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 Review: Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors

Criminal Girls 2:Party Favors is a Japanese Role Playing Game developed by Nippon Ichi Software and published by NIS America  it is a sequel to Criminal Girls: Invite Only, also for the PS Vita (and reviewed here)It was released physically on 20 September, 16 and on PSN on 11 October, 2016 in North America.  The game is PlayStation TV compatible.

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Meet your new charges

As in the first game, you are a Reformation Instructor in Hell.  Your job is to guide the souls of delinquents, girls who have yet to commit a crime punishable by damnation, but are close enough to need guidance to reform.  Unfortunately you have lost your memory and suddenly fin yourself with seven delinquents to guide through hell.  Each are headstrong and resistant in their own way but you have to get them to work together to ascend the Spire.  The only issue is, you find out there should only be six girls…

 

Criminal Girls 2 plays exactly like the previous game, with you moving your 2d  characters through the mazes of hell.  Monster encounters random, except for boss fights and when it is needed to move the story along. The story is told though Japanese voice acting with English subtitles with 2D images of the characters with limited animation.  You explore the levels, only saving at camps at various locations.

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Yurine is ditzy, but she seems to mean well.

The girls that you guide  pretty much follow the typical anime tropes as the first game.  You have the regular sized girls (Shinoa and Lily), the well endowed women (Yurine and Tsukyasa) and the uncomfortably jailbait-like ones (Kuroe, Mizuki and Sui).  Of course the girls are old enough to no get NIS in trouble.  Each character has their own personality as well. Shinoa is caring and trusting; Lilly comes off as a rich snob but does have a soft spot; Yurine is a bit ditzy but wants to help, Sui is sarcastic and analytical, Tsukasa is a bit of a tease, Kuroe is shy and talks through her donkey doll, Baron; and, Mizuki who is a clumsy girl who’s child-like nature makes motivating her creepy.

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Mizuki skews young, doesn’t she…?

Combat is turned base and when you go into a encounter, the screen changes and you see four of your girls , two on either side of the screen and the monster(s) in the middle.  As the Instructor, you do not attack, you only choose which character to take battle advice.  That action will be take that round then the monsters go (if they didn’t attack first.  Some action have two characters attack at once.  You can also heal your girls with items or switch a girl out for another character.  These actions do not count towards the turn.  You can also use skill as spells that the character has learned.  After  the battle, the characters get experience to level up their hit points and CM points with can go towards items in the shop or to towards the motivation mini games.

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Yes , the Motivation system is back.  In order to get the girls to fight, you must motivate them with various punishments. There are five Motivational mini-games:  Scrubby Scrub, which you scrub soap off the girls; Spanking X, which is spanking two girls at a time; Slimeshot, which you spray your goo, er slime on the girls (that’s not suggestive…); and Shocking bondage, in which you shock the girls when they are all tied up.  As their Motivation level goes up, you unlock more attacks, magic or stat bonuses for that character.  You will have two types of skills, S Skills and M skills.  They can affect your character when you coach them in battle, enabling them to deal more damage (S) or reduce damage take (M).

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Motivation makes use of the Vita’s touch controls.

 

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Scrub their sins away.  This is the least creepy of the Motivations
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As you progress in the motivation, you can unlock new abilities

The gameplay is like a typical JRPG.  There will be a lot of grinding to get up levels and to unlock abilities.  You can go up to 30 second without having a random encounter and when you start out with only one girl fighting, some enemies will be tough.  Getting enough CM points to motivate the girls will be your priority as your attacks will improve.  All characters get XP after battles so don’t worry if you tend to stick with your favourite four.

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You get some XP.  You get some XP.  Everyone gets some XP!!!

 

Graphic-wise, it looks the same as the first game.  The dungeons change a bit from level to level but it can become a bit repetitive.  The monsters still look like they did in the first game, with some of them not resembling the creature the game says they are.  But, hey, you’re in Hell, scrubbing and spanking girls to redeem them.  Nothing has to make sense.

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The art was redrawn to be less explicit

Now, it has to be obvious that his game must have been somewhat censored to be brought out west.  Japan has some different sensibilities that may not fly in the west.  So the girls have been aged up (or, more accurately, all traces of age have been removed and it is assumed that they are old enough to drink in Alberta at the very least.).  Some changes NIS admitted were redrawn art for the motivation mini-games, removing elements that might have been considered explicit, removing the yelps and moans from the mini-games ,and even changing the name of the Motivation system (originally it  was called Punishment.)  Compared to the pink mist obscuring the Motivation mini-game in Criminal Girls: Invite Only, this is acceptable.

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Mizuki looks like a kid so Tsukasa treats her like one.
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…That ain’t helping to change anyone’s mind.

Overall, this is a okay game for those who do not mind the tediousness of a grindy JRPG.  You definitely have to be in the mood for it if you want to get far in this game.  Looking back, I think I judged the first one a bit harshly, mostly because of the annoying censorship and the battle mechanics.  But I seethe strategy in the system now and the censorship is not as prominent in this game,.  But it is not a overly pretty game, save for the characters themselves.  It is a long, dark bland game, but then again, it is set in Hell.

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Hell is other people.

