Review: Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus

Release Date
October 14th 2014 (NA), October 15th 2014 (EU)
PlayStation Vita
Publisher / Developer
Marvelous Europe, XSEED Games / Tamsoft
1 to 4 (Online Multiplayer)

Boing, boing, boing, Senran Kagura is back, bringing you more voluptuous titties   playable characters, story arcs, and even an online mode.

It’s no secret that Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus has made the series bigger, bouncier and even more gravity-defying than ever. The fan service will draw some to this title, put off and possibly offend others, but the developers clearly know their audience. However, even if you aren’t a fan of animated melons, this is not a title that should simply be ignored.

We pick up from where Senran Kagura Burst left off, with the students of Hanzou Academy training to become top-class Shinobi. The story is simple: good versus evil, right versus wrong, big boobs versus even bigger boobs. As with the previous entry, the tale is told in a full-voiced visual novel style. It has to be said, the game is quite the improvement over it’s 3DS predecessor which was released earlier this year. Unlike Burst, which was a 2D brawler, Shinovi Versus is in glorious 3D and plays similar to the Dynasty Warriors franchise. The graphics, while not stunning, are clear and do the job well enough. The additional content such as an online mode, a larger roster with over 20 playable characters, and 4 groups of Shinobi to choose from in story mode, are all welcome additions.

During battle you have access to a weak attack, a strong attack, aerial attacks, specials and of course a Sailor Moon-style transformation. You are able to chain combos together and send your enemies flying into the distance, which is both fun, fast and satisfying. To make combat even more enjoyable, each Shinobi has a unique style and different moves, the story allows you to switch characters regularly, keeping battles from becoming stale. It’s not a complicated, deep or special system, but it gets the job done and can be incredibly addictive. As your characters level up, you’re able to feel how powerful they’ve become as you spin, jump, slash and bash your foe’s HP away.

The game isn’t hard; it can be beaten relatively quickly on the normal setting. If you want more of a challenge, then you have access to a hard mode, which can be made even more difficult by making your character go frantic, tearing off their clothes and leaving them in their underwear. It gives them greater strength and allows you to see their jiggly assets, but will dramatically reduce their defense. It’s a nice option to have, as the game is far too easy otherwise.

Completing missions give you a wide range of goodies, accessories, pictures, music and new clothes – just in case you wanted to see your favorite character’s sweater puppies under a nice white apron, or perhaps a magical girl outfit. Each mission is also ranked, giving you a reason to go back and replay certain levels to get the best score with your newly powered-up Shinobi.

But it’s not all fun. The game does have it’s problems. While for the most part, the frame rate issues that plagued the 3DS title have been addressed, the camera can be a real pain. Yes, you can lock on to your enemy. Yes, you can look in any direction, but when you’re trying to beat the clothes off of your rival and the camera is stubbornly focusing on a tree….useless. The game has some pretty lengthy loading times, which can be frustrating. The scenery is also very repetitive, with only a handful of locations available and none of them particularly well designed or memorable.

While there is absolutely no doubt that the Senran Kagura franchise is crazy and over the top, it also has deep and touching moments spread throughout, allowing you to see and understand a character’s thoughts and feelings. The developers are using boobs and erotic polygons to sell the game, but tear off the top layers and you’ll find a competent, fun and addicting brawler hidden beneath.

Shinovi Versus also has a nice soundtrack, which will have you humming along as you talk to your teammates in the game’s hub. Another plus is that all of the cast are fully voiced in Japanese, adding more life and personality to each character. Sadly, there is no English voice option for dub fans.

Senran Kagura will be too excessively ecchi for some players. The developers know they are walking a fine line and they make fun of it at every opportunity, which helps the game avoid becoming an insulting mess. The combat isn't anything special or unique, but each character has a specific style, allowing them to feel different from one another. The fan service will draw some to this title, put off and possibly offend others, but the game knows its audience. For those who are looking for a solid brawler with some likeable characters, Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is worth your time and your money.