The fate of the life of a shinobi is associated with death. They are born, live and die in the shadows. A shinobi’s life is transient: they do not receive any awards for their actions, not a shred of reputation, nor approval. Precious flowers are destined to anonymity. What do they feel the souls of the lost shinobi who still wander on this earth? They have regrets for ever unfulfilled dreams? Still they feel an attachment to their loved ones? Or something entirely different? This story takes place during a midsummer festival, where the souls of the dead await the eternal rest. At the end of the celebration held to commemorate them, two young girls who keep aloof recognize the face of a family member, which leads them to shed tears of joy mixed with nostalgia.
“S-sister? It is you?”
Senran Kagura ESTIVAL VERSUS follows the story of SHINOVI VERSUS, the previous episode of the saga also released on PlayStation Vita in Europe. In these secondary events (but with a first-rate technical achievement) Asuka and compañeras of the Hanzo National Academy give the role of absolute protagonists to Yumi, Shiki, Murakumo, Yozakura and Minori, the five shinobi from Gessen Girls’ Academy that we have already got to know in the aforementioned predecessor. Joining them will return the charismatic girls of Homura Crimson Squad, as well as the new class of elite Clandestine Hebijo Girls Academy, along with five, unpublished warriors that we will present later in the review. For Senran Kagura, this seventh gaming product marks the debut of home console, which takes the best on fresh PlayStation 4 from Sony, along with an edition for the already tested portable PSVita. We will analyze the all new ESTIVAL VERSUS together and discover if this really will be the best title of the product saga so far.
In ESTIVAL VERSUS, we quickly realize the first major change to the main mode that preceded it (in particular, we talk about the Burst and SHINOVI VERSUS already arrived in our country). We will not be initially asked to choose one of the shinobi academies available to us, but we will follow in turn the story from the point of view of all of the characters, starting from the twin Ryona and Ryobi of Hebijo. After an almost incomprehensible preamble narrated from the grandmother’s voice Sayuri, we will be charmed from the first FMV made in traditional 2D animation that will introduce us to the story proper. We will meet the twin sado-masochistic to lay flowers on the grave of the deceased sister, when they are interrupted by voices and noises, curiosity wants, will push to penetrate through the trees, to find out to find themselves in the middle of a ceremony of purification of deceased shinobi souls.
In the midst of spirits that Grandma Sayuri and her students have committed to return to the other world, the two girls will notice the big sister Ryoki and will rush, without thinking twice. However, his body will be re-locked inside a coffin, that the girls will try to reopen ending engulfed in a huge glow, after which we will take control of the two to finally dive into the real game.
The first change you notice if you have already tried SHINOVI VERSUS, which will be on the pitch with us we can have another shinobi partner to assist us. The controls and combat system will be almost identical to what we saw earlier: the action buttons will be directed to attack normal, powerful attack (useful to throw opponents into the air), to jump and to shoot, through which we can track enemies in mid-air to continue the combo. The ridges will once again be useful to carry out the processing Shinobi Tenshin, after filling the gauge, as well as, in combination with the above-mentioned keys, the execution of special techniques or, in the alternative to the first, at the entrance in the Frantic mode: once again our heroes will abandon all (or almost all) their clothes, lowering his defenses, but being able to take advantage of a very high offensive power. This first mission will serve as a tutorial for these basic commands, and will culminate in a new animated cutscene. You ever expect to see the shinobi Senran Kagura dance in bikinis as if they were an idol?
Ryobi and Ryona once more embrace the revived sister, and our point of view will change to that of the actual protagonists of this episode, Yumi and the other girls of Gessen. In the shoes of our frigid warrior will face a new battle set on lush beach where we will have to become familiar with the new gaming consoles, then return in the role of the remaining ninja Hebijo, Miyabi, Murasaki and Imu: thanks to them instead learn to use the combined, attacks can be activated by combining one of the shoulder buttons and reserved the circle button or alternatively by pressing the touch pad of the PS4 controllers. Among other innovations in combat mention the opportunity to run for a short period of time on the walls, from which we hurl violently on enemies, as well as the ability to pick up objects, such as various types of bombs which, when thrown, will pay us back to become invisible, or stun, freeze, destroy the weaker enemies. The latter appear in much greater quantities in the PlayStation 4 version, but in any case, they will be deprived of the bars features of energy seen in SHINOVI, which will give up the role of the clothes worn: the more damage that inflicts, the faster the clothes will rip off then be thrown on the horizon or disappear in a cloud of smoke.
