PS4/Steam Review: Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal

Go back to where it all started and experience the first adventure of the buxom Ninjas of Senran Kagura

2018 was a big year the Senran Kagura franchise.  The series saw the PC release of Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash, an all-new anime subtitled Shinovi Masters and a remake of the very first game, Senran Kagura Burst Renewal.  Of course, its popularity in the West allowed for plans of a English version that was to be simultaneously released for PS4 and PC .  Due to policy changes at Sony, however, certain content has to be removed for the west and the game was delayed for a few months.  But, in January 2019, it was released with the PS4 having some bits cut and the PC having the compete version.  We will review both the PS4 and the PC version through Steam.

Asuka’s back…side

Like Shinovi Versus and Estival Versus, Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal is a third person hack-and-slash game developed by Honey Parade Games and Tamsoft and published by XSEED Games.  It is a remake of the first game in the series. Senran Kagura Burst which was released for the Nintendo 3DS as a 2.5D side scroller.  The game is updated to the Estival Versus engine and contains some material not found in the first game , mostly through DLC.

The Hanzo girls are all here

The story follows the girls from Hanzo Academy and their first encounter Homura and her fellow Hejibo teammates.  when Hejibo launches a plan to steal the Super Secret Ninja Art Scroll from Hanzo academy, it us up to Asuka and her friends to recover it.  They have their hands full, however with Homura and her team and have to push their limit to over come them.

Gameplay will be familiar to fans for Estival Versus
The Crimson Squad story introduces us to characters such and the emotionless Hikage.

The gameplay is pretty much the same as Estival Versus and Shinovi Versus before it.  You can play either the Hanzo girls’ story or the Crimson Squad one.  The battlefield is open, with the environment determining how much room you have.  You have light and strong attacks and can run and block.  Using you ninja art scroll, you can change into your battle costume, regaining any lost health.  In this form, you can use special attacks that can clear out enemies and deliver a large amount of damage.  These attacks get more powerful as you level up.  You can also go into frantic mode at the start of the level, in which your character defense goes down for more powerful attacks and access to your special attacks right away.  You are also in your underwear.

Start in Frantic mode, and you will become more powerful, at the expense of your defence and dignity.

The only thing different from the last entries is the inclusion of a burst meter.  By building the meter up and pressing L2 (LT on Xbox controller on PC) your attack power increases and, either by pressing L2.LT again of letting the meter go down, you can do a powerful Burst Attack.  It is very effecting against larger groups and can strip you enemy if you defeat one of the girls one on one.

Burst Mode is a new mechanic that supercharges your attacks and ends in a burst of power.

Yes, the destructible outfit are back, a mainstay of the SK series in all forms.  It works the same as in the Versus series, which you able to strip them down to their underwear, and even those can be removed, with lights covering up their naughty bits.  It is to be noted that the original 3DS version, which having the stripping mechanics, did not have the underwear removable too.  Also, which the clothing damage is shown in cut scenes, the underwear is restored if you got your opponent naked.

The lights are back to keeps things M rated
The underwear is restored in the cut scenes, though.

The levels are all mostly recycled from the Versus series.  Hanzo academy, Hejibo rooftop, the hot springs and other are all the same as the last games. There are a few newer areas but there is a lot of reuse.  Again, since the schools are the same having the same areas makes sense, story wise.

You can customize the costumes
Take pictures in diorama mode

The ability to customize the girls is back.  The main hub for each of the schools (each being their common room) allows you to look at unlocked scenes and pictures, switch schools adjust setting, replay levels and customize the girls in the dressing room.  Outfits are unlock by  purchasing at the sop with in game currency with more available as paid DLC.  Note that any DLC you have for Estival Versus works with Burst Re:Newal, at least for the PS4 version.  You can also go into diorama mode and take screen shots of the girls in various costumes.

Intimacy (and those wandering hands) are only available in the PC version.
Go for a kiss!

Now, the part that was cut from the PS4 version in the West was the Intimacy more.  Remember in Estival Versus and PBS how you could poke slap and grope the girls until they liked you and go for a kiss? Or furiously mas buttons/shake the controller until they clothes tear off?  Not in the PS4 version.  It is intact in the PC version on Steam, though.  I doesn’t really change the game, though, with the typical Senran Kagura combination of compelling story with moments of lewdness and fan service is still present in the game.

The Yumi DLC lets you play as my favorite ice queen.  Yozakura appears as well.

In addition to the main story, there is DLC available for both Yumi (my personal favourite) from Gessen and Miyabi from New Hejibo.  their stories are spread over ten levels and tell events that happened before they first appeared in Shinovi Versus  A few character not yet playable in the game show up in these levels, like Yozakura, Imu, Ryobi, Ryona and Ryoki).  Both Yumi and Miyabi have a hub like the Hanzo and the Crimson girls, with the other girls in their faction making an appearance in them.  There is a little confusion with the Yumi story, with them saying Kurokage is dead when he was alive, but sick and dying, in Shinovi Versus.

Miyabi also have her own arc via paid DLC.

Other DLC down the line will allow you to replay levels as the Gessen or New Hejibo factions, with Naraku, Kagura, and Ryoki arriving soon after.  There will be additional clothing sets as well.  There doesn’t see to be any guest characters this time.

Some, if not all DLC form Estival Versus works with Re:Newal

Overall, it is a new Senran Kagura game and I like them.  I have the original version of Burst on my 3DS and I’ve always like the 3d game play from the PS Vita/PS4 games better.  The story is good and it has it’s moments in which you go WTF, but that is what makes thius series what it is.  sure the scenery is familiar, but with a remake, familiarity, is good as long as it updates the game and adds something new.

Gratuitous Yumi pic!

3/5

Kat…Kat never changes…

Senran Kagura: Burst Re:Newal is out now for PS4 and PC.  The “At the Seams” edition is available physically and digitally and includes extra costumes, diorama poses and the Yumi DLC pack (also available separately).  The Miyabi DLC is available for download through the PlayStation Store or the Steam store.

This Review is for entertainment purposes only.  I have not received anything from Honey Parade Games, XSEED Games, Sony, Valve, or any other corporation or entity for this review.  This game and any additional content was bought by me using my own funds.  All opinions are mine and any screenshot used were taken by me and are for Review purposes only.

PS4 Review: Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash

Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash is a third person action shooter developed by Tamsoft (through Honey Parade Games) and published by Marvelous and XSEED Games.  It is a PS4 exclusive and the second Senran Kagura game on that system.  It follows the events in last years Senran Kagura: Estival Versus but is more of a spin-off than part of the Versus series.  It is rated M for Mature.

