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.

Nintendo 3DS review: Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson

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Kagura shows her ample assets

 

Senran Kaugra 2: Deep Crimson is a side-scrolling hack-and-slash game developed by Tamsoft and published in North America by XSEED Games (now Marvelous USA).  It is the third Senran Kagura game on the 3DS, with the first game being Japan-Only and the second. Senran Kagura Burst, being a re-release with an additional storyline.  It was released physically and as a download on 15 Sept 2015.

Asuka and Homura team up!

The game starts with a reprise of the end of the first game, with the Hanzon Academy girls (Asuka, Ikaruga, Katsuragi, Yagyu, and Hibari) facing off against, and eventually teaming up with the Hebjio Acaemdy students (Homura, Yomi, Hikage, Mirai and Harkura) to take down their sensei, Dougen.  They prevail in the end, but while the Hanzo students returned to their school, Homura and her friends find themselves as renegades from Hebijo,

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The Cast of Senran Kagura 2

Now calling themselves the Crimson Squad, Homura and the rest continue to train while working the odd job to survive.  They find themselves face to face with Asuka and her friends once again as a vacation turns into a mission.  Demons called Yoma have started to appear which put the Good Ninja Leadership on alert.  Somehow tied to the Yoma is a mysterious woman named Naraku and a little girl who when she absorbs enough “red orbs” from the Yoma, she ages up and becomes the legendary demon hunter, Kagura!.  Now, with the Hanzo girls ordered to slay Kagura and the Crimson Squad sensing a kindred spriit, are they two sides able to come to terms and find a way to both stop the Yoma and save Kagura from her fate?

Like there previous games for the 3DS, Senran Kagura 2 is mostly a side scrolling game.  Most of the time you move forward until you a blocked by enemies, and are only able to proceed once you defeat all of them.  Boss battles are in a large open area where you can move freely around the area.  Stages vary from city streets to crater and to a hot spring resort, just to name a few.  You can fight in both normal modes (school uniforms and street clothes) or transform into Shinobi mode where you can access you secret ninja arts for more damage.  Anyone who has played a Senran Kagura game would have no issue playing this one.

New to the series is the abilities to play as two girls at a time.  Some levels have you play as two of the girls, whom you can switch between by pressing A. In these battles you lose if both girls are defeated.  If one is knocked out, if your remaining character survives long enough your other character will revive with a small bit of health. You can also play local and online co-op play through WiFi.

Of course it would not be a Senran Kagura game without the stripping!  All the ladies of Senran Kagura games have destructible outfits and can be stripped to their underwear in battle. Some of the generic troops feature clothing damage but only when you fight one of the 10 main girls,, or Daidoji, Rin, Naraku or Kagura (in her adult form, of course!) do you get a close up of the action.  You character can be stripped too and any damaged is reset between rounds, except in the Yoma’s Nest mode, which I’ll get into next.

Besiudes the main game, there are other modes like a challenge mode, whenre you win under certain conditions, for which you get a Shinboi Stone to power up you character in the game.  The Yoma’s Nest mode is an endurance mode in which you fight match after match, facing increasingly stronger opponents, which regaining little to no health between matches.  There are also training missions and additional content can be bought from the Nintendo eShop.

You can also customize the girls, too.  Entering the dressing room you can change the characters look in her normal or shinobi modes.  Hair styles and colors can be adjusted and accessories added.  Even their bathing suits (what the game calls underwear) can be adjusted.  New costumes and accessories are unlocked as you play the game or when you download certain DLC packs.  You can also take phots or the girls, alone in in pairs, in various poses and save it to your SD card.

You can add accessories like eye patches, which for Mirai, is redundant
You can add accessories like eye patches, which for Mirai, is redundant

 

I like the Senran Kagura games and this one does improve on the last one for the 3DS.  However I do prefer the PS Vita version of this series ( Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus) and I can’t wait to play the new one in that series (Estival Versus, which I’ll review soon!).  As I said in my review for Shinovi Versus, this is the sort of game that we used to rarely see out here due to cultural differences and attitudes towards showing a little skin.  Though this game series is toned down compared to the anime and, to an extent, the PS Vita versions, I am still surprised that this is on a Nintendo platform.  A game like this wouldn’t have bee allowed twenty years ago or ten years ago, or, at least not released in the West five years ago.  Still, this is a game that the M rating was made for.  It is definitely not for kids. Still, it is strange when you think that society would rather show violence than show a nipple.

Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is available as a digital download or as a physical release.  The physical release, tactfully called the Double D Edition, comes with a two disc soundtrack featuring the music from the game.  It is available through online retailers such as Amazon and may be available in shop at EB Games.  Check online for details.

