Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is a third person hack and slash developed by TAMISOFT and is published by MARVELOUS AQL and XSEED GAMES, It is the third game in the main Senran Kagura series, the other two being for the 3DS with only the second one Senran Kagura Burst being the only other part released in the west. This is the second game in the franchise to be on the PS VIta, with a rhythm cooking game, Senran Kagura Bon Appetit! being released digitally.
NOTE: All images were captured in-game on my PS Vita. This review is my personal opinion. I have not been paid or hired to do this review by any publisher developer or retailer. I do it for the love of gaming.
The game revolves around three all-girl ninja academies, Hanzō National Academy, Gessen Girls’ Academy and the Hebijo Clandestine Girls’ Academy. The schools find themselves involved in a Shinobi School Battle Royale, with the winner being declared the greatest amongst the schools and the losers being utterly destroyed. The students must defend their school from attack and defeat their rivals.
The game lets you choose between the three schools, with each school having at least five playable girls, each with their own unique style. The story is told through static cut scenes with the dialogue in Japanese with English text. The game itself takes place in open areas, with some levels allowing for movement from one area to another. There you will face off against a rival student and or their minions.
There are three fighting modes that each character has: Flash, Yin and Frantic. Flash is your default mode, where your girl fights in her normal school uniform. If you press L1 you will perform a Shinobi Transformation, entering Yin mode. Your attacks are more powerful and are quicker. Conversely, if you hold R1 and press Triangle then… well touch your character, to put it mildly, she will enter Frantic mode. She will be more powerful and able to string along combos more easily.. and be in her underwear. In both Yin and Frantic modes, you can perform two special attacks that will do a lot of damage to you opponent…and destroy a piece of their clothing.
Yes, the big draw to this game is fan service. Each of the girls (whom I’m sure are all of age) has destructible clothing. As she takes damage, either her top or bottom will get damaged, eventually being torn off. If you get her down to here underwear and defeat her, they can even be torn off (although censored). The girls’ outfits can be customized, from their school uniform and Shinobi outfit down to their lingerie. Outfits and accessories can be bought from a store at the school which also includes a “Lingerie Lottery,” where you can spend in-game gold (or by a “Lottery Ticket” from the PS Store for $.99) and win lingerie rated from “Meh” to “Ultra Sexy.”
In between battles, the school acts like a hub, where you can go to the store, change outfits in the Dressing Room, check stats, view unlocked art and movies etc. There is Dojo, where you can have Ad Hoc or WiFi four way battles with other players. OR you can go to the mission room, where you can play the main story, play through a side story for each girl or practice in Training Mode.
I find that this game is fun to play. It reminds me a bit of the Ikki Tousen anime series (also known as Battle Vixens in the west) and Queen’s Blade. Both series had video game adaptations (with the Ikki Tousen series being made by MARVELOUS and TAMISOFT) with similar destructible clothes mechanics. None of those games came out here, so it is nice to see a publisher taking a chance on this series. The game can be a bit frustrating if you get stuck in a corner and the camera gets wonky, but it is a solid hack and slash game. Some may be put off by the near nudity and the sexualisation of the characters, but it is just a game.
Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is available digitally for $39.99 CDN on the PlayStation Store. A physical copy is available as part of a collector’s set, Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus: Let`s Get Physical Edition, at EB Games. It includes a 39 track soundtrack CD, a art book/player`s guide as well as the game. It retails for about $54.99 CDN
4.5 out of 5