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The not-so-mysterious Miss R and Mister K

 

Peach Beach Splash finds the girls of the Senran Kagura series transported to a mysterious island.  There, they are greeted by two familiar-looking hosts, Ms R and Mister K (Hebijo/Crimson Squad master Rin and Hanzo instructor Kiriya in disguise).  They tell the girls they are to participate in an ancient Shinobi tradition:  a water gun tournament called Peach Beach Splash, or PBS.  The winners will receive whatever they wish for.  All four groups agree to participate to find out the real purpose of PBS, and why Rin and Kiriya are wearing those ridiculous outfits.

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Ninja girls having water fights in bathing suits?  Why not?

 

The roster for the game is robust.  It includes all the girls from the four schools (Hanzo, Gessen, Hebijo, and Homura’s Crimson Squad.  Ayame, the shop girl playable as DLC in the last game, also joins the Hanzo Squad.  Rin can be unlocked as well as Daidoji, along with the Mikagura sisters, Ryoki, and Jasmine from Estival Versus.  Former DLC characters Naraku and Kagura are also unlockable in the main game.  Also include right off the bat are characters from the Japan-only mobile phone game, Senran Kagura :New Wave:  Souji, Leo and Yuyaki.

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Yuyaki from New Wave G Burst.

 

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Enemies come in various forms.

 

The gameplay is pretty straight forward.  You control a character a group of up to six girls and battle groups of grunts, robots and other teams using water guns.  The water guns come in a variety of styles, such as pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, gatling guns,water bazookas, water grenade launchers and  shower heads.  Each weapon has its strength and drawbacks, like range, strength, clip size and reload times.

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You equip these cards for special attacks or bonuses.  Some of the artwork is…intersting.

 

Unlike the Versus series and the 3DS Senran Kagura games, there is no shinobi transformation or magic.  Instead, you get special abilities from cards you collect by winning battles.  You equip the cards in your character and activate them in battle using the D-Pad  These cards can affect your character’s stats, such as health, accuracy and clip size.  They can also activate a special attack, like flames, lightning or poison that will affect you enemy.  Other cards that can be earned are weapons.  Each Faction has their own effect cards with their girls on them.  Sometimes you will get higher ranking cards, depending on how well you did, the level you played or the difficulty.  You only need one type of each card however and you will get a lot of doubles.

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The doubles have a purpose, however.  You can trade them in for points to level up you cards, weapons of you characters.  Each card gives you a certain amount of experience points, depending on the rarity of the card (From Common to Ultra Rare).  You can use the points to upgrade your favourite girl to give her an edge in battle.

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Humiliate and disrobe opponents in Splash Mode

 

As you beat the other girls in the game, you get an opportunity to initiate  the Splash Mode.  Using a rubber duck squirt gun you target the fallen girl’s head chest or butt to humiliate them.  Score enough before the time runs out and her top or bottom will pop off.  Of course, lights protect their modesty.  Note that, no matter the outfit the character was wearing, they revert to the default white bikini for this mode.

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The strategic lighst keeps things rated M

 

The single player mode have three options.  You have the main story, Single Splash, which follows the PBS storyline: Paradise Episodes, which you unlock through playing the main game, featuring one or multiple characters in a five level arc; and the V-Road Challenge, which you battle different teams to win the tournament.  There is multiplayer, which has Co-Op survival, , Ranked matches for the online ranking system and free matches in which the host can set the rules.

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Each group has their own story.

 

Like the other Senran Kagura games, you have a shop and a dressing rooms to explore.  The Shop have various hairstyles, outfits and card packs, amongst other things, for you to buy.  New items are unlocked by playing through the various modes of the game.  The Dressing room is where you can customize the girls’ outfits.  All the default costumes are white, two piece swim suits but you can change it to their individual swimsuits from Estival Versus.  You can also dress them in their school uniforms and shinobi outfits along with outfits that you buy.  These outfits get shredded as you take damage in the game, like in the regular games.  There are also outfits that become transparent as you get them wet.  The default one is a t-shirt over a bikini and other one can be bought at the store.  There are also accessories as in the other games to be used or bought.  No balloons, though that may be DLC.

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Have fun in Diorama mode!

 

Of course, the popular Diorama mode comes back, with various settings and poses available to create your perfect scene.  Outfits can be set to be ripped or wet, depending on the outfit.  You can also adjust the characters head position and even their size.  The pervy mode is back too, now in a separate section called Intimate Mode.  You can look at, rotate and zoom in on your chosen girl.  You can also grab them, poke them and do really…unacceptable-in-polite-society things to them, which, for some reason, increases their Like meter and enables you to go in for a kiss.  You can also get a good look at the wet cloth physics by spraying the girls with water to get wet drenched.  You can even change the colour of the water by buying different  duck guns in the store.  I didn’t see a yellow colour, thank God…

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Those wandering hands are back.  Again THIS IS NOT HOW TO GO ABOUT MAKING GIRLS LIKE YOU IN REAL LIFE!!!!

 

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Get her wet…with water!  Get you mind out of the gutter!

 

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Some outfits become transparent when wet.

 

There is actually a story in all of this, but it is not as deep as Estival Versus.  During the story for each faction, the girls deal with a conflict with in the group such as Ikaruga realizing graduation will mean leaving her friends and Murasaki getting jealous when her sister, Imu, pays more attention to Miyabi.  The story is fine, but not deep enough to balance out Katsuragi’s groping obsession and Ryona and Ryobi’s…interesting family dynamic.  But, it is what you would expect from a Senran Kagura game.

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The last Hejibo mission has you fight a giant Ryona, echoing the battle in the Estical Versus OVA.

 

The thing you expect is fan service and PBS has that in spades.  In fact, the game is built around the wet cloths physics that was created for Estival Versus.  The outfits combined with either the ripping or the see-thru when wet mechanics is definitely front and center.  I will state that I like this series because it is a little naughty.  My complaint that I have with the other Senran Kagura games still stands with this one:  some of the girls look too young.  Mirai is the one I most have a problem with, though her default bathing suit is modest.  But, with the Splash mode, she is on a two piece like the other girls.  At least the girls are not hacking each other and fighting with swords, knifes and guns.  Well, they do use water guns , but at leat they aren’t trying to kill each other.

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Packs like these will contain a least on rare card

 

There is a lot of DLC coming out for this game.  This comes in the form of new outfits, weapons, accessories and cards.  In fact, the FIrst Week DLC bundle cost over $73 Canadian.  The DLC most are interested in though, are the guest characters.  In Japan, they got Ayane, Honoka and Marie Rose from Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, Ikki Tousen, with Sonsaku, Kan’u, Ryofu and, my favourite, Ryomu, and Super Sonico, the busty, pink-haired girl from the anime, Super Sonico and the game Communication With Sonico.  No North American Release datehas been confirmed, but if the Ikki Tousen girls come over, they will probably have their Chinese names.  Super Sonico may have an issue depending on the publishing rights Nitro+ has with JAST USA.

