Sunday, October 4, 2015

Game Review: Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson

Beat 'em Up; 3DS; Tamsoft; 2015
Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn at the United Nations.... The world has gone insane. Nothing makes sense any more. You can just go on and on about Harassment and "Cyber Violence" without providing any proof, and you can be invited to talk before representatives of every nation to deal with these "problematic issues." Anyway, I'm not going to respond to that, I've already talked WAY too much about Anita this past month, so instead I'm going to talk about a game that Anita would HATE. I'm reviewing Senran Kagura Tits- I mean Senran Kagura 2: Deep Cleavage- I mean Crimson.... Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson.

Umm, why aren't you looking at each other?
Ninjas, or Shinobi, exist in today's world. However, instead of serving feudal lords and emperors, the modern day Shinobi are expected to serve the Japanese government and follow a strict set of rules. These are Good Shinobi. Evil Shinobi are employed by private organizations and companies, and are accepted regardless of their past, so long as they complete their missions. Good and Evil Shinobi are destined to fight each other. However, between the Good Shinobi Students of the Hanzo Academy and the Evil Shinobi students of the Hebijo Clandestine Girls Academy, a bond was forged. Now, after their confrontation over the Super Secret Ninja Scrolls, these girls walk their separate paths, the Hanzo girls back home victorious and the Hebijo girls leaving their school as Renegades, both surrounded by their friends. But fate brings them back together. To combat a sudden surge of demons known as Yoma, Asuka and her Hanzo friends must team up with Homura and her Crimson Squad, to quell the monsters that threaten the peace, and unravel the secrets behind the mysterious girl named Kagura.

For those of you who are worried that you'd need to play Shinovi Verses on the Vita to catch up on the story, don't. Deep Crimson starts RIGHT where the previous game, Burst, ended (like the first chapter of this game is the LAST chapter of Burst). And for those who play this game for the story, it isn't bad. It's definitely not as in-depth and informative as Burst was and you don't learn anything more about each character that you didn't already know from playing Burst. Instead, most of the story is focused more on the new characters of Kagura and Naraku, and the returning cast at most gets a few bits of drama that get resolved rather quickly. On one hand it does cut down on the amount of time spent on developing the story, the visual novel sequences are nowhere near as long as they where in Burst which gets you into that action quicker, but on the other it feels like not as much was as stack in this game. Like it's just maintaining the status quo rather than actually progressing the story. Overall, not bad, but maybe a little disappointing.

For those who are unaware, Senran Kagura is a Beat'em up series that sets itself apart by having fast-pace combat and having each character with giant gravity defying breasts flopping about. First the actual gameplay. Unlike it's predecessor, Senran Kagura Burst, which was modeled off of old-school Arcade beat'em ups like Double Dragon and TMNT (where you can move up and down but you can only attack left and right) Deep Crimson goes for a more open 3D environments; however, the core gameplay remains the same. You have two attack buttons, Light and Heavy, and can preform different branching combos based on input and if you hold the button or not, which are unlocked through a very simple Level Up system. You also can transform into you shinobi outfit, which not only restores your health, but also restores your clothing and gives you access to several powerful Ninja Arts that consume scrolls (which are acquired through combos). Oh, did I forget to mention that as you fight your clothes get destroyed based on how much damage you receive, and that if you receive enough damage you are fighting in your underwear? Yeah, that's a thing in this game, and you can do it to your opponents too, but unlike the first game where there is a Defense penalty, this is purely cosmetic this time around. New to the series is Co-Op. Several missions in the game require two characters, playing alone will give you a AI partner that you can switch with at any time, OR you can hook up with a friend either locally or over the internet to play actual two player mode. Having two characters not only doubles the fun, but also you will have access to a special team attack that requires three scrolls from both characters to unleash. And lastly, while the cast remains exactly the same from Burst (with the exception of the DLC character Murasame) all 10 characters are unique to play as. Each girl has their own combo string as well as several of them have their own unique abilities, like Mirai being able to switch from her umbrella, to a Gatling Gun and a Grenade Launcher, or Haruka being able to charm enemies and preventing them from attacking by holding down weak attack. You can mash and still win, but it's a lot more fun to experiment and get good at each character's nuances.

