Developer(s) – Tamsoft
Publisher(s) – Marvelous AQL & XSEED Games
PEGI – 16
A fairly popular video game series in Japan, Senran Kagura has not long started making waves in the country and has been met with a relatively high amount of critical acclaim. Senran Kagura Burst was no different, garnishing average scores of 7 or 8 out of ten. Personally, I didn’t see that much appeal in terms of gameplay and found it more repetitive than anything else, Nevertheless, it’s still a pretty interesting title to talk about.
Graphics – 7/10
Making heavy use of cel-shaded visuals, the graphics are about the best aspect of the game. Aside from the many different types of outfits worn by characters, there’s also some basis in the diversity of the level designs too. However, although the character’s outfits are very unique and different from one another as well as in other Japanese series of games, or even media in general, they’re nowhere near the kinds of outfits that ninjas would wear, or be expected to wear. Contrary to popular belief, ninjas never wore jet black, but instead wore navy blue colors in order to better hide in the moonlight. They could also only weigh no more than 60kg, which probably makes most of them illogical candidates since their breasts look like they weigh that alone. Whilst on the topic, the overly sexual appearance of the female characters is the main reason why I don’t understand why this game didn’t get any more attention than what it did; especially since it was released on a Nintendo console. But I think things like this are what Nintendo needs to emphasize that their consoles aren’t just for kids. They just need to make sure that the gameplay is much more immersing before they decide to port it.
Gameplay – 5/10
The gameplay encompasses a mixture of action-adventure and hacks and slash elements. Unfortunately, it can get overly repetitive after a while, and although there is a small RPG element to it, I think that aspect should have built upon even further to make it a lot more interesting. At least with Hyrule Warriors, for example, there were different game modes to keep players busy, but in this game, there isn’t a great deal of incentive to warrant even a second playthrough.
Controls – 9/10
The only issue I had with the game’s control scheme is that due to the nature of the game, and the layout of the in-game screens, it can be difficult for players to see what they’re doing sometimes, since there can be a ton of enemies present at any one given time, and the player character can be behind them. Otherwise, however, there are no further problems. It actually plays out a little like the Ninja Gaiden game on the original DS.
Lifespan – 4/10
Clocking up at about 5 hours, for a game with even mild RPG elements should be made to last even a little while longer. Although there was an additional story added with the release of Senran Kagura burst over the original game, I still don’t feel that the title has enough to offer to warrant the often-times ridiculous prices I’ve seen attached to this game; even pre-owned copies of it. I would understand if they were Japanese imports, and consequently rarer, but £35-£40 is far too high an asking price for a game with as little substance as it has.
Storyline – 5/10
The story follows a group of high school students who are secretly taught the ways of ninjitsu and are tasked with completing various missions throughout the course of the game. Though the dialogue is spoken in Japanese, therefore making the game seem more authentic, and not being marred down by potentially bad English voice acting, the story seems quite vague. Not only that but from the point of view of someone who understands the true practices of ninjitsu, it doesn’t make the story as authentic as it most probably should have been.
Originality – 5/10
In terms of gameplay, there is absolutely no uniqueness to it whatsoever; only being a run-of-the-mill hack and slash title with only a few RPG elements to keep it mildly more interesting than the average game of its kind. However, It does stand out to a certain extent in terms of conceptual design, even though there have been other gaming franchises made in the same vein such as Deathsmiles and Arcana Heart.
To summarize, Senran Kagura Burst certainly isn’t one of the most engrossing games I’ve ever played, and is pretty overpriced, given how little content there is. It may have some interesting visuals, but I can’t help but feel that the developers relied on the game’s level of sex appeal too much.