REVIEW: Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

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Senran Kagura 2 | Boxart
Title Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson
Developer TamSoft
Publisher XSEED Games
Release Date September 15, 2015
Genre Beat em’ up
Platform Nintendo 3Ds Family
Age Rating Mature
Official Website

It’s been a while since a Senran Kagura game has graced the 3DS here in North America. Seeing as Senran Kagura Burst is one of my favorite beat-em ups on the 3DS console, I was pretty excited when XSEED Games announced they would be bringing over Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson. I have been waiting patiently for months, and finally my wait is over, but does it live up to expectations?

The story begins with a brief recap of the last chapter of Senran Kagura Burst. The Hanzo gals have invaded the castle of the evil Hebijo Academy to recover their stolen sacred scroll. The two groups battle each other fiercely, but they soon discover there is a more sinister plot afoot. This mastermind has been manipulating all of the shinobi to gain their blood in order to summon foul demons to destroy Japan. The girls now find they must team up in order to defeat these demons or risk everything being annihilated.

Senran Kagura 2 | Yagyu Special

Soon after this incident, two mysterious strangers arrive on the scene. One is an innocent young girl and the other is her guardian. The innocent girl likes a very unique snack, demon hearts. The Hanzo girls have orders to destroy this girl while the now renegade Homura Crimson Squad feels sympathy for her, as they know what it is like to be an outcast. Can the girls set aside their differences and save Japan? Only time will tell.

The story is very interesting and does what most games in the series do: it makes you question what is good and what is evil. This is what I really love about this series as a whole. Lots of people today want to see everything as black and white, and most of the time that is simply not the case. I felt the character interactions with each other were the highlights of the game. As these girls pair off you learn a lot about them. The localization from XSEED Games really brings these characters to life and is very well done. These back and forth conversations show there is so much more to these character than big boobs.

Senran Kagura 2 | Unlikely Teams

The graphics are huge improvement over Senran Kagura Burst. I won’t say they’re up to Shinovi Versus’s level on the Vita, but they are pretty close. These are some of the best character models I’ve seen on the 3DS, period. The environments are now fully 3D and are fairly detailed. You’re probably thinking with all that detail the framerate took a serious hit, and the answer is no, it did not. The framerate is pretty smooth and has very few drops even with hordes of enemies on the screen. You will lose a bit if you turn the 3D effect on, and I have to say this one of the few times I think the 3D actually looks good on the console.

Like its predecessor, the soundtrack here doesn’t disappoint. These hard rocking metal tunes, with a hint of Japanese flair, will have you slaying hordes of enemies while humming along. There are some more somber tunes that accent serious story moments and they go together seamlessly. The game is fully voiced in Japanese and the voice actors once again do a fantastic job reprising their roles.

Senran Kagura 2 | Dramatic Scene

Aside from the aforementioned full 3D environments and better framerate, gameplay has many other upgrades as well. Characters like Hibari and Haruka are much more user friendly. Hibari does a bit more damage now and has some stun attacks, while Haruka has her robot friend from Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus by her side. The only drawback is that with a full 3D environment and one thumb stick, you have no control over the camera. This will be a bit disorienting at first but I got used to it after a couple of missions. You can use a Circle Pad Pro to control the camera if you have one available for your older 3DS model. And while it didn’t say in the digital manual, the C-Stick on the New 3DS should work as well for those that own that model.

In addition to this there is now a tag system in place. When the girls are paired up you can switch between them in combat just by pressing the A button. Not only can you switch back and forth on the fly, they can also use devastating Fusion Ninja Arts. Some of these are unique if you pair certain girls together, but you get a standard one no matter which girls you have at the time. To perform these moves, each girl must have 3 art scrolls. Then, you simply press L+A and watch the havoc begin. The more often you use these moves in combat, the more the girls bond will increase. This will increase the damage dealt by these moves. There are also many other uses of this tag feature and other battle details I didn’t cover in this review. If you are having trouble figuring things out you should check the digital manual for help, and you may have to do this since there are basically no tutorials to be found here.

Senran Kagura 2 | Haruka Attacks

In addition to Story missions, there are also some special missions. These missions will require you to meet certain conditions before they can be cleared, such as doing all ground attack, defeating enemies in a time limit and many others. If you complete these, you are rewarded with Shinobi Stones. These stones will upgrade various parameters of your characters, such as attack, speed, or defense. There is also one other mode to be found here. It is called the Yoma’s Nest. From here you can challenge a tower of many rooms full of enemies. The more you do in a row without dying, the more EXP you earn, but fail and you get basically nothing. In addition to earning EXP, you can also unlock various weapons for each character. While I don’t think these effect gameplay in any way, they look really nice.

There are a couple other features I wanna mention here. One is the dressing room. While it is pretty much the same as it was in the other titles in the series, they have added an all new photo mode. You can pose and move the girls in a ton of different ways and save the pictures to your 3DS console. There are many different backgrounds to choose from and tons of clothing options, which will unlock as you complete the story missions. The other feature is local and online mulitplayer co-op. You can play any of the story missions or stages in the Yoma’s Nest with a friend via online or local multiplayer. I wasn’t able to check this feature during the time of the review, but if any game breaking issues show up, I’ll update you.

Senran Kagura 2 | Hikage Transforms

All in all, this is a very solid entry into the Senran Kagura franchise. The graphics and gameplay are some of the best I’ve seen on the 3DS. The music is top notch and I loved the story and character development found here. It took me around 13 hours to complete the story missions and would likely take me around another 7 hours to finish up everything else. At 20 hours, I feel like this one is worth the $39.99 digital or $49.99 physical price tag, and the physical version comes with the kick ass soundtrack on two CDs. This game is perfect for series fans or anyone that enjoys a good beat-em up game. The camera may turn some folks off, but the good definitely outweighs the bad here.

Review Score

Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. 

About Steve Baltimore

Steve started with oprainfall not long after the campaign moved from the IGN forums to Facebook. Ever since, he has been fighting to give all non-mainstream RPGs a fair voice. As the site admin, he will continue to do this and even show there is value in what some would deem "pure ecchi." He loves niche games and anime more than anything... well, except maybe Neptune.