Review: “New” Nintendo 3DS XL- Hyrule Edition

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The Nintendo 3DS is the current line of portable video game consoles from Nintendo, following the Nintendo DS before it as well as the Game Boy family of handhelds.  Coming out in North America in 2011, it boasted a stereographic 3D system that was designed to made the graphic pop out.  I was an early adopter of the system and I was not too impressed with either the 3D or the available games.  In fact, In the 4 years I have had it, I only got 10 games, mostly getting AAA games  (Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS), remakes of older Nintendo games (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time) and niche Japanese games (Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers and two Senran Kagura games), not counting the 20 Virtual Console games I got as an early adopter thanks to the Ambassador Program.  Mostly, it was I was mainly using my PS Vita as my “To Go” console, taking it with me the last two times I was “out and about” in the world.

With the newer games, such as Smash Bros, I found myself playing my 3DS more, but wishing for a model with a bigger screen.  So, the “New” Nintendo 3DS XL (released in North America February 2015) is that, XL meaning that it is bigger and the “New” indicating upgrades to graphic and performance with addition features not found in the older version.

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“New” 3DS Xl next to original 3DS

The XL version is larger, no surprise there with the two screens being bigger as well.  The layout or the controls and buttons has some minor changes.  The D-Pad and thumb stick are still to the left of the bottom screen and the face buttons (A,B,X,Y) are still on the right, with the left and right bumper buttons on the top edge of the lower half.  The Home button is still bottom centre beneath the lower screen, but has an elongated oval shape.  The Start and Select buttons have moved and are now below the face buttons.  Additionally, the “New” 3DS has a C-Stick, a little nub at the top fight of the lower screen that can be used to move the camera in some games as well as two more buttons ZL and ZR at the top by the bumper buttons.  The C-Stick and Z buttons work like the ones on the Circle Pad Pro, an add on that was used for some games in with a second thumb stick would be useful.

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Both systems open

Since it has “3D” in its name, lets talk about the systems 3D system.  Like the older models, it still uses the stereographic 3D system (essentially, it show two copies of the same image, one on top of the other to create “3D”) with the new Super Stable 3D system that detect the angle you are looking  form and adjust the image.  Like the older system, it game make it seem like it is 3D, with the new system helping to keep the effect if you move your head.  It works okay, I guess, but I am not a fan of it.  I usually play with the 3D turned off.

Other changes are the placement of the cartridge slot and SD card slot.  The game slot has moved from the top of the low half, in the centre, to the bottom left of the lower side.  The slot for the SD card is no longer on the left side of the unit, nor does it use standard SD cards.  The slot is not underneath the casing of the bottom half, near the battery and requires a micro SD card, either standard or HC (High Capacity) versions.  The unit does come with a 4 GB micro SD card already in the unit, so you don’t have to go out and get one, unless you have a large card in you old 3DS and plan to transfer to the new one.

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Back compartment open to show micro SD slot

The Transfer process is pretty simple and the steps are laid out in the instruction manual that comes with the system.  Under System Settings-Other Settings, select System Transfer on page 4 on both systems and follow the instructions.  It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour so it is best if you plug both in.  You have the option of re-downloading any titles you have on you old SD card or transfer it to the new micro-SD card using a PC (a micro-SD adapter and a PC with a SD card reader is required.   While transferring you will be treated to animations of little pikimans moving you data. So if you plan to upgrade to a new one and you have stuff to transfer, buy the new system first and do the transfer.  If you reformat your old 3DS before transferring, you will lose all of your stuff.

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Size comparison between micro SD and regular SD.  Canadian Quarter is there for scale

Other than that, it is just like the regular 3DS.  The new is the same, with the newer firmware adding themes that can be downloaded form the Nintendo eShop (some are free.)  The eShop does require you to have a login which can be used on the Wii U as well. Most software is tied to the console downloaded on, unless System Transfer is used.  Spot and Street Pass works the same as does all the software that is preloaded in new consoles.

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The design on the Hyrule edition is based on The Legend of Zelda. Figma Link not included

The one I got was a  “Hyrule Edition”, featuring a Gold faceplate with the Tri-Force symbol from The Legend of Zelda series.  This special edition is only available at EB Games in Canada (Gamespot in the United States) and cost an extra $25 than the regular “New” 3DS XL model.  It was on sale during the run up to Christmas and again, at least in Canada, during EB Games Boxing Day sale, in which you save $30.

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Themes like this Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask are available to purchase

The “New” Nintendo 3DS is a great system and has definitely gotten me to play more of my 3DS games.  The 3D is better, but still not my thing but the bigger screens are great, especially when playing Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS (that the games official title!).  I wish there was a screenshot option of this system as I’d would do more review on 3DS games.  Some games do allow you to take pictures and save them to the micro-SD cards, but there is no way to transfer them to you PC wirelessly.  While I do still prefer the PS Vita in that regard, games for that system are becoming few and far between.  The Nintendo 3DS library has a few gems that are not Pokemon or other “capture the monster and fight ’em’ type of games.  With old favorite getting remake  and new games, both first and third party that are not too kiddish (though I do enjoy the new Skylanders game) I may add a lot more games to my library.  And I might have to bring my 3DS along the next time work takes me abroad.

