Review: Senran Kagura: Estival Versus

In my Sega Saturn days if you wanted to experience most of what Japanese Anime games had to offer your only option was to import. Now though the import days are gone and we have Marvelous to publish the more niche titles and bring them to these shores. As soon as I heard of Senran Kagura: Estival Versus being a Hack ’n’ Slash style Japanese Anime title I just had to get my teeth in to it. This is my first title in to this series so I don’t have prior knowledge, but that hasn’t stopped me enjoying this adult oriented adventure.

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus tells the story of the Kagura Millennium Festival where busty femme fatal, high flying ninjas from four shinobi schools are whisked away to what is best described as purgatory. It seems purgatory isn’t all that bad as the girls find themselves on a sunny beach amongst other locations. Just as well they all packed their bikinis and sexy lingerie then. It is here where the four schools will do battle against each other over the eight days that the festival lasts. The winners will obtain the path to becoming a true Shinobi and have the honour to lay their loved ones to rest. As the story unfolds though it seems there is also alternative motives for the girls being here. Even if you take away the adult nature of the scripting you still have a great story full of comedy, emotion and intrigue.

I must really applaud the story telling in Senran Kagura: Estival Versus as it is one game that has a massive amount of reading involved. This game certainly doesn’t hide its adult nature with bum slapping, breast groping and even a panty eating contest. There is one character who is just addicted to groping breasts that won’t take no for an answer. There is also one who loves to be verbally abused, so you can imagine the type of adult material involved. You don’t get to see any actual breast groping although you can get to play with each of the character’s breast in the dressing room. I thought it would be hard to follow the story with this being my first title in the series, but apart from not knowing each of the characters’ backgrounds I was still able to follow the premise of the adventures.

Gameplay takes the form of an action Hack ‘n’ Slash style with mission based gameplay. Leading up to a fight and after fights you have two visual story telling techniques. There are the adventure scenes which advances the story through a host of scripted cinematic scenes. Then you have short story segments that will reveal the history, customs and conflicts of the Shinobi realm. The team have gone some way to include so much reading for those that love story telling. Those that just want to get straight to the battle need not worry as you can enable the option to skip all cut scenes etc.

You would be forgiven to think that the amount of sexual innuendo that’s here, is just to get the dirtier minded gamer on board with the franchise. This though would be a misjudgement as it really does have great gameplay and tons of it even if a little repetitive. You could think of the battles a little like the bra and panties match from the WWE but taken much further with a better combat system. As you fight you will defeat enemies and their clothes will rip off till they are down to their underwear. When it comes to the boss battles you will have the chance to completely strip them although their modesty is hidden.

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When engaged in combat it is usually with hundreds of enemies, seriously I’m not joking. I am use to this style of gameplay so I didn’t feel overwhelmed. I managed to get a one-thousand hit combo although I can imagen veteran players will do this with no trouble. The combat system is all about button combinations using the weak and heavy attack. As you play, your character’s will level up and obtain new moves which I really like. During battles, you can also do a Shinobi Transformation which will unleash your characters’ true shinobi form and allow you to do special attacks. To pull off these attacks you will need to collect scrolls as each takes up a certain number. The opposite of this is Frantic form which is where you remove your clothes in exchange for stronger damage. There is also bombs you can pick up that vary in type from summon bombs to invisible ones which adds fun to battles.

There is a plethora of female characters all with their own identification and move sets for you to control and level up. Some of the fighters are great at long range combat and some better up close and personal. You know you have a great Japanese title when you have a character with dolphin guns and a special move that see’s here ride a dolphin. Another sends out wolves for a massive hit count. There is even one that uses a giant squid to deal massive damage. These ladies don’t just have boobs, they can also bring the pain when needed.

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I thought the main story mode was large but there is even more content outside this to be unlocked for more mayhem. You have Shinobi Girl’s Heart which is unlocked via story mode by finding and destroying festival platforms and completing certain chapters. This mode seems to give the character’s side stories. The other mode is Special Missions where each of the fights stipulate certain conditions and what character must be used. The difficulty also rises and really tests your fighting skills and how well you know a character’s combat skills.

There is also an online mode called Shinobi Dojo that supports up to ten players and include a host of different modes for team battle or free for all. The modes keep with the theme of the game and include battle conditions such as Understorm where panties rain from the sky and you must collect as much as you can. Then there is the Capture the Bra where you must get hold of the bra and make a flag out of it. Moving away from the sexy theme you have Queen of the Hills, where you must destroy five festival platforms scattered throughout the stage. I never get the chance to play online at the time of writing this review but could fight against the A.I and I can say the modes are quite fun and change things up quite a bit.

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Graphically the game has visually stunning HD anime graphics with both colourful characters and scenery. During battles, I have had no frame rate issues and the fighting is fluent. The boob physics will have your eyes bouncing up and down a lot. The Shinobi Transformation will strip your fighter and dress her up in her true Shinobi form, while this happens during battle it doesn’t stop the flow of the game. The music is very addictive in this game and I really do not mind it playing in the background and I absolutely love the music to the intro, honest it’s not because of the swimwear.

The Good Things

  • Well scripted story, and plenty of reading for Anime fans.
  • I really like the combat system which is easy to pick up.
  • Plenty of content and online mode offers a nice change.

And The Bad

  • Not the type of title to pull out in front of the family.
  • You don’t like boobs? Well there is boobs everywhere.

My Verdict…

    Senran Kagura: Estival Versus isn’t the type of game you want to play in front of family due to its adult nature. While the sexual tone towards this all female cast can be questionable, the game also shows how woman can kick butt. Hiding behind all the boobs, bra’s and pants you will find a more than competent combat system and a well written story. There is an astonishing amount of content that I’m sure veteran players will like and for all you players new to the game, you can’t go wrong. This is certainly a diamond in the rough when it comes to a niche anime fighters, I just wish it came out on the Xbox One as well.

If you look beyond the adult content, you will find a great fighter with plenty of content.

About no1phil

PR Manager & Editor for XLC Gaming Network. I have been gaming since the ZX Spectrum days growing up through many generations of consoles. A bit of a jack of all trades when it comes to gaming genres. When I'm not either being shot at, dancing, scoring for the other team or racing I am trying to become a guitar God with Rocksmith 2014.