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Ayame joins the main cast for Hanzo.

 

Overall, this is a fun game.  It is nice to see a new game in the series come out so soon after the last one and even better that the localization was fast enough to have a worldwide release within six month of the Japanese release.  With a remake of Senran Kagura Burst coming for the PS4 in 2018, Peach Beach Splash will tide us over until the eventual English release.  It is good to see the series thriving after six years.  It might be a few more years until the next chapter in theses girls’ story, but it will be interesting to see what direction they will take.

3/5

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Soapy!

 

 

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Naraku is one of my favourites

 

 

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Oh, Kat.  Never change…

 

 

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PS Vita/PS4 Review: Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star

Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star is a third person hack-and-slash action game developed by Marvelous and published in North America by XSeed Games. It is a spin-off of the popular Fate multimedia franchise by Type Moon that started with the Visual Novel Fate/stay night(originally an eroge that was toned down for a general audience) that spun off into anime, manga and video games.  Fate/Extella is an indirect sequel to the spin-off game Fate/Codes (still available on PSN as of this writing.) and Fate/Codes CCC (Japan only).  This game is available for the PS Vita and the PS4 with cross save and cross download features.  It is playable on the PlayStation TV micro console.

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Start Screen on PS4

The Fate franchises has an underlying theme to all of its versions:  The is a mystical artifact called the Holy Grail (what it is can vary) and a war is fought over it.  The Grail chooses several people to become Masters.  Masters usually have some sort of magical aptitude, but their level can vary from person to person.  All of them, however. are able to summon a Servant.  A servant is a Heroic Spirit that become a legend in the past, present or even future.  They come from history, legends, myths or even from times not yet past.  These Heroic Spirits are not necessary good, but they have all made their mark on history in some way.  But the ultimate goal is to defeat all of the others and win the Holy Grail, which will grant them what they desire most.

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Servants are broken down into several classes.  There are Sabers (sword wielders), Casters (magic users), Riders (fast moving, sometimes with a mount), Archers (projectiles, not necessarily arrows), Berserkers (great strength and endurance), Lancers (lances and pole arms), and Rulers (able to command other Servants)

Fate/EXTELLA varies a bit from the core Fate storyline.  For one, it takes place not in our world, but in a virtual reality.  The Holy Grail is the Moon Cell Automaton, an ancient computer build by non-human hands and hidden on the Moon.  It generates a virtual world called SE.RA.PH.  Masters, called wizards, project their consciousness into this world and they bond with their Servants, who the Moon Cell Automaton pulls from the Earth’s history.

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Nero Cladius is one of the Heroic Spirits in Fate/EXTELLA

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Medusa is another servant that exists in SE.RA.PH

The second difference is  that the Holy Grail War is already won.  Set after the events of Fate/Codes,  EXTELLA sees the player takes the role of the Master who had won the Grail War and now rules over the virtual world of SE.RA.PH alongside the Servant, Nero Claudius.  A Saber class servant, Nero is very loyal to the protagonist.  She (yes, she)  gathered four other Servants (now existing independently in SE.RA.PH.) to help rule the new lands.  She has a ring, the Regalia that symbolizes her dominion over SE.RA.PH.  But things are not as simple as it seems.  Another servant appears with her own Regalia.  A Caster, Tamamo no Mae has claimed that she won the Holy Grail War along side her master, who appears to be the player character as well.

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Both Nero and Tamamo (the fox girl) claim to have won the Holy Grail War.

A servant sent as a System Administrator,  Archimedes explains that the player character was attacked in the real world by servants of Velber, the Umbral Star, a sentient planet that destroys every civilization it encounters.  It has returned to Earth after 14 000 years to lay waste to the planet and its Moon.  It split the player’s avatar into three parts, Body, Mind and Spirit.  Nero has Mind, Tamamo has spirit, and the body is in the hands of Velber’s servant, Altera.  The player has to help the servants reunite the three parts and hopefully stop the Umbral Star from destroying the virtual and the real world.

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Archimedes (standing in front) seems to have all the answers…

 

The main story is split into three parts, one for Nero, Tamamo, and Altera.  Each part has you fight in battles as you try to win by taking over sections of the battlefield and defeating the enemies within.  Each time to takeover a sector, you gain keys called Regime Matrices.  Collect 15 keys and you take over the area.  Lose 15 and the enemy takes over instead and you lose.  One you have 15, the Boss servant appears and you have to beat them to complete the level.  this is similar to the gameplay of Koei Tecmo games such as Dynasty Warriors.

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Tamamo has her own copy ofr the winning Master.

 

You create the Master of the game, but the customization is limited.  You can create the name and choose their sex, but that is all you can customize.  Other than you name and what sex you choose, the game plays the same with your servant expressing their admiration and love for you no matter your sex.  You are skill referred to as King or Master or Husband, depending on the character, though sometimes the female player character is referred to as Lady.

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Male or female, Tamamo is a loving wife to her Master

Each of the servant characters have the standard light and heavy attacks (Square and Triangle, respectively) that can be chained for combos.  As the character levels up you gain the ability to do longer combos as they are unlocked.  The Circle button activates the Extella Maneuver; as the little blue bars beneath your health fill up, you are able to launch an attack that hits all the opponents around you.  The more bars you have build up, the longer you can string the attacks..  Finally, X is jump.

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End result of a Extella Maneuver

 

There are also two special attacks.  First is the Moon Crux (L2 on PS4, L and X on the Vita)for the three main heroines in with they temporarily transform into a more powerful version of themselves and gains special effects like flames or ice with their attacks.  The other servants don’t transform, but become more powerful until the bar  above their health empties.  The other special attack is the characters’ Noble Phantom.  Throughout each level, there are Red crystals with a circuit part that fills a graphic  next to the character’s health.  Once you get three of them and complete the circuit, you can press R2 (or the circuit symbol with the Vita’s touch screen) to activate the attack.  Each characters attack is different and they tie into that character’s legend or backstory.

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Nero transformed during the Moon Crux

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Nero begins her Noble Phantasm

Besides the main story, you have two other modes.  The side quest allows you to play as any of the other servants you have unlocked in story mode.  There is also a Free Mode, in which you can replay any of the missions you have beat with any character that you have unlocked.  Missions may even have side missions give by other servants that will increase you affinity with them.  There is also a gallery, which you can watch any of the cut scenes you unlocked, look at character models or read up on terms in the Fate Extella setting.

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Each servant besides the main three have a side story.

