Senran Kagura: Estival Versus – Review

Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, PS Vita
Publisher: XSEED Games
Developer: Tamsoft
Release Date: March 15, 2016
MSRP: $49.99 (Php. 2,495.00)

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus is a beat’em up type of game on the PS4/PS vita. It is the successor to the original Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus originally released on the PS Vita. The game is easy enough to get into being of the same style of game that has made the Dynasty Warrior franchise so popular. As this type of game, Senran Kagura does fairly well giving you access to fast-paced and frantic combat.

The game takes place in a mission format. The player chooses a mission from those on the screen and plays it. The mission follows a generic format of having the selected character to fight a mob and a boss character at the end. The major gameplay follows the tried and tested formula of most Dynasty Warrior games allowing for a single character to destroy waves of enemies with their attacks while charging for their techniques to deal even greater carnage.

The game does well in making most of its cast unique in how they function each character has subtle differences that differentiate them from their fellow members outside of their jutsus. A good example of this would be Mirai who plays significantly differently from her fellow cast mates in that she is a long range fighter and this reflects even in her dash ability, where the general dash is moving forwards hers is a back dash to safety. This variation is present in all of the characters in tiny little ways. Some characters for example have combos that are long, others are short but deal significant damage. Other characters have the basic dash which they can use as a step towards stringing a combo whereas another character would have a unique dash attack ender like Ikaruga whose dash can end with dealing slash attacks towards the area where she dashed from.

senran kagura estival versus screenshot 2

Other characters have jutsus that completely change how they function while having limited invulnerability. This variation is a nice touch giving all of the players a chance to find their favorite fighting style. A unique feature of the game is in its Clothes Break system, where in once enough damage has been dealt to a character their clothes begin to break culminating in leaving the character in their lingerie, unless one deals a jutsu as a finisher which would proceed to strip the character bare leaving only light to cover the naughty bits.

The game in this fashion is unabashedly fan service oriented as not only can one fully strip the enemy character and leaving them blushing with suggestive poses, the game even makes parts of the environment capable of doing the same. If one is able to finish an enemy in a particular area, a special suggestive animation is played. Outside of this the player is able to dress up every character in the manner they want to going so far as to change the character’s underwear to their liking. Each and every one of these costumes is also subjected to the same system as before.

Visually, the game has nothing special really especially if you consider it as PS4 port of what was originally a PS Vita version. It looks better but not significantly so. The soundtrack is more of the same upbeat music most of the time enough that it doesn’t get boring, but again nothing special.

senran kagura estival versus screenshot

Story wise the game is rather lacking as the game tries to bounce back and forth between comedic and serious. And it does so ineffectively. Due to the large cast of characters most of the roster in Estival Versus has no real development save for the central characters and this reflects in their story mode where they aren’t really fleshed out or used well.

The main story is as such lacking however the game tries to make up for this with its character centric mission series. All of which is designed as light hearted comedic pieces which are entertaining enough. It won’t win any prizes for storytelling but it is still a lot better than the main story. In terms of replayability, the game has a decent enough number of missions which can be replayed in 3 different difficulties and after the first time completing a mission can be done with any of the cast.

Overall, the game is enjoyable and decent as a beat’em up game. However some players may be turned off by how shamelessly it panders to the girl’s assets. This is still a decent enough game to play for beat’em up fans however.

This review is based on a retail copy bought by the author.