Bring out the towels, it’s about to get wet.
Players might not be familiar with the franchise or perhaps they just don’t care for them, but either way, Senran Kagura is back with more sun, more fun, and more fan service. There is a specific crowd that absolutely loves these games and regardless of what specific features that drive the folks to enjoy it. The biggest questions when it comes to games for me are: Is it fun and did it entertain me. I can say right from the get go, yes to both of those, but players will have to be ok with the subject matter and style these games have.
Don’t forget your sun block.
SK:EV is a new entry in the franchise, and those that follow the story will pick up on the various references and story beats that happened prior. I’ve dabbled in the prior games, and can say I’ve never cared much for the story in these games. It’s the gameplay that truly finds me having a good time. Depending on my mood, I even skip story sequences at moments. It’s both a testament to the gameplay and not so much a pick on of what occurring in the game. The story beats are interesting enough, and this time we see the different girl clans getting whisked away to a mysterious island, with the hopes of winning and being able to learn the ways to resurrect deceases loved ones. The story teeters on the ridiculousness of its humor and raunchy style, but then also has some serious moments. It’s an interesting combination, but not one totally unexpected unless this is the first time playing with the franchise.
Platforms: PS4, Vita
Price I’d Pay: $39.99
Multiplayer: Online MP modes
How long to beat: 10+ hours
Gameplay wise we see a return to the constant barrage of enemies coming at the women as they fight for survival and sometimes each other. It’s a ton of bad guys on screen, wanting to do nothing but destroy them. It highly reminds me of gameplay from the age old Dynasty Warriors franchise, that to this day is alive and well. Here we have each different character with unique movie sets/weapons, and as they fight they can transform. Doing so causes their clothes to rip off, their round, curved bodies to be exposed and a scroll appearing from the middle of their chest. I did tell you this game had plenty of fan service right?
They then get equipped with a new outfit and start dealing even more damage out. If this sort of thing bothers players, that’s respectable and understandable. For myself it feels almost as a parody unto itself, but it’s also steeped in anime culture. The mayhem continues, and overall these are the core elements that the series has always been known for. Yes, there are wall running attacks, aerial moves, and special abilities that look flashy and full of substance, but still ultimately feels a bit shallow at times. One of the best things I appreciate from seeing the franchise move to the PS4 is the mostly solid and smoother framerate and the super colorful look to the franchise. Not that it’s never been colorful before, it’s just seemingly the most beautiful looking version in the franchise. The environments get repetitive, but look decent enough even if basic. The soundtrack is serviceable enough, and keeps the momentum going.
Sand between your toes.
There are only a few things that bothered me with the game, and it has nothing to do with the subject and theme at play. The camera can be a bit wild at times and the lock on helps, but then with so many enemies on screen, it feels rather moot at times. The game runs smooth, so smooth that when there is framerate issues, it’s definitely noticeable. A small blip really. That, aside the repetition at hands with battles, goes hand in hand with the genre. Players either like it or accept it or not. Otherwise, this game will grow old too quickly for some. All combined, I feel this is one of the better releases in the franchise.
It’s got the customization for outfits, pictures, and even some very basic multiplayer modes that I was sadly not able to really get to much into due to lack of a community to play with currently. Finishing the chapters leads way to replays using whichever character players want, so that’s always fun to replay with the favorites. Senran Kagura: Estival Vesus might not do anything extremely different, but it’s apparent the fan base is perfectly happy with that and, ironically, so am I.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.