There are alternate costumes available as paid DLC for the game, with more coming in the weeks to come.  You can change the costume between missions and the character’s looks will reflect the costume in most cut scenes.  Even the character art in the dialogue will reflect the costume you are wearing, which is a nice touch.

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First Week DLC features swimsuits for the girls and two of the guys.

 

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Even the art reflects the costume (Shackled Bride outfit shown)

This is a pretty fun game.  Fans of Dynasty/Samurai/Hyrule Warriors will enjoy the same hack and slash gameplay in this title.  The three storylines and the ability to replay levels  adds some value to the game.  The characters are all interesting, once you get over some of the interesting changes to some historical figures.  Nero being  a woman is not that surprising; in the original Fate anime, the Sabrer in that series, Artoria (who is a hidden character in this game), was the legendary King Arthur.  Iskandar, the King of Conquerors, is large and imposing, but historically, Alexander the Great (who is  based on) wasn’t that tall though his exploites were larger than like.  The most interesting interpretation was Elizabeth Bathory.  A Hungarian countess distantly related to the (historical) Vlad Dracula , she was accused of murdering young girls to bath in their blood to remain young.  In the Fate world, she returns looking like a teenage girl with dragon wings and tails and a desire to become a pop idol.

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Saber from Fate/stay night (Artoria Pendragon) is a hidden character in Fate/EXTELLA

 

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Elizabeth Bathory bathed in blood to stay young.  Bet she didn’t want to look this young!

Both the PS 4 and the PS Vita versions play the same.  Of course, the Vita version cannot show as may enemies on screen as the PS 4.  In fact I find the Vita version a bit easier because of that.  Both versions have an option to upload your same so you can transfer it to the other system.  Gameplay on the PlayStation TV version lets you use the controller like in the PS4 version.  All of the DLC the is or will be available for this game will get you both the Vita and PS4 version

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The PS4 version can have more enemies on screen

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Artoria in her swinsuit

 

Fate/EXTELLA: the Umbral Star is available now  both in a physical release or digitally on the PSN.  The Digital version will give you a theme for the system you bought it for and either the Shackle Bride outfit for Nero (PS4) or the Cold Blooded Warden outfit for Gilgamesh (PS Vita).  Both the physical version comes in the Noble Phantasm edition, which I will review separately.

4/5

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Fate Extella_20170118203521

 

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PS Vita/PS4 Review: Gal*Gun: Double Peace

Gal*Gun: Double Peace is a Japanese first-person on-rails shooter developed by Inti Creates and published in the West by PQube.  It is a sequel to the original Gal*Gun game published in 2011.  The game is available for both the PS Vita and the PS4 video game systems  This review is for both versions.

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Note:  This Review is not a paid review and only is my opinion.  All screenshots were taken with either the PS Vita or PS4.

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Ekoro, the angel with great aim but poor trigger control.

Gal*Gun: Double Peace puts you in the role of Houdai Kudoki, an ordinary, rather unremarkable student at the Academy (which I’m sure is some college or something…).  When Ekoro, a student angel assigned to bring love to one of the students, accidentally hits Houdai with 32 love arrows, he finds himself the target of affection of all the girls.  Ekoro explains that, because of her mistake, he has until the end of the day to find his one true love or be alone forever.

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The demon-hunting sisters , Shinobu (l) and Maya (r)

Houdai’s best chance for love resides in two sister he had known since childhood, Shinobu and Maya.  But they are both demon hunters, unaffected by the effects of the love arrows and are both emotionally aloof when around Houdai.  They are also busy trying to hunt down a novice demon, Kurona, who is causing more mischief.  Houdai has until dusk to get through to one of the sisters to show their true feelings and find true love.  He only have to avoid love-mad students and teachers, and any other trouble Kurona unleashes.

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Girls are rushing to express their love, sometimes violently.

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Let them get too close, they will hit you, kiss you, or express their love  which drains your strength  (Ribbon DLC costume shown)

 

In order to fend off the love-sick mobs of girls, you have to shoot the girls with pheromone shots from your… well, I don’t know where they come from.  Do you use a finger gun?  Shoot them with a sexy look (Blue Steel!) or do you point at them with an…appendage or some sort?  Well, anyways, you shoot them with your love gun (heh) until they collapse in euphoria.  That’s what the game tells you but it just another way of saying that it’s an orgasm gun.

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In Doki Doki Mode, shoot the girls in certain areas to raise their euphoria until they can’t take it anymore.

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Get their euphoria high enough and they will give you the “double peace” like this teacher.

One you have satiated enough ladies with your pheromone shots, you build up enough energy to go into Doki Doki Mode.  This stuns all the girls on-screen and you can select up to three girls for a mini-game in which you can shoot pheromones at specific parts of their body until the org-… achieve euphoric bliss.  If you do this in time to at least one girl, when the time ends, her euphoria will explode knocking out all of the girls on-screen.

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Some girls are under demonic influence. Zoom in and shoot the mini-demon first

Additionally some of the girls are under the demon’s influence and want to abuse poor Koudai.  These girls are stronger and more resistance to the pheromone shot.  You have to zoom in and find the mini-demon that is controlling the girl.  Take out the demon and then you can euphoria the hell out of her.

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Occasionally there are mini-games, like try to get Shinbou unstuck from a window,

Of course, throughout the game you have to win over one of the sisters.  Both love you, but each has a reason to deny that love and not get involved with anyone.  You have to say the right things to her to raise her affection rate.  Say or do the wrong thing and it could lower it.  You can also improve it by helping them out in a mini game.  These mini-games usually involve you shooting demon bugs off their bodies and help them out in some way.   You could be helping Maya get herself unstuck from a demon trap or bide your time  looking for a way to free Shinobu from the demon’s control while she…steps on your junk while in her underwear.  Oh Japan…

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You have to scan all over her body for those mini-demons.  All.  Over.

 

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She isn’t putting out a cigarette with her foot

The game adds replay value by having multiple paths and multiple girls to woo.  At first only Maya and Shinobu are available, but as you beat the game multiple times, options to woo them both at the same time opens up.  You can aso take a path to win over the angel, Ekoro, the demon, Kurona, or have them both.  You can also chose another path to find a random girl, if you unlock it.  There are multiple ending for each choice, too.

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Replay levels in time attack mode

Other modes are a time attack mode for all the levels you played and a speed one for each of the different paths that you beat.  There is alos a dressing room, where you can change the attire of any of the girls in the game with outfits you have unlocked or purchased through the DLC.  There is also a collection mode where you can see so stats in the game, what endings you have unlocked and view art from the game.

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Like this one.