Between missions the Ninja Room hub still exists, where you can view story events, Illustrations, listen to music, and of course dress up your girls in all sorts of outfits that you unlock over the course of the game. The amount of customization here is STAGGERING, not only can you choose with which outfits to assign to your Pre and Post Shinobi Transformations, but also a long list of accessories that can be added to either or both, and even attached to ANY part of the body and is modified in size and orientation (And yes, you can even put accessories onto character's boobs). Beyond the story missions, you also have Special Mission which require you to defeat enemies under a particular condition (like only Ground attacks, or having your health deteriorate) which will net you Shinobi Stones to modify each girls abilities, and also the Yoma Nest, which is a series of enemy waves that as you clear them you can get new weapons (which are purely cosmetic) and serves as a great way to level up. That is if you survive.

What do YOU have to be embarrassed about?
Unfortunately, while there is a LOT of improvements from Burst, Deep Crimson is not without it's own flaws. First, when a character turns around instead of pivoting on the spot, they all do this large U-turn which takes WAY too long and is annoying when trying to navigate small areas (like the Ninja Room). Also, while there IS technically a Lock-On, that only applies to long range attacks like Yomi's wrist mounted launcher and Mirai's Gatling Gun and the universal ninja chain. It DOES NOT re-orientate melee attacks, which can lead to many attacks missing, especially Ninja Arts that go in a straight line. Also, attacks have long recovery time where you can't do anything. THAT BEING SAID, many of these issues can be mitigated. Dashing always sends you in the direction you wish to travel, the Ninja chain will gets to close to the enemy and facing them, and all attacks are Dash and Jump cancellable. However, there are other issues as well. The opening chapter is rather harsh as it doesn't adequately get the player use to the game before throwing bosses at them (you NEED to jump into training as soon as possible). And the game can be a little buggy at times. There are moments where I get stunned and suddenly my character slides across the room suddenly. One chapter, if you go into the dressing room, will not show the character in their shinobi outfit and if you try to zoom in weird stuff starts to happen. Once, I got behind the invisible wall in one stage and fell THROUGH THE WORLD. And there are two occasions where the game crashed. However, none of these are actually game breaking (even when I fell through the world, I just popped back on stage after a while) and you may not run into the same issues.

Of course this being Senran Kagura I have to talk about the mammaries in the room. Yes, almost the entire cast of this game is female, and yes, with the exception of Mirai, they all have enormous fun-bags. And yes, Tamsoft went to great pains to make them as jiggly and heaving as possible. And yes, their clothes fall to pieces to show off them in their undergarments. And yes, many of the game's camera shots show cases these endowments as much as possible. And yes, the director and creator of this series did say that the reason it exists is so that he can see breasts in 3D. That being said, is that really a problem? I mean, I don't doubt that it is a draw for some gamers, and it may deter others from even considering playing this game, but what is really wrong with it? Especially with Murasame, the first MALE playable character in the series, being given the EXACT SAME TREATMENT. Hell Murasame is treated worse than any of the core cast because he is an incompetent, while the ladies all kick massive ass (and massive tits). Is it unrealistic? Yeah, but it's also fantasy, and what's wrong with a little fantasy even if it is slightly perverted.

Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is a fun game. I mean, I would be lying if I said that I didn't have a smile while I was playing, or if it made those bus rides feel a lot shorter. It might be a little repetitive, but I didn't mind it, and if you don't mind fan service that bewb smacks you every time they turn around (or if you are into that kind of thing) it might be worth your time. However, the only STICKING point would be it's price. While I thoroughly enjoyed my time with these Ninja girls, $50 for the game might be a LITTLE too much for those of you who are only a little interested. If you are interested, try Burst first as it is only $30, and only go for SK2 if it goes on sale. If you are a fan of the series... well you probably already have the game because you don't care what reviewers say. Anyway, Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is Recommended.

Here's my review of Burst while I'm at it:

Until Next Time.

-CRES, NO SERIOUSLY I'M PLAYING THE GAME FOR IT'S PLOT! It's large, bouncy, well formed plot.

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