Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus Review (PS Vita)

'Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus' fails to go beyond fanservice
Written by Drei Medina

Boing boing..
To be perfectly honest, Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is a straightforward fighting game that features bountiful bouncing bossoms and a whole lot of fanservice right off the bat.
When I say fanservice I mean the extreme type which is marketed for and banks on pleasing male players through visual stimulation.
These include various “I'm-up-to-no-good” gimmicks like heavy sexual innuendo, unreal jiggle physics and stripping girls' underwear.
In fact, the game's main offering is its cast of bodacious schoolgirl shinobis rendered in gorgeous graphics with lots of undressing – err.. gameplay.
Cast this shameless marketing strategy aside and you'll see that Senran Kagura's strongest point is pretty much its graphics that are pleasurable to the eyes whether it be character designs, game stages or anything in between.
Everything about the game is simply eye candy. The only thing that mars the game's visual masterpiece is probably the character shadows which obviously look flawed.
Graphics aside, Senran Kagura's story basically revolves around three ninja schools and a renegade ninja squad with five elite members each making for a total of twenty cute characters.
Each group's story interacts with the plot of the other three parties. Playing all four stories was a bit of a roller coaster ride for me as I felt that there were both solid and weak stories.
Overall, the story was average with the exception of some chapters that shed light on interesting and dramatic flashbacks paired with great Japanese voice acting.
Excellent voice over work was also done on all twenty characters giving their already distinct personalities a more unique twist.

Saggy gameplay
Sadly, Senran Kagura's strengths failed to lift its lackluster beat 'em up style gameplay which feels extremely confined.
To be fair, the first couple of hours of pounding and ripping through the clothes of your opponents was fun but the excitement didn't last as long as I expected it to be.
This was due to the many problems plaguing the game's combat department including bad camera angles and small stages.
The bad camera angles are mainly encountered when trying to reposition your character to a more favorable spot which hugely affects your gaming experience.
Pair this up with small stages and you will often find yourself battling with the boss, the mob and control over the damn camera angle which shouldn't have been a problem in the first place.
Another major flaw is that there is little to no variation with enemies. There are roughly less than ten enemy types and they usually have the same set of lifeless moves.
Beating bosses also quickly becomes a mundane routine especially since you could always expect to face other shinobi girls from the main cast.
It would have helped if a little variety was introduced like adding different bosses such as giant girls or mecha that would have made the beat 'em up and stripping experience much more interesting.
But the biggest letdown was Senran Kagura's combat system as a whole. The combos were fun to do at first but were a tad bit too repetitive and had less engaging impact every time you performed them.
One of the few saving graces within gameplay was probably the dress 'em up mini game where you could buy new clothes, accessories and sexy lingerie for your characters.
Another plus would be the multiplayer mode where up to four players can battle it out in a no holds barred stripping contest in three game modes.
Other than these, the game falls on the average scale after the novel experience of stripping pretty girls naked wears off.

The verdict: 7.5/10 [average]

Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is a fun fighting game focusing on beat 'em up elements with tons of fanservice coupled with gorgeous graphics to boot.
The game however suffers from a swamp of issues in its gameplay particularly the combat department where bad camera angles, little enemy variation and a disappointingly dry combo system leaves much to be desired.

+ Gorgeous graphics
+ Hefty fanservice
+ Cute characters
- Bad camera angles
- Little to no enemy variation
- Non-engaging combat system