Another option in Collection mode is the Student Roster.  Here you can see the names of all the students and teachers that you encounter.  As you play the game, you unlock more girls and you can find student hand books to tell you more about them.  You can also zoom in on them in the game to unlock information like their height, measurements (B-W-H) and weak spots which is handy in Doki Doki mode.  Unlock enough and you can even get an option to ‘fantasize’ about them, in which you view their 3d model, pose them and change the background.  You can even poke them on the Vita’s touch screen, if that is your thing.

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If you know enough about them, you can “fantasize about your fellow students or the teachers in the Student Roster

The versions of this game for the PS Vita and the PS4 are exactly the same, but each has their drawbacks.  The Vita version is slow to load, taking over a minute until the game actually starts up.  The PS4 version loads much quicker, but there are parts in the game in which the screenshot and video recording is disabled, such as when Shinobu is humiliating you while in her underwear or during the end scenes.    You can still screenshot in the PS Vita during those spots.  While both games have a good translation overall, there are no subtitles during the mini-games and, unless you speak Japanese, you don’t know what they are saying, though the games does tell you what to do.

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Screen shot from the PS Vita

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Video capture and screenshot are blocked in Fantasy mode but you can still the pictures on the PS Vita.

The graphic are good, if not spectacular.  It has a solid anime feel to the art design and you could be excused for not knowing it was make with the Unreal Engine middleware.  The graphics are bight and crisp and I did not see any glitches or slowdowns in either version.  The graphics are a bit better on the PS4, however, but that is how is should be.

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Shinobu in the torn Uniform DLC

This game features a cross save functionality.  You can upload your PS4 save and download it to you Vita and vice versa.  All of the DLC are cross buy as well, meaning you get it for both versions.  Currently the DLC is mostly costume for the girls.  You can buy them individually or in sets of four.  There are two sets available for purchase with one costume, the ripped uniform being only one not included.  There are also DLC for reducing the girls’ breast size (Angel’s Cutting Board) or increase it (Demon’s Meat Buns.)  Then there is the Pheromone Z DLC, which allows you to see through clothing (which you can already do, if you keep your reticule on the girl long enough.)  This one cost $90!

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Shinobu confronts Kurona

Let me rant here.  This is the worst case of nickel and diming people ever and that’s including horse armour and anything EA has ever done.  Now, there is no nudity in this game.  You can already see through their clothing if you zoom in and look at them long enough and you see their underwear.  If they are in swimwear or the ribbon DLC, there are hearts covering where the nipples would be and they still have panties on.  This DLC just makes it that the clothes disappear when you look at the girls through the site.  The developer, PQube, said that it was meant to be a joke and nobody should buy it.  So, why bother selling it?  Seems like a bad joke for a slightly lewd game.  You can get more value in a Season Pass for another game like Fallout 4 or Dead or Alive 5 Last Round.

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This should be enough for anybody.

Overall, this is a okay game.  Gal*Gun: Double Peace is bit of an ecchi (sexy or dirty) game with the ability to see through clothing, some of the dialogue choices if you want to play it at a creep and the questionable age of some of the girls, offset by the fact they are only anime characters and hey, Japan.  But, at it’s core, it is about childhood friends admitting their feeling have grown into love, if you play it that way.  The fact it is a on-rails shooter where you are pretty much along for the ride with the occasional choice turn giving you the illusion of choice takes away from it a bit.  But it is a fun ride and the multiple paths and collectables add replay value.

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What’s an ecchi Japanese game without Tentacle Monsters? Incomplete, that’s what.

Gal*Gun: Double Peace is only available in physical release through online shops or as a download on the PlayStation Network.  Check online for pricing.

3/5

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The girls can attack from afar with declarations of love…

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Or up close with kiss attacks.

 

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Gal*Gun Double Peace_20160804130128

 

 

 

 

 

PS Vita Review: Dead or Alive Xtreme 3: Venus Collector’s Edition [IMPORT]

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Since the first game came out in 1996, the Dead or Alive series had been about fan service. The original game is known as much for Kasumi’s ample polygons and high kicks as it is for its throwing mechanics and fast 3D game play. This fact was not lost on the developer as in the next two installments, more female characters were added with sexy costumes. In 2003, Team Ninja decided to base a game around the girls and have an excuse to show them in sexy swimwear. That’s when Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball for the original XBox came out. Not only were you able to play beach volleyball with the girls and dress them into bikinis, you could also watch them frolicking in the sand or relaxing by the pool. Another one came out, called Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 (XBox 360), which added more bikinis, more games (like pool hopping and beach flags) and more girls. Now, after a remake of the second game on the PSP (Dead or Alive Paradise), New Zach Island has reopened and we have new game in the series.

 

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You might want to sit down for this.

Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 (DOAX3) is a beach volleyball/beach game/ girl watching simulator developed by Team Ninja and published in Asia and Japan by Koei Tecmo. There are two version of the game: DOAX3:Fortune, for the PlayStation 4, and DOAX3: Venus, for the PlayStation Vita. This review is for the PS Vita version. This game is NOT scheduled to come out in North America/Europe at this time. The copy reviewed is for the Asia region (Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan) and was part of the Collector’s Edition. This version is multi lingual and the text will be in English if your Vita is set to that language. The game is PlayStation TV compatible and works on North American systems.

(Note: This Review is my opinion only.  I have no affiliation with Koei Tecmo, Play Asia or Sony.  All pictures were taken by me with my camera, or through the game.)

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The girls play beach volley ball

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The plot is pretty much the same as the last DOAX games: Zack has reopened his resort on New Zack Island and has left you (the player) in charge of the island. He has invited 9 of the girls from the latest Dead or Alive game (DOA5:LR) to enjoy a 14 day vacation and partake in the various activities. There are two modes to play: Girl Mode or Owner Mode. In Girl mode , the player, as the girl he chose at the start, can partner up with one another to play 2 on 2 beach volleyball games. The player will have to try to increase their relationship with her partner though winning volleyball games and giving them presents that they like, ranging from swimsuits, food, drinks or items. If the relationship is low enough, the girls’ partner will leave, and the player will have to find another partner. Volleyball is the place when the player can earn the most currency to buy new items. but other activities pay out as well. At night, you can play casino games like blackjack, poker and roulette.

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Increase your funds through gambling at the casino

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The shops contain swim suits that are specifically for your girl, though some might over lap with the other’s preference. Only Honoka would dig this cow pattern.

In Owner Mode, the player steps back as the owner, still choosing what event to do but not playing as the girl. You can watch them do the various activities, even taking pictures of the events. You also have to try to improve your relationship with your chosen girl through giving them gifts that they like. If you give them a swimsuit that they like they will even change into it on the spot. You have to keep your eyes closed. If you peek (press the circle button) they will get upset (obviously) and it will negatively affect the relationship. You can also give gifts to the other girls and your relationship level carries over to subsequent play throughs. You can switch between the modes at any time when not in an activity.