The last and most important addition by Marvelous! It resides in the implementation of new techniques indicated with the name of Purupuru Finish. To better understand what it is, will I take the example of the environmental Fatality Mortal Kombat series: do you remember when one of the two contenders cruel finishes his opponent with an uppercut that throws it on the ceiling, making it stick on the spikes and leaving him there It stuck like a slice of buttered bread? Here it is. Forget the gore atmosphere of MK and go back to situations rather over the top of Senran Kagura. Through Purupuru Finish, which can be activated in special circumstances depending of the arena in which we are, we will be able to strip at once our opponents (in terms of the boss, not the simple enemies slaughter) flinging on a cherry tree in bloom , sliding them on a bar of soap, glancing in the direction of the basketball hoop or a volleyball net, or even entrusting to tender hugs of an octopus tentacle in the classic Japanese turnips. The Purupuru Finish are many and all different, and only discover them all we will take away hours of fun.
After completing the introductory chapter in which, using a shinobi after another, we have been taught all the new shares available in combat, we will finally have access to the actual game menu, the classic in which we can choose our favorite shinobi for replay already completed the story missions or continue the main story or individual missions grouped under Shinobi Girl’s Heart (unlockable only after destroying a number of altars in the story missions). The biggest change from the Burst and the SHINOVI is the total absence of a hub in which to check in first person the selected character within their hideout, replaced by a more classical scroll menu behind which appear beach scenes where kunoichi team used give off its swimsuit. As already mentioned, in ESTIVAL VERSUS the plot will not be divided into missions for the respective schools, but will follow a single timeline that will take us from time to time, using each of the protagonists of the four ninja academies, as well as unpublished warriors indicated with the name of Sen’nensai Shojo: these include the three sisters Mikagura (Renka, Hanabi and Kafuru), the deceased Ryoki and finally Sayuri grandmother, so it can take the form of provocative Jasmine, his younger version. This summer competition named Kagura Sen’nensai (Kagura Millennium Festival) the shinobi will challenge each other to declare which of them will be the best. If initially the girls of Hanzo and original serpent school used more or less conventional weapons to a ninja, already Gessen and the new Hebijo put us in front of atypical objects of fans caliber or even a bucket. Girls Sen’nensai further aggravate the image of the modern world ninja, fighting with the use of Taiko drums, water pistols, talking dolphin and a giant pipe, but rather making it fun to use in battle. Five girls for Hanzo, five for the Guren-tai, five for the Gessen, another five for Hebijo, as well as five new warriors Sen’nensai: on balance, we are at a starting roster of twenty-five characters. To these will be added free DLC already announced (grandmother Sayuri in old version and the classic daidouji and Rin) and additional DLC like cross-over characters of the caliber Ayane (from DEAD OR ALIVE 5 Last Round) and Hakufu Sonsaku, Uncho Kan’u Housen and Ryofu the series Ikki Tousen. Not a bad roster, do not you?
In SHINOVI VERSUS, the multiplayer undergoes a substantial evolution in the game that I find myself in his hands. The PlayStation 4 version of ESTIVAL VERSUS lets you organize online games that can involve up to ten players connected to the network, match four or ten people, divided into three types.
