Here we are once again with the ‘Senran kagura’ series. This time we are moving away from the handheld titles and onto the console titles with ‘Senran Kagura Estival Versus’ on the Playstation 4.
Much like last time I am going to deal with the elephant in the room first which is obviously the sexual theme. I am well aware that the sex appeal of the girls in the series is a big part of what makes Senran Kagura what it is but that still does not excuse some of the fan service in Estival Versus. Firstly I have to address the dressing room which allows players to choose clothing for the girls. This gives no effect to the way the girls control which, in my opinion, is fine even if some of the clothes are a little revealing. However, the fan service comes in when you can use hands to grab hold of the girls’ breasts and move them around. This in turn fills a meter which does what can only be described as ‘sexually arouse’ the girls. This resulted in me asking myself why this was even in the game as it came across as rather seedy.
Typically in the series there are anime cut scenes which are beautifully done and I just wish there was more of it. A lot of the time the in-game character models step in and deliver cringe-worthy lines of dialogue in Japanese at each other while flailing around repetitive animations. On the odd occasion there is a serious part of a characters story where the scene will cut to a still image with dialogue on screen. Again this is a shame as more of the anime cut scenes would have been much better when delivering these scenes. The story is very much a throw away affair so don’t expect to be captivated by it very much though this time around, as the game advances, you switch between the various girls who have different move sets which while this style forces you to play as girls you don’t like it does allow you to play as characters you would otherwise not use.
The game itself is a standard hack and slash with large groups of enemies on screen to smash up with combos and special moves. After killing enemies and taking damage you accumulate a ninja scroll which allows the girl you are playing as to transform into her shinobi form which boosts her abilities. The fighting is pretty solid and reminded me a lot of ‘Dynasty Warriors’ or ‘Dragon Quest Heroes.’ What lets the game down are the poor environments which for the most part look slap dash if not incomplete the majority of the time.
In the end Senran Kagura Esival Versus is a solid hack and slash. There are a lot of issues regarding the environments and the dialogue which does seem to be a reoccurring
theme within the series. This is a real shame as the core game is solid and although sometimes the game does come across as ‘over sexualised’ I would recommend this game to anyone who is interested in the genre.