Senran Kagura Review: Estival Versus

Having entertained us this summer on Nintendo 3DS with Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson, the beautiful and busty ninja students are ready to return to the console Sony with the sequel to the spin-off series that debuted on PS Vita just over a year ago.
Coming up PlayStation 4 and PS Vita from next March 18, here is the review of Senran Kagura Estival Versus.


Tested Version: PlayStation 4

The summer is magic
Estival Versus offers a more classic approach to history

Senran Kagura Estival Versus follows and continues the events of the previous one Shinovi Versus, which as a spin-off deviated from the main narrative vein and from the mechanics seen in the chapters for 3DS. In this new adventure the young kunoichi of the house Marvelous they will suddenly be catapulted onto a mysterious island, following a ritual by the old woman Sayuri, which allows shinobi fallen in battle to return to "life". Our heroines will therefore have to challenge each other in the Kagura Millennium Festival, a struggle between the various ninja schools that will not only allow the winners to give the dead eternal peace, but will open the way to the most coveted title, that of Kagura.
Estival Versus sees the return of the 4 teams that we got to know in the past: from Hanzo Academy, led by Asuka to the Homura's Crimson Squad, In addition to Hebijo Clandestine Girl's Academy di Miyabi and Gessen Girls Academy di Yumi. The rich cast also includes 3 new protagonists (for a total of 26 basic playable characters), the Mikagura Sisters (Renka, Hanabi and Kafuru) who will have an important role in the story, each of which with its own fighting style and a characteristic and very singular weapon (from Renka and her Taiko drum sticks, to the water pistols of the tender Kafuru).

This new chapter, however, differs from the formula adopted in previous episodes, which allowed you to choose which faction to follow to complete the narrative arc. Here we are faced with a more classic solution, with a linear story that obliges you to follow the entire plot as it was conceived, without the possibility of choosing a different path and helping to create a more framed story under the aspect of development. It must be said, however, that, as in the other titles in the series, also Estival Versus offers a fairly sketchy story, focused above all on the fanservice that has always reigned supreme, putting aside the main narrative to indulge in moments dominated by pure nonsense, between "binges" of panties and contests of breast touches, obscuring the focus of the plot more than once, which fortunately will return in the final stages of the game, with unexpected implications. To this are added some subplots related to the various members of the teams and focused on the theme of death, such as Ryobi e Ryona struggling with her previously deceased sister, or Yumi and the Gessen Girls Academies they want to prove to Kurokage, their grandfather and mentor, to have matured as warriors.
Alongside the story mode we find the Shinobi Girl's Heart, secondary missions dedicated to single girls that will unlock as we progress in the main mode or we will destroy altars (related to the plot) that will make the new stories available and allow us to learn more about every single aspect of the protagonists.

Vamos alla playa
Estival Versus is a game that makes fanservice its reason for living

As in Shinovi Versus, Tamsoft repeats the same formula from musou seen in the previous chapter, appropriately retouched and improved with some interesting additions. The character we are going to check will be able to move freely in the arenas where the clashes will take place, facing hordes of shinobi that will come from all over ready to fight us. In response, we will be able to attack by exploiting a combo tree that uses two simple types of attack (weak and strong) that when combined allow you to perform various chains, which will increase in number and possibilities as you level up. This system then favors aerial clashes, with moves that will hurl opponents into the sky and then consume their energy with lethal ones. Areal Rave, now also executable in pairs (by pressing the touch pad of the DS4), given that among the various innovations there will be that of having a companion who will assist us during some missions. Another addition to the gameplay, which pushes on the verticalization of the action, we find it in the possibility of exploiting the walls by running on them or as trampolines, to then launch the attack on our opponents. If this new feature proves to be quite useful in the recovery phase of the character during the defensive phases, it is also true that finding ourselves in front of mostly open arenas, the usefulness of being able to walk is lost, not finding a real use in terms of gameplay.

Since we are faced with a game that makes fanservice his reason for living, we cannot fail to mention the main feature of each chapter of Senran Kagura, that is the precariousness of the clothes of our beautiful protagonists. Undergoing blows, our clothes (as well as those of the opponents) will begin to deteriorate leaving, tear after tear, more and more space for the skin and roundness of the aspiring ninja. When our energy bar begins to drop drastically we will be able to make use of two special moves that will allow us to turn the tide of the match: the Shinobi Tranfosrmation and Frantic Mode. The first, as easily understood by the name, allows you to change clothes using the shinobi one. By taking advantage of this move we will be able to fully recharge our energy, and have access to new sets of attacks, including the Secret Ninja Art (also in the Ultimate), powerful final limbs capable of overcoming the enemy in an instant. On the contrary, the Frantic Mode it will rid us of the worn out clothes, leaving our girl in lingerie. Compared to the Shinobi Transformation it is more risky as our defense will drop drastically making us easy targets, but at the same time power, attack and speed will undergo a strong increase that will be useful to defeat our opponents.