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Rock Climbing is a new activity

There are missions, goals from either Zack (for the Owner) or from the girl to achieve. It might range from buying a girl a swim suit to winning a hand of poker with two pairs. When you complete the missions you get a reward of Zack dollars for the Owner. Missions given by the girl can increase her satisfaction level and you want that as high as possible by the end of the vacation. Any Zack dollars earned in Owner Mode is kept by the owner and the girl and owner have separate funds. If the mission is too had, or you do not have enough funds to do it, you can always cancel it.

 

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Momoji is also here

The game features only 9 of the female fighters from Dead or Alive 5: Last Round: Kasumi, Helena, Ayane, Hitomi, Kokoro, Momoji, Nyotengu, Honoka and Marie Rose. Now the choice of which girls were in this game was apparently voted on through download of themes of the girls for the PS4 and Vita. in Japan. Unfortunately, my favourite girl, Mila, didn’t make the cut, but all time favourites Kasumi and Ayane did. It was a bit surprising that new comers like Honoka and Nyotengu won out over old favorites like Lei Fang and Tina, but it is not surprising and a little sad that little Marie Rose got the most votes. But it is all okay, because canonically, all the girls are over 18 in the game (Marie Rose included). It even says their age in the selection menu, so ogle who you want to. The oldest is Nyotengu, who is 1,018 years old (and doesn’t look a day over 25.)

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Marie Rose: Upgraded from Jail Bait to Barely Legal

The graphic are good on the PS Vita. The game use a modified version of the graphic engine used in the PS4/XBOne versions of Dead or Alive 5: Last Round (Soft Engine 2.0). Called the Soft Engine light, it helps to render realistic skin tones and effects like clothing wetness. It also helps advance the breast physics, giving them a more realistic, albeit slightly exaggerated bounce and the girls move. It also boast an advanced “booty physics,” meaning their butts are getting as much attention as their breasts. Though not as detailed as the PS4 version, the graphics run smoothly with the latest update with no slow down of glitches.

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Behold the advanced Booty Physics!

The controls have not changed much from the previous versions. the volley ball and other mini-games control like they did in the PSP version with touch controls used to poke and prod the girls in gravure mode. IT not as creepy as in Senran Kagura Estival Versus, though. The second thumb stick allows you to manipulate the camera and in volleyball, move your partner around to better receive the ball. Note that, since this is an Asian version (and it is the same in the Japanese one),in the controls in the menu, Circle is used to select and X is used to cancel, which is the opposite of most Western release games. People who import this game should be aware of this.

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Everything on the box is still mostly in Japanese, even the Asian edition. The game does include English menus and subtitles

 

Both the PS4 and PS Vita versions come in either a stand edition of a Collector’s edition. The collector’s edition for each version comes with different items. The PS Vita version, the Venus Edition comes with the game on a Vita card, of course. It also has a set of playing cards featuring images of Honoka on Diamonds, Kasumi on Hearts, Kokoro on Clubs and Nyotengu on Spades, with the Jokers being Zack. It also comes with a hard cover art book, Venus edition, featuring images of all 9 girls from the game (the text is in Japanese, though). There is also a Honkoa mouse pad, the type on which you rest your wrists in her ample bosom. There is also two download codes for DLC. The first is a bonus for early buyers of the game, featuring (for the PS Vita) and angel-themed swim suit for Honoka. The second is the Extreme Sexy Costume V set, featuring a new swim suit for all 9 grils that resemble leaves, vines and flowers. Now the PS4 version has different DLC (Costume set F and a Devil swim suit for Marie Rose) as well as a Marie Rose mouse pad, a different playing card set, different art book and, of course, the game for PS4. Note that the DLC codes will only work in a PlayStation Network Account for the Asia region (Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan), but entitles you to be able to download it for both PS4 and PS Vita.

 

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The swag you get with the Venus Collectors edition

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The PS Vita DOAX3 Venus Collector’s edition comes with this angel swim suit for Honoka

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The Sexy Costume V Set DLC consists of these leafy bikinis for the girls

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There is some variation in each of the girls’ V costumes

Now, because Koei Tecmo believes that it would not be received well in the West, due to recent events like Gamer Gate and immature boys posting derogatory things at women who are in the industry and ones that play video games, it is not receiving a Western release. I do not think that preventing this game from releasing in the west would change a damn thing, especially because online store like Play Asia has had record orders from people importing this game. Now, I have said it in the last two posts: I do not agree with censorship because a game has partial nudity (i.e. in bathing suits) and fan service. The only this that will change attitudes about sex and nudity is if we stop demonizing it. Look, I like Senran Kagura, but why is a game that allows you to fight and strip opponents (with other females) release out here when what is a pretty much a beach vacation simulator is deemed too racy? Why is DOA5:LR, which has scantily clad females (with more racy DLC costumes coming monthly) punching and kicking other fighters of both sex allowed when a game with some of the same girls playing sports and buying each other bathing suits is not? Our priorities are weird, if you think about it. Gun and violence are okay, but show a bit of skin and everyone freaks out. Might as well release DLC that has them all in burkhas.

 

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And miss out on this?

Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 will not win any awards. It is pretty much the same game form 2003 with a altered cast , and better graphics and some new modes. But it is not a terrible game nor is it a morally reprehensible game. Sure, it has the women of DOA in some racy swim wear, but you’d see that at a resort in real life. They are not fighting, or plotting to kill each other. The worse this they can to is reject your offer to team up. It is not deep, but it is fun to see the ladies of DOA have some down time and not fight some evil plot to created bio-engineered ninja to sell as a weapon.  Just enjoy the virtual scenery and get some good picture of the girls while you are at it.

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Pool Hopping plays like it did in DOA Paradise

Dead Or Alive Xtreme 3 for the PS Vita can be bought online through Play Asia.  Make sure you get the Asian copy, not the Japanese one if you want it in English.  Check their site for pricing and availability.

3.5/5

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I can see all the hard work that went into “booty physics.”

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Yup, high quality.

 

PS Vita/PS4 Review: Senran Kagura: Estival Versus

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SENRAN KAGURA ESTIVAL VERSUS_20160319111111

 

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus is a third person hack-and-slash game developed by Tamsoft and published in North America by XSEED/Marvelous USA. The game is available for both the PlayStation Vita handheld and the PlayStation 4 home console. It is the third Senran Kagura game on the PS Vita and a direct sequel to Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus. It is the first game in the series on the PS4. The PS Vita version is compatible with the PlayStation TV micro-console. This review covers both the PS Vita and the PS4 versions.