The first of these is the classic battle points: bringing blows hitting or defeating enemies, players will be rewarded with a certain amount of points, with the possibility to set an upper limit or a time limit. Clearly, to win will be the one who has accumulated the most points at the expiration of the seconds available or will have reached the limit before the others. The second mini-game available is the collection of panties: These will fall like rain on the arena, and we will have to collect as much as possible to assert our victory, with the ability to hit opponents to steal the loot. Finally, the third and most original is indicated by the name of Capture the Brag: each of the players in battle, in turn, will be the bearer of a flag that you will attack many bras how will the defeated enemies; the power of the player will increase according to the obtained count linens, and the winner will be the one that will win the flag at the end of the game, or who will pick up first by the previously set bras. The PS Vita version of the title contains the same three modes, but only allow four players to participate, both on the website and through ad hoc connection locally. A pity that these mini-games you can not even make yourself against the CPU, especially for those without a subscription PlayStation Plus and does not have a chance to try them out on PS4.
Return from the old chapters we have Ayame in the shop, from which we can purchase game items such as pictures, music and of course clothes, as well as the lottery thanks to which we can spend the currency gained on a mission to collect the hundred and twenty underwear available. Try a little ‘to shake the joypad or to interact on the touchscreen when you find yourself inside the hub of the store.
About hoppai, we all know where this section wants to end: the Dressing Room. Present from the first game in the series, this virtual dressing room allows you to select one by one the shinobi to change their casual clothes, his uniform Shinobi Tenshin mode, underwear and finally with more or less fetish accessories such as ears and tail cat, glasses, bandages and much more. That’s all? But no! The peculiarity of the Dressing Room has always been the ability to interact with the girls through the gyroscopes or touch screens of their consoles, to touch them and feel them pronounce more or less embarrassing sentences (which, in the European editions of the games, chose not to subtitle to not peck a PEGI 18). Because in Japan just do not care about the rating and look like a bunch of sex maniacs, ESTIVAL VERSUS further enhances the way they interact with a provocative warrior. After choosing the clothes that best suit us, we can touch it, yank, slapping, pinching girls, raising their skirts and molest in every possible way without having to fear a violent retaliation. Are you ready to find out how much the producer Kenichiro Takaki has gone beyond the PlayStation 4 version of the title in question? Good. Sexual harassment in the mode (if we want to call it) we just rotate the DualShock 4 upright to make his little hands in red; then we’ll have to lock ourselves locked in the house, to make sure no one is watching us … and start moving up and down the controller, as frantically as possible. Once past the initial embarrassment, we will notice that the clothes of the shinobi selected will begin to torn until it disappears completely, leaving us prey to censorship and dazzling to a comment of grandmother. No, your grandmother was talking about Sayuri.
Finally, among the novelties of this section I present the one that more than any other is sweeping the Japanese players: the Diorama mode. In the new Dressing Room it is possible to choose up to five characters to PS4 and three out of PS Vita, and enjoy a range of options that allow us to choose their position, facial expression, any balloon and bottom, special effects and naturally framing. Once we finished we can take pictures using the appropriate function of the console, unlocking with the game progresses new features, objects, and environments. Needless to specify that, thanks to this mode, we can combine all the colors.
Being Senran Kagura ESTIVAL VERSUS the first game for home consoles, as well as the new generation, I was expecting a very respectable technical sector, and so it was. The graphic rendering, the fluidity of 60 frames per second and 1080p resolution which splendidly illustrates the best characters of the title Marvelous! both during the nice sequences in visual novel style (renovated in appearance and made more dynamic) both during the game itself. The PS Vita version is to live up to, despite the halved frame rate and a slightly lower resolution, even if it involves the best use of PlayStation TV. From time to time to time we happen to find ourselves in front of the beautiful static illustrations, as well as animated cut-scenes that have nothing to envy to a television series: if you can not photograph them at the right time with the Share button do not worry, they will be visible again in ‘ Library special mode once unlocked.
