By Steve Baltimore / October 25th, 2021
|Title||Neptunia X SENRAN KAGURA: Ninja Wars|
|Developer||Compile Heart, Idea Factory, Tamsoft|
|Publisher||Idea Factory International|
|Release Date||October 26, 2021|
It’s time once again to dig into a spin-off title in the Hyperdimension Neptunia franchise. This time we have a crossover with the amazing leaders of the Senran Kagura series, Neptunia X SENRAN KAGURA: Ninja Wars. I wasn’t sure which way Idea Factory would go with this title, but when I saw Tamsoft was on board, I figured it would have some great action at the very least. Let’s see if Nep’s latest adventure is a fun one!
The story here takes place in the world of Gamninjustri. The allied nations of Heartland are locked in a ninja war with the great nation of Marveland. Though they fight constantly, the girls have a mostly friendly rivalry. They will soon have to put aside their differences and join forces to face a threat greater than either has ever known. The Steeme Legion with their leader, Yoh Gamer, has invaded Gamninjustri. They conquered all of the smaller schools with ease and have now declared a “Super NINJA War” to see which school is the strongest of all time!
The story here is pretty much what you would expect from a typical Neptunia outing. The Senran Kagura leaders add a lot of flavor to the mix here, and seeing the two groups interact with each other is a lot of fun. The new characters are a joy to see in action as well, and Vert even finds herself another little sister candidate. The writing team at Idea Factory International did a great job here. The banter between our favorite Goddesses is as great as it has ever been, and I haven’t had a good laugh like this in a long time.
Graphically, Neptunia X SENRAN KAGURA: Ninja Wars looks wonderful. The character models are all highly detailed and animated well. The special moves are very flashy with a lot of great effects to give them weight. There aren’t a lot of different environments, but what is here has plenty of detail so you feel immersed in the action. The only real issue I have during the visual novel scenes is that the mouth flaps don’t match the dialogue at all. This usually doesn’t bother me too badly, since most of the time it’s at least pretty close to accurate. However, this looks like a poorly dubbed kung fu movie at times, which given the theme here is ninjas, maybe that’s what they were going for. Even so, it’s very off putting.
The soundtrack here is very fitting for this title. I can hear a lot of inspiration from both the Neptunia franchise and Senran Kagura throughout. The upbeat battle themes get you pumped for action while there are some more whimsical tunes for the game’s lighter moments. The game is fully voiced in Japanese and the cast we know and love is back to reprise all of their roles. There is no English audio option for this one, which isn’t a big deal for me, but for some it could be.
Now let’s dig into the heart of Neptunia X SENRAN KAGURA: Ninja Wars, the gameplay. In each stage, you will basically move from one area to the next slaying all the foes in your path. The main story missions are really straightforward, but some of the requests you take on may have you gathering items, hitting switches or the stage could be timed. Before you set out on these missions, you will need to make sure the girls have proper equipment. You can equip two types of ranged weapons: Kunai and Shuriken. There are tons of different ones you can obtain along your journey, and each one will have its own attack power and possibly give your enemies negative status effects. Making use of the Spirit Grid system in the game will help you on your journey as well. You can equip a variety of Spirit Gems that give many perks to the girls during combat. These include greater damage, better defense, more EXP and others. Placing like gems on the board in rows or columns will boost their effects.
Combat here is done in the third person action style you would expect from Tamsoft. Characters have one normal combo attack, but, you have access to various Ninja Arts. These powerful moves can target a single foe or maybe even a group of enemies. You can chain up to four of these arts together, and doing so will unleash a Ninja Art Trigger. This will boost the effects of all the arts in the combo, but you will have to plan this out since each art will consume a bit of stamina. The Shinobi Extreme attacks are the girls’ ultimate skills. These can be pulled off as soon as the EX Meter at the bottom of the screen is filled.
The other main aspect of combat here is the Fuurinkazan Drive. This is an awakened mode you can activate five times on each stage. It comes in four different flavors: Mountain, Forest, Fire and Wind. Each one will give you a set of buffs to help you in your quest of eliminating all of the baddies in your path, but while these buffs are good, some of them have some drawbacks as well. Fire is the best example of this. It gives you a major attack boost but your defense is lowered greatly. I used this to beat many bosses very quickly, but I paid a great price if they actually connected with an attack.
The last thing I would like to cover is the Peaches & Cream Meditation Mini-Game. Here you will have to use the motion controls in the PlayStation 4 controller, or L2 and R2, to keep the girls balanced on a giant floating peach. This sounds easy to do, but it can be quite challenging, especially on hard difficulty when the guide disappears for a short time. I found this much easier to do with motion controls over the buttons, which honestly came as a shock to me. Completing this mini-game will give you some stat boosts for your next mission and some helpful items. You do earn some tickets during gameplay that will allow you to skip the mini-game altogether, while still getting the perks as well.
While Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars is one of the shorter spin-off titles, clocking in at around 12 hours to complete the main quest, I still had a lot of fun. The combat is easy to pick up, but has a enough depth to keep you coming back for more. The story and writing are very entertaining, and the soundtrack is pretty nice as well. I do think the mouth flaps during the visual novel sections are pretty rough, but that’s not really enough to keep this from being one of the better spin-off games in the franchise. If you’re a fan of Neptunia or Senran Kagura, this one is a no brainer at the $49.99 price tag. If you’re not a fan of either of those, this one would be good to pick up down the line once you’ve played some of the other games in the respected franchises.
Game was provided by the publisher.
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