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Ryona (L) and Ryobi (R) chase after the ghost of their dead sister and kick off this adventure

 

Estival Versus features all four factions from the previous game. After Ryobi and Ryona (from Hebijo Clandestine Girls’ Academy) encounter their long dead sister at a strange ceremony in the woods, they are transported to a tropical paradise dimension. Soon the other Hebijo Girls find themselves drawn into a bright light into this dimension, as are the other groups; Asuka and her friends from Hanzo, Yumi and her Gessen classmates as well as Homura and the rest of the Crimson Squad. Each group are set upon by mysterious ninja, the same group that had attacked them before at the hot springs (as shown in the Senran Kagura: Estival Versus Original Video Animation, not included but you can find it online). The girls fight their way through and all of them meet up and encounter their mysterious host.

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Sayuri and Ryoki

The host is an old woman named Sayuri, a former Kagura or demon hunter. She is also Asuka’s maternal grandmother. She tells the girls that they are now part of the Kagura Millennial Festival, a 8 day celebration to honour those ninja who died in vain in order to give their spirits peace. The celebration includes a contest called the Shinobi Bon Dance, with each team competing against each other to see who can destroy the most shinobi platforms. Assisting Sayuri are Ryoki, the sister of Ryona and Ryobi who was killed by a yoma (demon) on a mission against Miyabi, and the Mikagura sisters, three shrine maidens with their own ninja arts and agenda. Sayuri should not be underestimated either because she holds power inside her.

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The Mikagura Sisters

The game plays pretty much the same as Shinovi versus, with some levels requiring you to defeat a group of enemies to be able to move on to your next objective within a large area or just a large battlefield where you fight until you win. Most of the time (not always) you will face off against up to three or the other characters and have to defeat them.  You still have tricks like Aerial Rave, where you launch you opponent and chase after and attack them in the air. You still have the three mode to fight in; Flash, where you fight in your normal form with no access to you ninja arts; Yang, where you use your shinobi transformation and have access to your ninja art attacks with increased strength; and Yin or Frantic, where you strip down to your underwear, increasing you speed, strength and power, but at the cost of your defence.

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Gameplay from PS4 shown

 

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Yumi at the start of her Shinobi Transformation…

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..and at the end.

New to the game is being able to fight in missions along a partner. Unlike Deep Crimson for the 3DS, this partner is totally Ai controlled and shifts between modes when you do. However, you can do an Fusion Aerial Rave, where if you touch the screen (or touchpad for PS4) when you or your partner initiated and Aerial Rave, both of you will attack the launched target no matter where you were. There are also new power-ups in the form of bombs. Besides the standard exploding bomb, there are bombs that inflict status ailments on you opponents like fire, ice or poison. There are even bombs that render you invisible for ten seconds . And there are context-specific finishers in most (if not all) levels. If you defeat an opponent near certain objects, the final blow will send them into that object for an comical, embarrassing cut scene, in which, of course, there are rendered naked.

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Miyabi and Imu do a Fusion Aerial Rave

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Yumi befriends an octopus in the one of the beach stages cut scene finishers

Here’s the Senran Kagura series’ main draw. Yes, the destructible clothing system is still intact. Each characters outfits can be torn away with enough damage. Powerful attacks will trigger a cut scene showing the character reacting. Unlike Shinovi Versus, the area you damage is not dependant on which type of attack you use (weak vs. strong). Outfits can be torn two times before the character is reduced to her lingerie and scraps of clothing. If enough of the costume was torn away and a powerful finishing blow was landed (or cut scene triggered) the character is stripped completely naked, with bright stars protecting their modesty.
The Shinobi transformation scenes are pretty much the same, too. There girls are naked once the transformation sequence starts, which is a magic girl trope from Japan since at least Sailor Moon (censored in the West) and the shinobi arts scroll appears, sometimes between their boobs, below their cleavage, behind their backs or appearing in…other areas. .We also get a close up of their outfits appearing onto their bodies with shots of their rear and chest. All the time any naughty bits are obscured either by a body part of by those glowing stars. Because, Lord knows, the world would lose its shit if they showed a nipple, animated or otherwise.

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You should see where she hid that scroll.

Customization is also a big thing in the Senran Kagura games and Estival Versus is no exception. You can customize your characters in the dressing room changing both their normal and post transformation outfits. Outfit and accessories can be bought with currency earned for completing missions. There is diorama mode in the dressing room in which you can pose up to three characters in the PS Vita or five on the PS4 and take a screenshot of them. There is also the touching mini-game in the dressing room. Using the touch screen on the Vita or on screen hands on the PS4, you, erm, well grope them until they like you (THIS IS NOT HOW IT WORKS IN REAL LIFE! DON’T DO THIS!!!) after which, if you touch their hands, you can “give” them a “kiss.” You can also tear off their clothing (DON”T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!!!) by rubbing them on the PS Vita’s touch screen with the handheld vertical, which I cannot get to work, or, on the PS4, where, with the grope hands activated, you turn the DualShock 4 vertical and… shake it up and down (think about it…) Subtle, this game isn’t.

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In the dressing room you can change the girls outfits like this pirate outfit

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Use those hands to touch the girls in this pervy mini-game. The full heart means she likes it.

There are also DLC available at launch, with four free outfits that are cross-buy (buy for PS Vita, get it for PS4 as well.  Additional characters are also coming with Naraku and Kagura from Seran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson and a special guest character in the form of Ayane from Dead or Alive, reciprocating the Senran Kagura costume DLC for Dead or alive 5: Last Round.  I’m sure there will be more outfits and accessories in the near future.

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Pose any girl and take their picture in the Diorama mode. You can have up to 3 girls on the Ps Vita…

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…or up to 5 on the PS4.

Despite all the fan service this game offers (and uses as a selling point) the story of this game is pretty good (yes there is a story!) Ryona and Ryobi’s relationship with their dead sister Ryoki is one of the main beats of the story. While Ryona is thrilled to have her older sister back, Ryobi is not, still feeling guilty for telling Ryoki that she hopes she dies before the battle that claimed her life. Of course all this character development is undercut with Ryobi verbally abusing Ryona and Ryona loving it and demanding to be abused more. Seriously, Google search Ryona (BUT NOT IMAGE SEARCH, for your sanity’s sake) to see what fetish her name can refer to. Feel free to GIS Ryobi. All you get are pictures of power tools, which I don’t think has anything to do with the character.

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Ryona knows how to ruin a moment.

