Senran Kagura: Estival Versus Review

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As we know all too well, having been spoilt by Dead or Alive, any game that involved outlandish breast and booty physics isn’t complete without a sunny beach and some volleyball gear. Needless to say, this idyllic setting goes hand in hand with Senran Kagura and its penchant for virtual pageantry. Without even reaching the menu, players are given front row seats as a shirtless conclave of shinobi strip down to their swimwear, suggestively splashing away at one another.

Whether this happens to be your jam or forces you to curl into a cringe-induced foetal position, we’re not here to judge. Although the thematic side of Senran Kagura is definitely not my own personal taste, I can certainly recognise that there is a sizeable audience for this type of game. These gamers, as niche a group as they are, have formed genuine bonds with the series’ characters and happily immerse themselves in all kinds of shinobi shenanigans.

Going back to Estival Versus, there’s logic as to why this troupe of scantily-clad ninjas have suddenly convened at what appears to be a tropical resort. Instead of embarking on an impromptu getaway, the game’s heroines have been summoned by a strange power. Very soon, players discover that everything isn’t what it appears to be. As the first chapter in this saga begins to unspool, you stumble upon a phenomenon known as the Millennium Festival where the spirits of the dead return from beyond the grave.

Although fairly easy to follow, the story gets bogged down by the inane chatter between characters. Some of it may be pertinent to the game’s unfolding narrative yet most dialogue is wasted on superfluously developing Senran’s extensive cast of characters. Any inner motivations that exist are often masked by overt character traits. Where some of the girls can come across as studious, bossy, or curious, others are openly grabby and flirtatious, and there are one or two masochists thrown into the mix.

Much of the game is centred around one mode as players take on a series of arena-style missions. Each will initially lock-in a certain character, allowing you to get a feel for their individual fighting style. Once cleared however, you’ll have the option to go back and experiment with different ninjas, bagging yourself experience and money in the process.

The missions themselves take place in small, self-contained environments and are often peppered with objects of interest, like crates or surfaces that enable wall-running. As you progress through each one, objectives will periodically pop up, ordering players to defeat waves of enemies or perform special attacks.

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If you’ve played any action brawler in the past several years then Estival will do little to surprise. The game serves up a basic suite of regular and heavy strikes alongside a handful of flashy moves for each femme fatale. There are meters to watch and enemy tells to look out for. It’s a basic affair yet one that comes together in a neat little package, and while it may not break new ground, it’s hard to pick holes in what is otherwise a competent battle system.

Mind you, even with thirty six playable characters to switch between, it doesn’t take long for repetition to set in. The brevity of these missions mean that they rarely overstay their welcome, before beaming players back to the hub menu in order to spend any points they’ve accumulated.

Aside from an online dojo, the only other modes on show are largely superficial, giving players the opportunity to revel in Senran Kagura’s heightened degree of “fan service”. When not watching movies, flicking through images, or listening to audio tracks, you have the option to dress your naughty ninjas up using a extensive variety of unlockable items. Particularly devoted fans can go one step further, creating dioramas using their favourite characters and costumes.

What’s Good:

  • Plenty for fans to see and do.
  • Fighting is occasionally enjoyable if a bit basic.
  • Detailed characters and anime cutscenes.

What’s Bad:

  • Skimpy ninja girls can be a total turn-off.
  • Battles grow repetitive fast.
  • Non-fans will find very little to keep them playing.

As a 3D action game, Estival Versus manages to tick most boxes, but it fails to deliver anything which could be labelled as ground-breaking. While in no way poor or unenjoyable, it does little to put this franchise on the map. Still, for fans of previous entries, there’s plenty of meat on the bone, bundled together in a respectably polished brawler.

Score: 5/10

Version tested: PS4

7 Comments

  1. Norks.

  2. i could see me playing that.

    uhm.

    i mean, what filth, half naked big breasted ninjas, who wants that kind of depravity?
    not me, that’s for sure.

    and you wouldn’t catch me playing a game that features the words “power cleavage” in it.
    no way.

    just for reference, where is the cheapest place to buy this, uh, so i can not shop there, ever.

    yeah, let’s go with that. >_>

  3. Some of the finest button placement I’ve ever seen.

  4. Wrap the world with Happy boobs, that what I wanted to say then I saw the reviews score the trick with other websites too is if the game got questionable content you put that in the good bad points then slap a poor score to boot.

    While questionable rather extreme violence games get a rather high score.

    @ hazelam this game is certain not for you but can’t be said for other female gamers out there a flash of flesh & people think it’s just men only game.

    Ecchi games is always going to get it in the neck every dam time. :(

    • Or maybe the game is just average and literally does nothing else beyond the Dead or Alive method of approaching characters. Skimpy ninjas could put people off. Some people like fighting games for fighting and maybe, that would put them off.

  5. There is anime for animated bewbs. Er… not that I ever would pick up Highschool of the dead because of fanservice nor make comments about Mass Effect’s 2 Miranda’s ass or Chloe Frazer’s from Uncharted ass or anything.

    *starts to sweat*

    As for the game, tis average apart from the fanservice appeal. No doubt, there will be a minor shitstorm at *gasps* an average game getting an average score instead of it being “DUDE! THIS HAS BEWBS! 10/10!”

  6. I’m going to say something shocking I found COD average why because every year it the same thing but it sold millions.

    & how many ecchi games on the market between all the rest triple AA titles & indie games not many of them.

    If senran cut out the Fanservice would it still be average game. The big question is should ecchi be allowed if people think it off putting I don’t see it myself off putting as they Not real. I think street fighter had gone stale too. And that one censored. The game senran major pull is the Fanservice.

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