Man, I love anime. I have spent hundreds of hours in the last year consuming all sorts from Fullmetal Alchemist and Dragon Ball through to more light-hearted stuff like High Score Girl or Zombieland Saga so trust me, I understand anime tropes and in this review of Senran Kagura Burst Re:newal, I’m not hating on anything I don’t understand.
So right off the bat I’m gonna say it, I don’t really like this game.
Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal is a remake of the original game in the series and to those that don’t know anything about the series it’s a 3D hack and slash style brawler. It has you pulling off a bunch of over the top combos with a series of characters you control over the course of the game and a hefty chunk of missions to sink your teeth into (lots of these reuse the same environments and enemy types so it can get a bit samey after a bit).
Combat is enjoyable but being an older game with a fresh coat of paint I found there were camera issues that would pop up from time to time like getting stuck on environments etc and needing to be manually adjusted which just annoyed me. There is a lock on targeting system but I found this to be a little ineffective as you get swarmed by characters and sometimes having a lock on a target seemed to make the camera flake out even more for me. Gameplay wise the game is fun and it is good pulling off big combos and trying out the flash moves the girls have available to them.
The graphics are also pretty nice, the cel-shaded style really works well in games like this and it really does look like an anime. The moves are flashy and colourful and the game does not disappoint from a visual standpoint.
Now to talk about the bad (for me, this stuff I’m about to talk about is exactly why fans buy it).
First off like I said before I love anime but there is a subsection of anime I can’t stand and that is Ecchi. In Japan they still have this Benny Hill style view of being a pervert and Ecchi Anime literally means pervert anime (not to be confused with hentai as that’s a step ahead again) so you tend to find with Ecchi stuff there is a focus on girls with massive boobs and often times due to Japan’s legal age of consent being 14 you will find characters to be a little younger than western audiences are used to which can be a little jarring and really it can ruin a good story (looking at you high school of the dead).
There is no doubt that this game falls into the Ecchi category. Before release, it was supposed to have a mode that allows you to touch and fondle the girls but Sony ordered the removal for western audiences. Despite the removal, there is still plenty of pervy stuff present.
When you beat up opponents in Senran Kagura Burst Re:newal their clothes start to fall apart until ultimately they are left standing there in bra and knickers (while jiggling, there is plenty of jiggling). There is a dressing room where you can dress up the girls in even more skimpy outfits or better yet at the start of a mission you can enter a rage burst sort of mode and you will start off the mission by ripping off your clothes altogether and just fight the entire level in your underwear.
Japan is big on transformations as you may know from things like sailor moon where there will be a big scene with lots of sparkle and posing as people power up. This game also has that and the girls will magically become naked before being magically covered in a new outfit and given a power boost to kick more ass.
I really think Senran Kagura Burst Re:newal is the type of game you are going to buy regardless of a review, hack and slash type games are a niche market and layering ecchi on top makes it even more so and I feel the market for games like this must already be locked down and it’s the same people buying these games over and over (most will have Waifu pillows or mouse mats with boobs lol).
Ultimately I don’t like the game despite kind of liking the gameplay elements. I was constantly skipping the story that goes along with the missions as it was not to my taste but there is a game in there for people who like the style. But for me any game that I’m playing that I have to turn to my wife and say “it’s not what it looks like” is not for me, but I’m not going to let my dislike for ecchi cloud my score and I’m grading it more on the gameplay elements rather than what I don’t like about it.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*