(Note: Review Code Provided by Marvelous Games)
I called this game the Resident Evil 2 of the Senran Kagura franchise when it was released. Question was whether it did the same for the game it was remade from as the Capcom remake. Let us find out as we take a look at Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal, developed by Tamsoft and published by XSEED and Marvelous.
Platforms: PS4, PC (Steam)
Publishers: Marvelous Games, XSEED
Genres: Action, Supernatural, Beat-Em Up, Ecchi, Yuri
Length: 25+ Hours (Both Campaigns on 1st playthrough)
Plot Summary: The story is about the great war between the Shinobi of the Hanzo National Academy (aka Team Asuka) and the Hebijo Clandestine Girls’ Academy (aka Team Homura) in a seemingly endless battle of morals, ethics and personal beliefs.
Put simply players get to experience the war from both sides in two separate campaigns. This being the (2nd) remake of the game that started it all it has a more serious tone compared to later entries after Deep Crimson. While there are cute and sexy moments common in most ECCHIMANIA (Sexy Girls Fighting Series) stories, there are also many serious ones, also like most ECCHIMANIA stories. Basically despite the franchise being about cute and sexy girls fighting each other to the point of their clothes getting torn it is also about great warriors not only struggling with their own personal obstacles (doubt, self worth, becoming stronger, finding a purpose in life besides fighting etc.) but clashing with the beliefs of their respective adversaries. In short it is cute, sexy and deep, the mantra of the franchise. Despite being their adversaries and seeming cruel there is more to Team Homura than they let on as longtime fans are fully aware.
Next up is the presentation. The graphics are sharper and crisper than Peach Beach Splash which before this was the best looking Senran Kagura game. It is to be expected as each main entry of most video game series strive to look better with each sequel and especially remake. That is the case with Burst Re:Newal which as of its release holds the title of best looking Senran Kagura game. The Shinobi and other characters who appear all look the best they ever have. The soundtrack is pretty good. I kind of like the OST of some previous entries more but the one here is quite good. The voice acting remains excellent as to be expected. Cutscenes are presented either via on-screen text like some Visual/Kinetic novels or the Shinobi interacting with each other on screen. I would say these are the best cutscenes in the franchise to date as most of the girls are quite expressive (even Hikage) despite some repeated animations here and there. The CGs look great of course.
Moving on to the gameplay Players choose which Academy to follow the story from, be it Hanzo or Hebijo. The first time playing through a Mission will be as a set Shinobi of the Academy. For example, Mission 1-1 is always played as Asuka. After completing the Mission it is free to play as any of the other Shinobi from both Academies and the DLC ones such as Team Yumi or Team Miyabi. Speaking of, Yumi and Miyabi are individual DLC with their own mini campaigns. Beating Chapters unlock Free Missions. Most Missions have Shinobi either mowing down waves of enemies or fighting up to a boss which is either one of the five enemy Shinobi or someone/thing else depending on how far in the campaigns players are. In certain Free Missions there are hidden bosses that are more challenging than the Main ones like Optional Uber Bosses in JRPGs.
Beating Missions levels up one of the Shinobi’s chosen Styles, Yin or Yang, unlocking new abilities as. Yang is the famous Shinobi Transformation where the Shinobi goes through a sexy 3-4 second henshin (Cannot be skipped but they are not long either so no big deal), recovers her lost health, gets a power boost, new combos and can pull off their Super Moves. Yin is essentially Berserk Mode where the Shinobi’s abilities are greatly increased at the cost of their defense. Recommended for experienced players. Oh and their clothes are instantly shredded in Yin Style.
When it comes to Combat veteran Senran Kagura (even Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni) players will feel at home as it plays similarly to Shinovi and Estival Versus but somehow better. For newcomers Senran Kagura is a 3D Beat em up where players take their chosen Shinobi and slash their way through waves of enemies and finding some hidden items (be it healing, power ups or Secret Documents) along the way. The Re:Newal part is it took a 2.5D Nintendo 3DS game and changed it to a more frantic 3D work of art.Shinobi can charge enemies on the ground and launch them in their air, dashing toward to continue the combo. Players and Boss Shinobi alike can use a Super Charge move, counter and parry attacks, especially on higher difficulties.
Playing through Missions will also nab players in-game currency to spend in the shop on costumes, CGs, music etc. Pretty much like every other Senran Kagura game.
The Dressing Room and Diorama Modes are present too of course. In the former players can change a Shinobi’s costume to others purchased via the Shop or DLC. Diorama Mode has players create cool (and gay) poses for the Shinobi such as Yagyu proposing to Hikari or Katsuragi carrying Ikaruga etc.
Senran Kagura is well known for having a lesbian or ten and, again, this is where it all began with the birth of the Naughty Legend who changed the world, Yagyu’s subtle love for the bubbly Hikari and of course the obliviously growing desire between Asuka and Homura. Trust me, it becomes more obvious in later entries. Cannot forget (Dr.) Haruka. This being the first story the yuri is balanced, except the naughty legend who wants to cherish sexy ladies at every given opportunity.
Overall the reason I refer to Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal is they took a good game and made it better by greatly improving the gameplay and adding more stuff. Fans of the series who are curious about why the franchise has such a loyal and loving fanbase can check this game out and get a good idea with its engaging characters, cool gameplay and ecchi goodness…provided the reader/player is okay with anime ecchi goodness. Otherwise pass this one.
PS: The PS4 version removed “Intimacy Mode” where players could get extra touchy with the Shinobi. Personally it is no major loss but keep this in mind when deciding between the PS4 and Steam versions.