Also On: PS4
Publisher: XSEED Games
Developer: Marvelous Inc./Tamsoft
Medium: Digital/Vita Card
No matter how many Japanese games I play on my Vita, I don’t think I’ll ever understand the appeal of the Senran Kagura series. To be sure, I kind of enjoyed the goofy fun of the Bon Appetit rhythm game spin-off, but that wasn't enough to retroactively redeem Shinovi Versus, as far as I was concerned. Ask me about anything else — whether it's Monster Monpiece, or Conception II, or Akiba's Trip, or any number of visual novels — and I can get why people might enjoy them, but everything about the Senran Kagura series leaves me baffled. Needless to say, this bafflement continues with Senran Kagura Estival Versus.
I mean, I get that the people who really love these games do so for the titillation factor. If you're into scantily-clad barely-pubescent schoolgirls who are prone to losing all their clothing at the slightest gust of wind, then…uh…I guess that this is a way of indulging that love without getting onto all kinds of sketchy government watchlists. But at the same time, such lovers of overly-buxom teens are aware of the entire rest of the internet, right? It feels like there must be ways of indulging in this kind of stuff without having to slog through all the nonsense that goes along with it here.
Because seriously, Senran Kagura Estival Versus features a whole lot of nonsense. For a game that, in theory, is sort of about brawling, the combat here is dull and uninspired, full of moves that don't chain together particularly well and specials that trigger at the slightest tough but aren't particularly interesting to pull off or to watch. I suspect I'm probably overthinking it, seeing as the whole point of fighting in a Senran Kagura game is to a) knock your enemies' clothes off and b) power-up so that you can see your chosen girl's naughty bits covered by strategically-placed light spots, but still: if you want a fun brawler, this game clearly doesn't deliver on that front.
Not that Estival Versus is much better when it comes to the story or its characters, of course. The game is filled with the sort of walking clichés that you'd expect from a mindless Japanese game, only since this is a Senran Kagura game they also spout the kind of gibberish I guess passes for "sexy" to people who like these games. That means, of course, endless references to BDSM and schoolgirl lesbianism, all delivered in ways that are either offensive, stupid, or — most frequently — offensively stupid.
I'd like to think that I tried to like Senran Kagura Estival Versus. It's not my cup of tea, but I'd like to think I have an open enough mind that I can still see the good in games that I wouldn't usually like. In this case, though, I just don't get it, since there are so many other better options out there — definitely in terms of video games, and I have to assume the same goes for the bouncing anime schoolgirl boobs, too.