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While there is no system Screenshot feature, games like Super Smash Bros lets you pause the games and save pictures to you SD card

 

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While Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson have a photo mode to take picture of the characters in various outfit.  Nice clean photos…

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Yeah, not dirty at all…

 

 

PS4 Review: Dead Or Alive 5: Last Round

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Rehashes of Fighting Games are not new.  How many versions of Street Fighter 2 were there before Capcom released Street Fighter 3?.  Usually they refine the fighting mechanics, add new stages, characters and costumes and add a adjective like “Super” to the front or a subtitles like “Third Strike”.  Koei Tecmo is following this convention with the Dead or Alive series with Last Round.

Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is a fighting game developed by Team Ninja and published by Koei Tecmo.  It is the fourth iteration of Dead or Alive 5, counting Dead or Alive 5 Plus for PS Vita.  The games is available as a free to play Core Fighter version with 4 playable fighters with the option to buy the rest or as a full game with all 34 playable characters.  It is available for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.  This review is on the PS4 version.

DEAD OR ALIVE 5 Last Round has the same  sexy fighting as before
DEAD OR ALIVE 5 Last Round has the same sexy fighting as before

The main game is the same as the previous versions, with an arcade mode tag battles, story mode, etc.  The Story Mode does not include any of the additional characters from Ultimate or Last Round.  You still can save replays and take pictures in game (in addition to the Share function.)  These are saved on your PS4 hard drive.

The main draw of Last Round is the additional characters and features from the previous versions. From DOA5+ are the Private Paradise clips, where the DOA girls play on a beach on Zach Island for your viewing pleasure.  From Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, you get 7 more characters;  Jacky Bryant (from Virtua Figters, Momoji and Rachel from the Ninja Gaiden series, classic DOA characters Leon and Ein , Phase 4, the Kasumi clone from the Story Mode, Nyotengu, a female tengu (Japanese demon) and Marie Rose, a young girl who’s bucks the trend of all the females having big breasts.

I'm not sure if this is less creepy
I’m not sure if this is less creepy

Last Round adds two more characters to the roster.  From the original Dead or Alive returns Raidou, Ayane’s father, now resurrected as a cyborg.  Also debuting is Honoka, another busty 18-year old girl (it says so on her official bio) who seems to borrow from various fighting styles for her moves.  There are new stages as well such as a beach at night during fireworks and Loreli Castle decked out for Halloween.  Then there are the costumes.

Momoji and Rachel
Momoji and Rachel

Jacky and Leon
Jacky and Leon

Phase 4 and Nyotengu
Phase 4 and Nyotengu

Ein and Raidou
Ein and Raidou

Honoka and Marie Rose
Honoka and Marie Rose

Previous versions had DLC costumes.  Those for the original cast from the first DOA 5 and DOA5+ (cheerleader outfit, Hot Getaway) are mostly included as unlockable costumes.  DLC for DOA5 Ultimate are transferable or can be bought individually, in sets or in one shot for $92.  New DLC are grouped in seasons, which there has been 2 so far. and include Ninja costumes, Christmas and Halloween costume for most characters as well as more bikinis, sexy nurse outfits, a Bath and Bed set and others for most of the female characters.  Of course, this being a Dead or Alive game, most of the female costumes are sexy and/or skimpy.

Some outfits barely qualify as one...
Some outfits barely qualify as one…

Some costumes have a special feature on the PS4 and XB1 versions.  Outfits from the Senran Kagura set can be damaged if hit by a critical hit.  The outfits will be torn and remain that way for the duration of the fight, Other themed outfit sets feature this (Deception 4 and Costumes by Tamiki Wakaki set) with more to be added, I’m sure.

Outfits like the Senran Kagura ones can be damaged.
Outfits like the Senran Kagura ones can be damaged.

Outfit damage last until the match is over.
Outfit damage last until the match is over.

All this DLC can be pricy.  To get both seasons, plus all the Ultimate DLC Honoka’s cheer leader Christmas and swimwear, and all four new girls Hot Getaway movies, it will cost you close to $400.  It seems excessive, but none of this DLC is essential and you can pick and choose what you want.  Buying the Season pass net you an exclusive costume each (angel outfit for Marie Rose for Season 1, and Secret Agent Honoka for Season 2) but, as long as you buy the full game, you have the complete game, with most characters having at least 6 unlockable outfits.

Agent Honoka costume is a bonus for Season Pass 2
Agent Honoka costume is a bonus for Season Pass 2

If you only have a last gen console and have one of the previous games, this is an easy pass.  If you have a PS4/XBOne, this is a great fighter for your console.  With the DLC continuing into the next year and with a new character and level coming in Spring 2016, there is enough to keep it fresh, exciting and sexy.

Hitomi dressed as Yumi (Senran Kagura)
Hitomi dressed as Yumi (Senran Kagura)

4/5

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Halloween 2014. Nice…

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Phase 4 as Ikargura and Kasumi as Asuka

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Tina as Katsuragi and Mila as Hikage

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Momoji

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Rachel in Halloween costume

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Kasumi in a battle damaged outfit.

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Secret Agent Honoka

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Nyotengu all wrapped up in ribbons. Festive!

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IT’S OVER!!!!!!