The clothes, as usual, will be more fragile than a cracker, but thanks to the PS4 muscles we can also see them change appearance when wet. Probably the only criticism, under the technical point of view, would move in the direction of the texture, which are not always at the top, for example on issues such as Hikage tattoos. A defect, that this time I found quite annoying, resides in collisions with enemies using characters from light attacks as Yumi often play will be frustrating and troublesome, especially if we have not blocked our target of one of the enemies. The camera of this problem in SHINOVI has been largely solved, thanks to the wider environment, which prevent the frame blocks are often in tight corners preventing us to understand what happens in front of us. Once again to rule the roost in the audio industry it is the first-class dubbing, accompanied by a soundtrack that features many rearrangements of the parts already heard in previous titles, many of them in the most sparkling key, as if to recall the atmosphere of summer. The introductory movie, the one where the shinobi dance group amiably to the sea, is accompanied by a song sung by the seiyuu idol style Asuka (Hitomi Harada) and Yumi (Yumi Hara), titled SUNSHINE EDF. The movie is a great example of mix between the traditional 2D animation and CG cel shading, but unfortunately, still a time to master is by far the girls who, through the Japanese Popularity polls, have reached the highest positions, and not always to Japanese tastes coincide with ours.
The last chapter of the saga Senran Kagura (although it is all a spin-off effects of the events Hanzo) will please all those who have already enjoyed on the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita previously, but personally, I would suggest waiting for an official announcement confirming the arrival of the security in our country, because of the lyrics in the screen completely original idiom that could prevent to understand the plot (albeit mild compared to the main branch) and all of the features in the game. The good news is that the trophies ESTIVAL VERSUS are already localized in English, which is why we can hope for an imminent announcement by Xseed Games and Marvelous Europe. Council to abstain to those who do not like the excessive fanservice in video games, since this last episode it’s fuller than ever, especially in situations like the new Purupuru Finish or questionable features of the Dressing Room, but never go beyond the already known objections.
You do not even need to say it. Senran Kagura ESTIVAL VERSUS is a title that won me from the very first images, which leads the Marvelous! shinobi to a new level and makes it even more attractive franchise for those who maybe waiting for a breakthrough. Shoujotachi no Sentaku (which would mean roughly “The selection of girls”) is the natural evolution of the first game released on the PlayStation Vita, and is qualitatively superior to all titles released so far (except for Bon Appétit ! that’s a separate discussion). The PS4 version is definitely better, but I notice how often the missions are so hasty that would work perfectly for hit-and-run sessions on the handheld console, why opt for the PS Vita version would not be entirely wrong. Kenichiro Takaki is a genius in his own way, and you still thinking up new ways to embarrass the players through an ever more ridiculously fanservice pushed, without exceeding the vulgar (and I speak of the game, not the anime). The title has some marginal defect and, unfortunately, I have to say that, playing it without understanding better the story, the greatest of these is due to the monotony of missions: being numerous, they may end up getting tired prematurely if addressed one after the other. I appreciate the choice of making the same more difficult than previous titles; this time, will be more necessary than ever to retrace our steps to level up any character who, because of moveset less affable than others, will hardly be the height of some of the story missions.
Concluding my vote is a full 9/10
Below you’ll find the schedule charts of the dlc’s
The game is available to pre-order now for £34.99 (PS Vita) and £44.99 (PS4™) for Europe and Australia EXCLUSIVELY at www.estivalversus.com. All pre-orders taken at the Marvelous Store will be granted a pre-order bonus of high-quality collectible art cards!
Marvelous Europe is pushing the boat out to paradise once more with even more Physical Limited Editions exclusive to www.estivalversus.com. The ‘Kagura Millennium Festival Edition’, at £44.99/$49.99 (PS Vita) and £54.99/$59.99 (PS4™) features a 2-CD soundtrack and artbook while the ‘Bahonkas Edition’ priced at £74.99 (PS Vita) and £84.99 (PS4™) adds an exclusive supersized, double-sided Dakimakura hugging pillowcase. For the most dedicated Kagura Collectors only, the ultra-limited ‘Surprise Shinobi Slippery Splash-n-Spray Sports Special’ adds all previous items, PLUS two different sets of five Senran Kagura figurines (Gessen and New Hebijo), and is priced at £109.99 (PS Vita) and £119.99 (PS4™).
Click on your console version to be redirected to the pre-order page
That’s it for today! I want to say thank you to Marvelous! PR Manager for the trust in Hackinformer team and as always I invite you to follow me on Twitter @roccocannale and leave comments!
The King is leaving the building…