and the finishing move of sorts, the game does this bizarre thing when you activate a squirmish finisher. No matter what the character on the receiving end of the move is wearing, she is instantly switched to a standard white two piece swimsuit. I found this a bit stupid really, because as the previous SK games have proven, all outfits can, and should be destroyable. The game also claims to have unique finishers depending on the weapon the character is holding when it’s used on them, but that’s not really true, or at least it doesn’t look that way. There are minor variations to the way the girls sit when downed, but you basically either spray off her top, or bottom, or splashing water in her face to finish her off. The pose after the fact is a bit different depending on the weapon the target was holding, but ultimately the differences are so tiny that you’ll eventually stop caring as I did.
It’s also possible to fully customize each character like you’d expect in a SK game, and they as well as their weapons, pets, and cards buffs are upgradable to a level of 10. What’s good about this system is that the weapons, pets and cards are shared among all the girls, so leveling one up for a particular character will make it available for another. These levels increase the effectiveness of each card, and in the case of the characters, well they gain 20 health with each level for a total of 300 HP. So when beginning the game choose the character you like the look of the most, think of them as skins, then level her up as well as the weapons, and other cards that you prefer.
Little tip: the easiest way to level up is to play the V-Road challenges. Each time you win you get a card deck, with more in game credit than any other single player mode, and though the game does allow for the purchase of digital currency. Its fairly easy to earn large sums of credit by just following my aforementioned tip. I don’t know how much credit the online modes offer because I couldn’t find a single match pre-release.
The outfits are mostly rehashed from previous games, which I don’t mind, although I would have preferred if they were all soakable. Only some outfits are soakable, and it is not a realistic implementation. The entire outfits get soaked evenly no matter where you aim, and the other either take damage or do nothing at all. It’s a bit of a waste if you ask me, but it’s in no way a deal breaker.
As for the plot, not the boobs, the actual plot. Well it’s not the best I’ve experienced with this franchise, especially in the early sections. Each of the four main groups of girls get 10 main story missions for a total of 40, then 14 more are unlocked by completing the main ones, and after that a single boss mission is unlocked. In all actuality only the final 14 missions matter and align with the overall plot built by previous games. They even explores a bit about Kagura, and addresses events from Estival Versus. The first 40 missions are just fluff really. They serve more as side story comic relief till the true story starts 40 missions later, Hikage rapping being one of the few memorable moments of them.
The paradise episodes replaces heart mode, and gives each girl more individual character development moments. Like it’s predecessors, this mode offers some of the best personal stories that SK games have to offer. Play them sparingly to uncover more about the girls emotional motivations.
Playing the main missions multiple times is also highly required, because similar to Dynasty Warriors, parts of the story are lost due to the game being in Japanese, and having to manage multiple enemies while reading which is almost impossible. It’s not new to this series, but in this game it’s even more apparent because of the fast pace of combat and the precision needed when playing a shooter.
The voice acting, and soundtrack are great, keeping with what we’ve come to expect from this franchise. All the girls sound great, and the music is always fitting for what’s happening on screen.
Visually this is the best looking SK game to date. All the girls look better than they have before with new hairstyles and more detailed looking character models. Their outfits from previous games are mostly all here in this one and they look spectacular on them, especially the soakable ones when wet. I will also admit that that the girls are more apparent at being clones with different heads and boob sliders this time around. The lack of much character specific moves makes it quite clear, even Daidoji is missing her muscles, and looks like just a larger version of the other girls, but does it make her any less tantalizing? Hell no.
Like the good book says, I am but a simple man, I see boobs, and thus I like, but should the boobs be adorned with great gameplay, and story then endorse it I shall. Book of memes, chapters 1, verse 12.
In all seriousness, this is a game for fans of Senran Kagura, and third person shooter games. It’s similar enough to other shooters, and well balanced enough that I can see an eSport league coming out of it. The mechanics are solid, and the girls are adorable, what else could we ask for. Grab a copy and join me in a match, P.S. I call dibs on Miyabi.
The copy of Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash used for this review was supplied to us by it’s publisher XSEED Games.
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