By Steve Baltimore / September 28th, 2017
|Title||Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash|
|Developer||Marvelous / Honey Parade Games|
|Release Date||September 26th, 2017|
|Genre||Third Person Shooter|
It’s been a long time since I got to hang out with the awesome group of gals from Senran Kagura. This is one of my favorite franchises, not only for the fun gameplay and over the top Ecchi, but because I really love the characters and story as well. My hype has been building for a long time leading up to the release of Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash. I finally got my hands on it. Let’s see if it lived up to level of hype I had.
This adventure begins as the girls are summoned to a mysterious tournament. The sponsors here look a bit shady as they describe the rules of this event. The girls are talked into facing off in water fights with a variety of water guns and skills. The motivations for this tournament are very mysterious and our busty heroes will have to rise through the ranks to uncover its secrets, and maybe even save the world!
The story mode in this game is lighter than in other entries in the series, but that doesn’t mean it is without substance. I feel like some of the groups, especially The Crimson Squad and Gessen, have a lot of real growth and are fleshed out nicely this time around. There is a ton of horseplay, Ecchi, and comedy thrown into the mix, as usual, and it all balances out nicely.
The graphics here look fantastic. The girls all have upgraded 3D models and have never looked better. Yes folks, Mirai is more adorable than usual, if that’s possible. Anyways, the environments all look great as well. There are plenty of outdoor and indoor environments to choose from. These areas include the Bon Appetit Kitchen, a pinball themed stage, a snowy castle, and many more. You can tell a great deal of effort was put into making the arenas look just as outstanding as the girls do. This one runs at a smooth 60 FPS for the most part. When doing story mode, if you’ve got a ton of enemy grunt ninjas on screen, it may dip a bit, but you’d likely never notice.
The music in the game is a crazy mix of beach type themes you would hear in old 60s movies with an Eastern flair. I would’ve thought this would never work, but I was wrong, and it’s actually quite catchy. I do think this game has the weakest soundtrack in the franchise, but I don’t think it is terrible either. All of our favorite Japanese voice actors return to reprise their roles and do an amazing job as always.
There are a few different game modes offered in Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash. First up is the story mode. This works basically the same as it did in previous titles in the series. Each squad has a set of 10 missions to complete with some cut scenes in between each. This mode will have you facing off against Grunts and the other girls. There will of course be a crazy boss battle at the end of each group’s story as well. These missions can be played on three different difficulty settings, and honestly I would suggest going two star all the time. On the easiest setting the story missions are way too easy. The other single player modes include Paradise Episodes, which are the Heart Missions from the previous games, and V-Road Challenges, which are five on five tournaments vs. the CPU for prizes.
Gameplay is very similar to other third person shooter titles. You move with the left analog stick while using the right one to move the camera and aim. There are two different types of aiming modes in the game. These are manual and auto aim. Auto aim will usually lock on to the target closest to you so you can use the right stick for a better camera angle or concentrate on dodging, but aiming manually can net better area damage with certain weapons. Players also have a Jump Jet and Jet Dash at their disposal. These moves will consume a bit of water but will let you jump really high or slide around the map really quickly to avoid attacks. You can even attack while sliding, which is really effective when you get behind someone as they never see it coming. After they are down you can do a Squirmy Finish and remove any of that unwanted clothing they have on!
Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash features 10 different weapon types. Each of these weapons has two different firing methods. Most of the time one of these modes is for faster, less powerful shots or slower, more powerful single shots. More powerful shots will consume water more quickly, meaning more reloading time. When you combine all this customization with the skill card system, you can customize any of the gals to fit your playstyle. Just be aware that the girls are not all the same. Some girls are faster and take less damage while others move slower and can take a bit more damage, so you may have to experiment a bit to find your favorite gal.
That’s right: the game has a skill card system. There are over 800 of them to unlock by completing Story Mode, Paradise Episodes, or buying card packs in the shop with in game cash. Don’t worry, any cards you get doubles of can be used to power up cards you have, and even level up the girls for extra HP in battle. Each of the skill cards will have a different effect and there are several different levels of each card. For example, Ryoubi’s cards give the player an attack bonus for a set amount of time. The lower level cards give less of a bonus, but can be used more often because they charge faster. The higher level cards will take longer to charge but the effect will last longer and be greater. There are cards for attack, defense and even a pet card to help you out in battle. Setting up your deck for battle wisely is one of the keys to victory in this game.
While the single player game is fun, the multiplayer is where this title truly shines. There are ranked and free matches to choose from. The ranked matches are either three v. three or five v. five team battles and the match rules here are random. Free match lets you set match rules, giving you options such as Queen of the Hills, Squirmy Showdown (get the most Squirmy Finishes), and of course the famous Capture the Bra. You can play this mode with bots, but it’s far more fun to play with living people. My only real beef is there is no way to invite your friends to the rooms you create. This is a huge oversight in a game as focused on multiplayer as this one.
The dressing room is back and of course better than ever. You can still play with girls in various ways while they comment on your over the top actions. You can also soak the girls down with water this time around, making the clothing transparent when wet… well, you get the idea. Diorama mode has been beefed up with new poses and more options. It seems a bit more user friendly this time around as well.
All in all I had a ton of fun with Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash. The gameplay is fast, furious and, most importantly, fun. The depth of customization here is amazing and more shooters should take note of how accessible it makes this game to anyone. While the story mode wasn’t the best in the series by far, it still had its good points. I spent around 20 hours with the single player portion of the game and around four or five with multiplayer. If you’re a series newcomer you are gonna be completely lost with this story, but I still feel you could have a blast with the multiplayer. If you are a series fan, this wet and wild ride is a no-brainer and you should pick it up ASAP.
Review Copy provided by the publisher for review purposes.
ecchiPeach Beach SplashSenran KaguraThird Person ShooterXSEED Games