We’re at this point in 2019 that the title of the game itself is becoming ridiculous… even more so than the bouncing boobs and naked butts after a clash of ninjas. As it is a remake of a remake. From its original Senran Kagura: Shōjo-tachi no Shin’ei that was later improved upon as Senran Kagura Burst with the addition of playable characters from the evil shinobi side and their corresponding side of the story, now comes a renewal of the game that started it all.
Ditching the 3DS and its side-scrolling adventure, Re:Newal is a complete overhaul implementing a 3D environment for its gameplay and with a side story to boot with the ice queen herself, Yumi of Gessen Girls Academy as part of a DLC. The Action Beat’Em Up is heading towards the PS4 on the 18th of January (EU) and 22nd worldwide along with the release for the PC.
The game starts you off with a bit of decision-making. Choosing a school to decide the story to follow and their playable characters while also given the option to freely switch whenever when in the main menu. But while both stories take place in a similar timeline and ends the same way but from another perspective, it does not particularly mean you’d be replaying the same missions from a different angle. Most encounters differ from one another to keep the entirety of the five chapters not as repetitive as its combat. One such example would be how and where the two rival schools meet or simply how each encounter of rivals concluded. These elements keep the game fresh but at the same time confusing for its lack of consistency. But who am I kidding, did I even play it for the story?
There’s a total of 12 playable characters from the base game and currently one added through a special edition DLC. And if the Japanese Version is any indication of what’s to come, then more will be added through limited time free DLC. (Hopefully!) Playable characters are as follow:
Hanzo National Academy
|· Asuka||· Yagyu|
|· Ikaruga||· Hibari|
|· Katsuragi||· Daidoji|
Hebijo Clandestine Girls’ Academy
|· Homura||· Yomi|
|· Haruka||· Mirai|
|· Hikage||· Rin|
Limited Edition DLC
DLC from the Japanese Version
|· Murakumo||· Minori|
|· Shiki||· Yozakura|
|· Miyabi||· Murasaki|
|· Ryouna||· Imu|
|· Ryoubi||· Kagura|
|· Ryouki||· Naraku|
While most characters have extremely large breasts, what really differentiates them from the rest aside from their lovable personalities of course is their unique style, moves and weapon types ranging from dual knives, hexa katanas, bladed umbrellas, firearms and puppetry among a few others. Each character also comes with its unique ninja arts like Mirai’s hidden rifle in between her legs or the fact that she can spew out a feck load of firearms from under her skirt to barrage an unsuspecting foe. So while missions themselves can be repetitive, in which case they are, what really hooks me in is obviously not the dress breaking mid-battle or the fact that you can fully undress a girl from all those special moves. It’s the addictive gameplay despite its simplicity. Square and triangle buttons being your attack moves with R1 specifically used for blocking but should you be able to block at the last second, it would stun an enemy to open it up for a world of hurt or just a butt naked girl. With the aerial rave mechanics it makes the whole experience a whole lot sweeter as you chain moves mid-air until they’re brought down to earth with a mighty finishing blow.
Missions range from killing hordes of mobs, another shinobi or a mix of both. This makes pushing through the chapters of the main stories mindlessly repetitive with only the free missions to give it something extra. This includes more shinobi to fight in a single mission, unique enemies, timed objectives or reaching the goal. So while it is limited to only a few modes that ultimately comes down to a few simple core mechanics, what makes the missions add another level of detail is its approach. Yin and Yang. Mastering one or the other allows you to change how you play. With the Yang Mastery, you obtain unique abilities such as the ability to block and parry in mid-air or use it to chain to an aerial rave as you progress the tree. Meanwhile the Yin Mastery can be progressed only with Frantic Mode that can be initiated with L1 + R1 before the mission starts. Aside from the mastery abilities, you’d also expel your clothes and only be left with your underwear making you more susceptible to damage which can be deadly in higher levels of difficulty.
The game includes quite a few costumes that goes from their regular uniforms to their unique ninja outfits. There’s also an in-game shop to purchase more costumes, accessories, artwork and videos as soon as you unlock them through story progression. And similar to the games we all know and love, each piece of accessory can be attached to any body part while also being allowed to fine tweak it to be placed how you like, rotated how you’d want it, and scaled to your heart’s content. Although what I do find a little bit limiting is the amount of color options from every piece of item, costume or hair color. These range from two to five pre-determined color options that cannot be tweaked to have for example a red top but a black torso piece. Diorama mode one of the other options present in the dressing room menu next to changing appearances and switching out shinobi girls is a feature that lets you pose from one to five girls, place them wherever necessary and choose from tons of background screens and filters to create Marvelous! Still shots and stories. However the Playstation 4 version of the game does not include its fourth option “Intimacy Mode” in which players can interact with each shinobi girl with your perverted gaze and in-game cursors in the form of two hands that can grope, slap and flip skirts open as you fill up their heart bar to have an even more intimate close up angle with the girl. Meanwhile PC will keep the option intact.
With the game being rebuilt with an enhanced version of the engine used in SENRAN KAGURA: ESTIVAL VERSUS, it goes without saying the enhanced visuals has taken such great lengths to make the entire experience as fun as it is eye-catching. Something that even the great Katsuragi will have no problem drooling over. But while it does have its moments, story-wise is riddled with tons of still screens ranging from artwork with the girls or a simple background image of the ninja room for example with very little scenes being set in 3D with their moving cel-shaded models. It makes pressing the square button a struggle to not skip all those meaty trope-laden skits.
What the game offers is a fun and action-heavy beat’em up while also incorporating sexual themes from naked butts and bouncy boobs. And while I know that people might brush it off just because of that, it does however provide a solid foundation for its game mechanics even without them. Although the lack of online and multiplayer capabilities can hurt when more recent titles have them. The game’s story lacks consistency which can provide unique experiences when played one after the other. So with its only good points coming from its fun-filled action combat and its rather limited character customization, does it provide enough fun to warrant the £34.99 price tag of the standard edition? Or even the Rivals Edition that’s priced at £44.99 which includes the original soundtrack of the game, playable character Yumi and her special story, two exclusive outfits and the lovey-dovey couple diorama pose set? Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide but I personally find it fun enough to be a good deal should it come up on a sale on either version. As without a multiplayer mode, playing after the story would mostly focus on missions, leveling up to max (lv. 50) on one-on-one or mob combats or messing around in the dressing room.