Summer is ending
The Creative Finisher will completely undress the girls

During the battles now it will be possible to collect some bombs which will be released on the field by the downed enemies, and which can be used to our advantage: if launched they will explode on the enemies, inflicting in addition to the damage also an elemental effect, such as burns, paralysis or poisoning. There are also more particular bombs, capable of evoking minions that will help us in battle, camouflage bombs that will make us invisible or the most devastating of all, the one capable of making a mech appear on the field, the Puppet Walker, which will be piloted and which will guarantee us greater power (both physical and fire) for a short period of time.
Estival Versus also introduces a new mechanic that concerns the final phase of the fight. Once our challenger has been beaten, it will be possible to activate in some areas the Creative Finisher, a kind of environmental fatality that he will completely undress the girls and put them in decidedly embarrassing situations. Nothing useful for gameplay purposes (the move is only aesthetic) but of great scenic impact.

Unmissable as always Dressing Room, an option that allows you to customize and interact with the protagonists with the new objects unlocked during the story or made available through the shop managed by Ayame, which will allow us to spend the money earned to buy new items, movies and music. The Dressing Room also allows you to create dioramas with the protagonists of the game, choosing not only their appearance, but also the pose to hold, the location and various effects. Last but not least View Mode, where we will be face to face with our favorite "waifu", with which we can interact through the pad, touching and slapping her in the right places, and triggering different reactions in her; in addition to the secret function that will be activated by holding the DualShock 4 vertically and frantically shaking it in the air (if you are thinking maliciously, you are on the right track) until your clothes tear and you find yourself dumbfounded in front of the TV in a fantozziano moment of "take off your panties".



 A summer by the sea
Estival Versus offers a 10-player online mode

After the roundup of news it is right salso hang a few words on what does not work within Estival Versus. In this new chapter, in addition to the mention made on the story at the beginning, we are dealing with some recurring problems in terms of gameplay and that we had already had the opportunity to encounter even at the release of Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson. The character lock system doesn't always work and often, during the use of the Secret Ninja Arts, they don't always hit the mark, making us waste the shot. The camera too, improved over Shinovi Versur, continues to have problems in the more closed sections or near walls, creating annoying room games that do not allow you to understand what is happening. On the content front, on the other hand, quantity is not synonymous with quality and the dozens of missions that we will face one after the other will end up looking alike, especially in variety and development. A shame given the good job done on the gameplay front (although not without flaws) able to easily stand up to other exponents of the genre much more well-established and long-lived.

Estival Versus also proposes a 10-player online mode (resized for obvious technical reasons to 4 on PS Vita) that allows you to challenge opponents from all over the world in heated challenges, both in “Free for All” matches and in teams. The multiplayer offers 3 different options to choose from. Point Battle is the classic death match, where the victory will be sanctioned by the number of points obtained by beating and defeating the other players, while in Understorm we will have to collect some panties that will rain from the sky trying to grab as much as possible. The last mode, called Capture the Bra, that in a sort of capture the fanservice flag, we will have to take possession of a bra and keep possession of it until time runs out.
Unfortunately, however, at the time of writing it was not possible to access the servers, limiting ourselves to trying everything in offline mode thanks to the use of bots, postponing the judgment on the online component to the next few days.

Cuando calienta el sol
The frame rate, however stable, tends to fail with too many elements on the screen

Finally, let's talk about the technical aspect. Being a production that sees the release of the game on multiple versions, the work done on the PS4 edition is good in terms of performance, as the Marvelous title offers a resolution a 1080p and a frame rate that remains stable at 60 frames per second, except for rare moments in which the mass of fighters on video puts the game engine in crisis, more for a poor optimization than for a real "heaviness". Excluding the models of the girls, perfectly detailed and reproduced, and their large breasts with improbable physique, the rest appears as an updated version of the previous episode, and features quite bare arenas, poor in outline elements and a little care regarding the modeling and texturing of the environments, where perhaps the most decorous in terms of results is the Vita edition.
The attention of the game is focused on the girls, their animations and the deterioration of the clothes, so much so that it has several cutscenes that will activate to emphasize the fanservice aspect of the game. Compared to the other titles in the series, the sections from the visual novel are more cured, giving more prominence to the animated sequences thanks to the 3D models compared to the simple and less inviting textual phases.


As for the musical accompaniment we find a selection of tracks more or less inspired to act as a background to our battles, in addition to the presence of some songs entirely sung that go well with the summer and party atmosphere of the game, among which stands out Sunshine Fes, the opening of this chapter by Senran Kagura.
The acting also contributes to the characterization of the protagonists which, thanks to the presence of the original Japanese audio, allows lovers to fully enjoy the whole experience offered by Senran Kagura.

Verdict 7.5 / 10 And now undress, as you know how to do! Comment The title Marvelous and Tamsoft is a hymn to the most driven fanservice, and in this it fully succeeds in its task. From this point of view, the final evaluation takes this aspect into account, as it is aimed at users who are well targeted and aware of the product in front of them. That said, the backbone of Estival Versus is good as well as the gameplay is solid, and despite the presence of some basic errors that it continues to carry around for some time, it manages to entertain and keep you busy for several hours, with the lightness and the humor that has always distinguished him. Sorry only for the underdeveloped plot and the lack of variety of missions offered, which prevent him from making a real leap in quality, a leap that we would not mind seeing one day, provided of course to remain faithful to himself. Pros and cons If you love fanservice this is the game for you
Well proven gameplay
It will keep you busy for a long time x History sketchy and not very driving
x Repetitive missions
x Not all news is that important

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