Busting at the seams.
Developer Tamsoft has come a long way. Most don’t know, but they developed the original Battle Arena Toshinden on the PlayStation way back in 1995. Since then they have worked on plenty of niche and obscure titles, including XSEED Games’ other titular project, Onechanbara. Senran Kagura follows in the same footsteps, or perhaps bra straps, of the aforementioned title. Tamsoft knows why people play these games, and they are never shy about exploiting that.
Let’s get the semantics out of the way upfront. Deep Crimson has a semblance of a story. It is about two warring factions, told in extremely exaggerated anime fashion. The focus feels more on the characters than their conflict, and of course there are plenty of scenes showcasing the characters in as little clothing as possible. The story definitely won’t interest most gamers, and let’s face facts, that is not why most who purchased the game are here, but at least they made an effort to make it somewhat comprehensible.
Price I’d Pay: $19.99
Underneath the bouncy assets there is a game here. Deep Crimson is a brawler at its core. Of course I can’t seem to talk about any aspect of the title without mentioning the obvious. Hitting other characters causes their clothes to fall off, thus triggering a slow-motion scene of the girls in their bra and panties. Again Tamsoft knows what they are aiming for here.
Alas, the combat itself is clumsy. The lock-on mechanic is troublesome at best, and I often found myself getting attacked by enemies I had no idea were there. The game uses a two-button system that employs a set of combos and of course a super attack. Sadly, most battles evolve into a button mashing frenzy that usually ends with, you guessed it, the girls with little clothing and of course posing in a seductive manner.
In between fighting there is a hub world where players can interact with other characters and customize their look. As one would imagine, there are plenty of suggestive outfits and accessories. More are unlocked as players progress, and there is even an XP and upgrade system that unlocks new moves and powers. It still doesn’t change the fact that the combat remains button mashy. Am I just hoping for too much from a game focused on selling sex?
At least Senran Kagura never tries to mask what it is trying to do. The box art even implies it, as the girls on the cover are resting their “assets” on their folded arms, and the limited edition is called the “Double-D Edition”. No splitting hairs here, I just wish the core game was better. Like Onechanbara before it, at least that game had some truly interesting combat mechanics, along with of course a banana costume that was as ridiculous as one would imagine.
Visually the game is a mixed bag. The characters look fantastic. Their animations are top-notch, and yes I am referring to everything outside of the obvious focal point. However, the backgrounds are bland and uninspired. The 3D is something everyone will jump to use, but it kills the frame rate, and besides it is just creepy. I felt I needed a shower after testing it.
Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson knows what it is. It never apologizes for that, I just wish it was a better game. There are plenty of games like it; Onechanbara is an easy reference point because it just released, and it hosts much better combat mechanics. Still, players will obviously come into this game for one reason, and this outing fits that bill. Here is hoping the upcoming PS4 version actually has the game play to back up the fan service.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.