Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus Review
The jiggle physics are strong with this one
In an age where female characters are often debated as being too sexual or used as background decoration, Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus comes out at full charge, bringing with it a large cast of voluptuous female ninjas with jiggle physics that defy gravity. If that's something you absolutely abhor, I can already tell you, this game is not for you. Shinovi Versus relishes in undressing female ninjas to show damage and deliberately zooms on parts of the body whenever any sort of special move or transformation is triggered. The game's Vita icon itself is a close-up of a character's breasts. Again, if that's not for you, turn and run now. However, if you're willing to overlook the over-sexualization of unrealistic female ninjas combating against each other in over-the-top fight sequences with combo numbers reaching the hundreds multiple times per match, then read on my friend.
Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is the latest entry in the series, shifting onto the PS Vita from the Nintendo 3DS. It's a direct sequel to Senran Kagura Burst and comes with some notable additions and refinements.
First and foremost, the game shifts from a 2D brawler to a 3D one. You can now freely run around each arena and fight in full 360 degrees. This shift actually does make the combat a lot more satisfying, not to mention flashy. You also get a pick out of three schools in total, increasing the total amount of female ninjas to 20. What I liked most is that despite each ninja having two main moves consisting of a light and heavy attacks, they each have vastly different combos that actually flow very different from one another.
The game is split up into three parts. The main part consists of action stages where you'll be beating up tons of enemies and taking on a variety of the heroines in ninja-on-ninja combat. The secondary part is a visual novel, as in-between stages you'll be treated to tons of conversations between each girl as you watch the mostly nonsensical story unfold. Lastly, the third part consists of playing dress-up. Of course in a game that relies on showing combat damage through loss of clothing, you'd have tons of clothing options and accessories to outfit each ninja with. What's cool is that once you play enough with each girl, her outfit will be readily available to be worn by anyone else.
Cat ears, check. Librarian glasses, check. Adorable cat tail, well you can't see it, but check!
And then you have the in-game store which is absolutely littered with various outfit pieces like new uniforms, blazers and costume pieces like cat ears, rabbit ears, eyepatches, dog tails, kitten mittens and more. Lastly, you have the aptly named Lingerie Lottery, which you can donate your earnings to to see what kind of sexy lingerie you can make your ninjas wear... you know, for when they take damage.
The action bits are actually pretty great, and don't suffer from any framerate issues like its 3DS predecessor, despite the amount of action that goes on. Fans of Magical Girl Anime will appreciate the elaborate transformation sequences that you can pull off once you have acquired one scroll. Transforming has a few benefits; first and foremost, you heal all your damage back to full health and also gain a completely new suite of attacks. Secondly, you're able to pull off crazy finishing moves. Some of these range from summoning a giant octopus or giant snakes, or perhaps a flurry of punches and kicks, or throwing their weapon that does continual damage. All of these look awesome and vastly different from one another. It's definitely worth playing as each girl to see all of these in action.
As you play, you also level up your ninja and unlock new combo moves, which works a lot like Dynasty Warriors, as well as raising their base stats.
I knocked her
socks bra off
In-between all the action, you can roam around the room of each of the main schools, which acts as the hub for every activity available, such as continuing the story, checking out the store, changing up clothing, practicing your moves and checking your records. You can also launch the game's multiplayer suite here which allows you to either create or find challenges, spread across three modes -- Deathmatch, Strip Battle and Understorm -- each one with varying rulesets. My personal experiences with playing online have been nothing but positive, experiencing no lag at all.
There is no English voice acting in the game. That just means you'll be hearing a lot of non-stop Japanese battle phrases being yelled left and right. Considering the game, I'm completely fine with that.
Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is a great follow-up to Burst in almost every way. The 3D environments are much more fun to fight in, the framerate is smooth, the cast of characters is much bigger and the jiggle physics (if you're into that) are still over-the-top. If you can manage to get over the sexualization of these female characters, you'll find a fun brawler hidden underneath. Just be prepared to go through a pile of lingerie to get there.