There are other serious storylines for the other girls. Yumi and the Gessen girls have a part in which they encounter Kurokage, Yumi’s grandfather and teacher to all of the Gessen students. Miyabi also has a part in which she looks for the soul of her dead mother, who was killed by a Yoma when she was very young. Asuka also has her part to play, trying to figure out why her grandmother really brought them here and what her true motives are. But before you start to think you were getting some serious and deep storyline, it reminds you this is a Senran Kagura game with Katsuragi groping the other girls, Imu lusting after Miyabi and Haruka making up events like a panty-eating contest.

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Katsuragi’s lust for boobs knows no bounds.

Now it is time for a bit of a rant. Now, I am not a big believer in censorship. I think it is stupid that we are afraid of showing nudity more than violence. Now there is violence in this game but it is not graphic and the nudity is fan service, but very cheesecake and all the naughty bits are censored for our protection. Some have objection with how the girls are portrayed.. They are just drawing, not real people and there is enough plausible deniability they the school as post-secondary and all the girls are of age (why would they release this if they were not?). I personally avoid using characters like Ryobi and Mirai because the whole jailbait look is not for me. So, if a game like this gets released in the West, why isn’t Dead or Alive Xtreme 3? It is much less violent, nobody gets stripped (those there might be a few near wardrobe malfunction scenes) and the swimsuits aren’t that far off of what you see in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit video or, at worse, A Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show! Why doesn’t Koei Tecmo release it here? Marie Rose? Mirai is much worse and the official trailer for DOAX3 says Marie’s age is 18. How else would she travel to a tropical paradise alone? My only guess would be the Relationship System with the faux lesbian undertones. But I’ve gotten off track…

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A window pane preserves Asuka’s modesty, if not dignity.

Senran Kagura is a game that you must know what you are getting to enjoy. Like all the games in this series, it is Rated M and should not be played by anyone younger than 17. It is good clean dirty fun that is best enjoyed with a bit of irony and a whole lot of “oh, Japan…” It is a worthy sequel to Shinovi Versus and helps to expand the Senran Kagura universe. The physical release is the special Endless Summer edition which includes the game (either PS4 or PS Vita, art book, one of four sets of cards featuring the girls of each faction and a 2-disc soundtrack. The game is available as a digital download for each system for a cheaper price (I paid $79.99 for the Endless Summer pack for PS Vita and $49.99 for the PS4 game as a download on PSN.
Senran Kagura: Estival Versus was released on 15 Mar 16 and is available on PSN or on online sellers such as Amazon. Some video game stores may have it in stock or can order it for you. Check your local retailer for details and pricing.

4/5

 

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You can do a lot with the diorama mode. It’s all implied, though

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Your thoughts have a lot to do with it.

 

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THE END!

 

PS4 Review: Fallout 4

Fallout 4_20151112205754.jpgFallout 4 is an Action Role playing game.  It is the fourth game in the main Fallout series (not including Fallout Tactics).  It was developed by Bethesda Game Studio and published by Bethesda Softworks.  It is available for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One.  This review is for the PS4 version.

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The Lone Survivor deals with the harsh realities of a post-nuclear world

Set in Boston in the same retro-future universe as the first previous Fallout, the game follows the Lone Survivor of Vault 111.  The game starts as you choose the sex and look of your character (My character was a female named Rebecca, and the Lone Survivor will be referred to as such) as you start the day on 31 Oct 2077.  After signing up for a  space in the  local vault, Vault 111, air raid sirens sound.  Rebecca, her spouse and their new born son, quickly make their  way to the vault where they get in just as the first nuclear bombs hit.  Once inside, they are checked out them but into cryogenic pod to sleep until it is safe to go back out.  Or so they are told.

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Combat can get bloodly

Rebecca is woken up an unknown time later to see two people trying to take her son.  Trapped in her pod, she can only watch as her husband is killed and her baby taken.  She is put back into cryosleep but wakes up 200 years after the bombs fell.  With the rest of the vault dwellers dead in their pods, she is the Lone Survivor of Vault 111,  She goes out into the remains of Boston, known as the Commonwealth to find her child and get revenge for her loss.

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Helping people like Preston and the Minutemen can give you allies in your new world

The game world is a large open world.  You can follow the main quest or wander and take many of the side quests.  You meet up with various factions such as the Minutemen, the defenders of the Commonwealth that have fallen on hard times, or the Brotherhood of Steel, a faction from the previous games.  You also encounter many different enemies, such as Fallout Staples like Feral ghouls, Deathclaws, Super mutants and human raiders.  New enemies factions pop up, too, such as the paramilitary group, the Gunners and androids called Synth, some who look completely human.  that work for the shadowy Institute.  The Institute figures heavily in the disappearance of the Lone Survivors son, so you will ben encountering their agents a lot.

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Feral Ghouls, especially glowing ones, can be a pain.

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Synths are a new threat

Like Fallout 3, you will also have companions to help you on the quest.  Some prefer you if you help out the citizens of the Commonwealth, like plucky reporter Piper, Synth private eye Valentine and Brotherhood of Steel Paladin Danse.  Some prefer if you cause trouble, like ex-Gunner MacCready, ghoul Hancock and pit fighter Cait.  Some are romanceable (by both sexes) which can get you special perks.  Of course, it wouldn’t be Fallout without your canine companion, Dogmeat!

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Piper is a reporter that doesn’t mind getting into trouble.

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Dogmeat!!!

Leveling up has changed from the last game.  One you get your initial stats, you get a point  for every level gained.  You can use it to increase your SPECIAL stats or use it to choose a perk (instead or choosing a perk every 5 levels or so)  Some perks can only be chosen if the corresponding SPECIAL stat is high enough.

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Romanceable characters give you a special perk.

The inventory is largely unchanged save for how clothing and armour are handled.  Armour is now worn over clothing, and there are separate parts for the chest, arms and legs.  The iconic power a..  Establishing settlements or armour is different too.  The armour runs on fusion cores  which you can find throughout the game.  The power armour consists of a frame to which you can customize with the parts of different models of power armour.  Each parts has its own hit points and when it is depleted, it is useless until repaired.  Luckily there are power armour repair stations available in most settlements.

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Not just the Brotherhood has power armour

There is also a bit of settlement management as you can help establish settlements to help increase the Minutemen’s ranks.  You can build houses, defenses, food sources and crafting tables.  By establishing settlements or recruiting established ones can you can summon Minutemen to help or even call in artillery for support.

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Ronnie helps you obtain blueprint for artillery.

Fallout 4 is one of those games that you can play for hours and still have lost to do.  There is no level cap and the game continues even after the main quest is done..  With interesting characters, various places to explore and a lot of enemies to fight, this game is sure to keep players busy, even without the addition content that is coming next year.

4.5/5

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Curie is a robot that you can recruit as a companion

 

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Help her out, and Curie becomes (almost) human