By Steve Baltimore / January 31st, 2019
|Title||Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal|
|Release Date||January 22nd, 2019|
|Platform||PlayStation 4, Steam|
*Reviewer Note: The PlayStation 4 version had the Intimacy Mode removed at the request of Sony. The game is unaltered from the Japanese Version aside from this. The Steam version of the game includes that mode.*
After a slight delay, Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal is finally out for us fans to enjoy. I spent a couple of days playing through the story mode and it brought back many fond memories of playing Senran Kagura Burst on the 3DS when XSEED games took a chance on it back in 2013. I instantly fell in love with the characters and story. Since then, Senran Kagura has became one of my favorite franchises in all of gaming. I was pretty excited to see the first game made in the playstyle of the newer games in the series, since the 3DS games were 2.5D side scrolling beat ’em ups. Let’s see if this full 3D remake rekindles my love for the Shinobi that taught me an important lesson!
The story of Senran Kagura follows two group of young Shinobi trying to complete their training. The girls at Hanzo Academy are known as good Ninjas, while the girls at Hebijo Clandestine Girls’ Academy are known as evil Ninjas. Much like two sides of the same coin the girls are very much alike even if their reasoning for being a Shinobi and where they came from are very different. They realize this as they compete against each other as rivals, but there are forces working within Hebijo plotting something more sinister then any of them could imagine.
The thing I love about the this game and Senran Kagura 2 Deep Crimson on the 3DS is they were very story heavy. I feel like when we got to the PlayStation line of games the story took a backseat at times to all the craziness going on. Folks that have not played either of the 3DS games will certainly want to look into this. The girls’ pasts are all talked about in detail and you really understand where they came from and why they want to be Shinobi. Mirai was my favorite in 2013 and she still is to this day. I can relate with her on more levels than I care to admit. There are many great one liners found here, but the one that has stuck out to me for many years is “Good accepts few, but evil accepts all.” This is a very true statement, and the more I pondered this and other points the story made, the more I got out of it. Not bad for a game some dismiss as nothing more than a porn lite game about tiddy ninjas, right?
The graphics here have been slightly upgraded from Senran Kagura Estival Versus. The character models and areas are slightly more detailed, and the shading in certain areas give the battles a much more dramatic feel. The framerate is a flawless 60 fps with no dips I have seen and while there are still a few clipping issues with hair on the girls, it’s much less than what we’ve seen in prior entries in the series.
I’ll admit Senran Kagura Burst’s OST is probably still my favorite in the entire series. Seeing it return here remastered made me very happy and these tracks are every bit as good as I remember. There are a few new vocal tracks which are awesome and you may even hear some of your favorites for other series entries as well. This is by far the best collection of tracks in the series and if you didn’t get a Limited Edition with a soundtrack you really should hunt this one down. The voice acting is fantastic as always I don’t think I could ever hear these girls with any other voice actors at this point.
The gameplay here is mostly unchanged from Estival Versus, but there have been a number of refinements. I noticed the AI doesn’t spam secret arts like there is no tomorrow anymore. It’s almost like they have to actually earn a meter to use one now. You will see a colored grid on the ground before enemies attack. This is showing the range and direction of an incoming attack making it easier to dodge and parry. They have also added a new Burst Meter. This meter builds as you hit your foes and when it is full you can unleash a powerful Burst Attack. This attack will suck in nearby foes and cause massive damage. If you finish a rival Shinobi with one of these, they will be buck naked in defeat! These improvements on an already great system make this the best gameplay the series has ever had. The only real complaint I have is the camera will sometimes move to a terrible spot during a lock on. This makes it very hard to see or forces you to move it manually during combat.
The story still plays out in cut scenes before and after missions. Missions here are divided up in Story Chapters and Free Missions. The objectives are always really straightforward as always, but in a bit of twist they have hidden some secrets on certain missions. These take the form of hidden scrolls that give additional tidbits about the story and characters and some hidden Ninjas to face off against. These super powered Shinobi are named after animals and they will give even a seasoned veteran a run for their money. You will get a trophy or a Steam achievement for defeating them.
This is one of the best games in the Senran Kagura franchise. The story here is what started it all and some will find it a bit dark compared to the stories we get today. I loved it back in 2013 and my feelings on it have not changed to this day. These characters are so well written that I felt connected to them and that is why I fell in love with this series to begin with. The fan service is great and it wouldn’t be Senran Kagura without it, but there is a deep, rich story here with amazing girls underneath all that. That has not changed even to this day, even though some of newer titles go much harder on the fan service. The combat in this game is a ton of fun, and if this is one of the best soundtracks in all of gaming. It will take right around 8 hours to complete each squad’s story and there’s a ton of free missions to play with as well. It’s worth every penny of the $39.99 price tag, and if you’ve ever wanted to explore the series for the first time, now is the perfect time to do so. If you’re like me and have loved it since 2013, picking this up is a no brainier.
Game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Burst Re:NewalHoney Parade GamesMarvelousSenran KaguraXSEED Games