By Chris Melchin / April 25th, 2017
|Title||Senran Kagura Estival Versus|
|Publisher||XSEED Games, Marvelous USA|
|Release Date||March 17, 2017|
|Genre||Hack and Slash|
|Platform||Steam, PS4, PS Vita|
I am somewhat of a less outspoken fan of the Senran Kagura series than other writers here. I’m relatively new to the series – I’ve played some of both Shinovi Versus on PS Vita and Estival Versus on PS4 but never beaten either of them – so when the opportunity to review the PC version of Senran Kagura Estival Versus came up it gave me a good opportunity to give it a real shot.
As tends to be the case with re-reviews, I will mainly be focusing on the quality of XSEED Games’ porting job, and you can find a full breakdown and review of the game in Steve’s review of the PS4 version here. I will also be discussing some areas where my opinion differs from his, but I’ll get into that later on.
The PC version shows off a high level of polish. It runs smoothly at 60 fps, and supports resolutions up to 4k, although I wasn’t able to test it at that high of a resolution since I only have a 1080p monitor. There’s also the option to cap the framerate at 30 for lower-end machines, although it’s worth noting that the game itself moves more slowly at the lower cap, making combat significantly less frenetic than normal. There’s also a wider array of graphical options than in Shinovi Versus, with options for anti-aliasing for cleaner edges, anisotropic filtering for higher-quality textures, Vsync, and different shading levels, as well as the usual resolution and window options. It also has fully customizable controls, for both gamepad and keyboard, with or without the mouse.
PC players will be happy to know that XSEED has also been active with their support for the port, releasing several patches since it released. Not only did they fix bugs, such as crashing and not retaining customized controls, but over the course of several patches they gradually added support for camera control with the mouse. Even now it’s not perfect – the acceleration on camera movement feels weird with the mouse and it would be nice if the sensitivity could be adjusted – but it’s better than no mouse control at all, or the partial support that it had before recent patches.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean all the bugs have been fixed. The main one I encountered was enemies clipping through level boundaries and ending up somewhere inaccessible, forcing me to restart the level. Enemy pathfinding leaves something to be desired even when they aren’t outside level boundaries, with a tendency to get caught on level geometry when pursuing the player. They also can get stuck when falling over the top of a surface they are unable to land on, which can also happen when using an aerial ground-smash attack, leading you to get stuck aside from using a health-burning burst attack.
Speaking of movement being impeded by level geometry, it also happens to the camera. Being stuck in a corner makes it incredibly difficult to see what’s going on, which is a particular issue when many of the levels have lots of confined space or obstacles out in the open. It also has a nasty tendency to lock in place, making it move very slowly for a few seconds before unlocking and moving freely again. It’s unfortunate when this happens with the camera facing away from the action. It would also be helpful for the camera to be more zoomed-out when not locked on, to make it easier to see what’s going on around you. I’m not particularly fond of lock-on systems in most games, since I prefer to have free control over the camera and be able to keep track of things happening around me more easily. The camera is overall less frustrating while locked on, but it would be nice if the game accommodated for different preferences and play styles.
The story structure is straightforward enough, but I wish they were organized better on the mission select screens. Both the main story missions and the Shinobi Girl’s Heart side missions are all laid out in a row on the selection screen, which is cumbersome to navigate considering there’s a total of 135 side missions across the 27 non-DLC characters. A way to filter by faction would have been appreciated, along with filtering the main story missions by day.
I didn’t get a whole lot of opportunity to play the multiplayer, since when I tried I was often unable to find rooms. The multiplayer doesn’t seem to have many people playing it at this point, or perhaps I was checking at the wrong times. However, based on the games I played, it seems like as long as everyone involved has a fast, steady internet connection, the games generally go off without any problems.
Unlike with the Steam version of Shinovi Versus, Estival Versus on PC does not include DLC. It has 50 achievements and trading card support. It’s available for $39.99 USD, and if you are interested in the Senran Kagura series and haven’t played the PS4 or PS Vita versions this is without a doubt the best version available. It took me about 30 hours to get through the main story and most of the side stories, although there is more to the game if you spend time in the dressing room or multiplayer. It has potential to look better than the PS4 version, and the added customizability with graphical and control options as well as mod support puts it above the others. However, if you have already played the game on console, the PC version probably isn’t worth your money unless you really want the mod support or mouse and keyboard controls. In general, if you don’t like the Senran Kagura series, Estival Versus likely won’t change your mind on it. However, if you’re interested in the series and have been holding off on getting into it, Estival Versus on PC is probably the best place for you to start.
Review copy provided by publisher
Marvelous USAPC reviewre-reviewReviewSenran KaguraSenran Kagura: Estival VersusSteamTamsoftXSEED Games