Criminal Girls 2: Party Favours is available through online retailers, such as Video Games Plus and Rice Digital on online on the PlayStation Store.  There was a Collector’s Edition available as well as a standard copy.   Prices may vary by your country .

3.5 out of 5

 

 

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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/PS4 Review: Senran Kagura: Estival Versus

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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!

 

Review: Fantastic Four (2015)

Screen-Shot-2015-08-07-at-3_26_36-AM.pngI have always thought that the Fantastic Four comic would be the worst comic to adapt into a live action movie. The whole set up was hokey even in the 1960’s: A brilliant scientist, his best friend, the scientist’s love interest and her younger brother launch in to space to observe a rare cosmic phenomena only to be bombarded with cosmic rays and gain unique super powers. They would then form a team (because why not?) to defend the Earth from threats terrestrial, sub-terrestrial, extra-dimensional and from out of this world. And their names ranged from classic (The Human Torch was based on a older character) to simple (Invisible Girl/Woman and Thing are pretty spot on) to downright arrogant (Who calls themselves Mr. Fantastic? He must be a monster between the sheets or Sue would’ve took him down a peg.) Despite this, they are an important part of Marvel’s history so naturally they would try to make a movie . They have done so: One was never released and only exists in bootleg copies and another had faults, but did well enough to spawn a sequel, which did its best considering the main threat was a purple-helmeted planet eating giant, at least in the comics but a Galactus-shaped cloud in the movie. But, in order to withhold the movie right from Marvel’s parent company, Disney, 20th Century Fox release a new Fantastic Four, directed by Josh Trank. Would this finally get this storied comic book franchise right.

Short answer, no. Long answer, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

The movie follows Reed Richards and Ben Grim in, what I guess, was their senior year in high school (while the actors look way past their teens) So, the set up is similar to the Ultimate Universe version (if you don’t know what that is, don’t worry. Marvel crapped that away years ago.) Reed’s science project, a interdimensional gate (how is he still in a public school if he is building interdimensional rifts?) gets the notice of Dr Franklin Storm, a scientist who runs an organization that is trying to build a similar device. Reed meets Dr. Storm’s son, Johnny, his adopted daughter Susan and a certain Victor Von Doom, who was working on the institute’s version of the portal. . When the government threaten to take over the project, Reed calls Ben and, along with Victor and Johnny, travel to the place they call Planet Zero. While there, the planet erupts violently, seemingly killing Doom and bombing the other s with radiation. Susan, is in the control room when they teleport back, getting caught in the explosion that follows and getting doused in the same “cosmic rays.” Of course they each develop powers, Reed can stretch, Johnny can emit flames and fly, Sue can turn invisible and has telekinesis and Ben is a super strong rock guy with no genitals. Some are thrilled, some are not (you’d be too if you were rendered a eunuch) and the government wants to you them to rebuild the portal and go back. But someone is waiting for them.

I had a hard time watching this movie. The acting is bad. Not horrible, but you never start to like any of them.. Kate Mara is the worse, with her dead-eye performance making me yearn for Jessica Alba in the role ( and Jessica had more charisma). The rest, well I didn’t feel it. The making them teens make sense, not casting actors in their thirties to plan them was not. Well, most were late twenties but they did not look the part. And, what they did to poor Ben! Was giving him CGI shorts too much for their budget? Or go the Watchman route and have Ben hang out in all his rocky glory? With a name like the Thing, there has always been jokes and speculation about the Thing’s…thing, but to castrate him like this is horrible.

My biggest gripe, however is that they failed to get Doctor Doom right. No movie so far has given us an authentic Doom (Rise of the Silver Surfer came closest, but still fell short.) A little Fantastic Four 101: Doom was not around for the space mission that gave the team their powers. He had no power, save those for his technology (he a bit of a mad scientist) and magic (he’s a double threat!). He was as smart as Reed, but his ego usually gets the better of them (and this against a guy who calls himself “Mister Fantastic!”) His connection to the team was that he knew reed in College and he blames him for an accident that gave him a scar! Surely with that origin, some screen writer could give us a Doom that is a plausible threat, one that would rival Darth Vader in sheer bad assness (and the scene in Empire Strikes Back, where the heroes meet Darth in a banquet hall? Doctor Doom did it first.)

This movie fails as a super hero movie., It fails as a science fiction movie about four friends mutated by cosmic forces. I would not be surprised if Fox shoveled out this movie just to keep the rights to the franchise   While they’ve been doing good with the X-Men franchise as of late, this new version of the FF does not work. They are still threatening a part 2, though fans are hoping they will reach a agreement with Marvel/Disney similar to the one reached with Sony over Spider-Man. They won’t. Fox can be dicks sometimes. Look how long it took the ’60s Batman TV series to be released on DVD. With Marvel disbanding the Fantastic Four in the comics and the movie director disowning the film, 2015 has been a lousy year foe Marvel’s oldest superhero team.  If you want to see the Fantastic Four done right, watch the Incredibles. Or if you have to have Johhny, Ben, Sue and Reed, watch some of the cartoons, preferably the “90 version, not the one with H.E.R.B.I.E  (Not the Love Bug, though they are now owned by the same company…) Even the movies with Chris Evens and Jessica Alba are better (they do have a charm to them,). Don’t watch this one, you will just be sad.

 

1/5