Senran Kagura: Estival Versus
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 8

Senran Kagura Estival Versus offers an impressive amount of fanservice mixed up with some solid hack and slash combat. The game does have its fair share of questionable elements, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on content. There is a meaty story mode to complete, along with plenty of side missions, while the money you earn can be spent on clothing and accessories for the girls. Like most hack and slash games it can get a little repetitive, but despite the large cast none of the girls feel alike in personality or fighting style. If you are a fan of the series or enjoy fighting games, this comes highly recommended, as long as you realize you are going to get bombarded by fanservice around every turn.

Gameplay: Features plenty of content and a learning curve that eases you into the various combos and attacks you can pull off.

Graphics: Looks great on PC and the detail as well as animations are impressive.

Sound: Full Japanese voice acting for all the girls and a funky soundtrack that complements the action nicely

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Senran Kagura: Estival Versus

Developer: Tamsoft | Publisher: Young Horses | Release Date: 2017 | Genre: Action / Beat ‘Em Up | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Plastering scantily clad women all over mediocre titles just to increase sales is not a new tactic. It is an issue that mostly plagues the visual novel and RPG genres, but in recent times we’ve also seen it cropping up in fighting games. This is why it would be easy to dismiss Senran Kagura Estival Versus as just another shallow cash-in where the breast physics of the protagonists take precedence over the actual gameplay mechanics. It is a game that is part of a series that has an unashamed fondness of the female physique and a penchant for over the top fanservice. However, as this latest title demonstrates, it is also a great hack-and-slash title with a large cast and plenty of depth.

Players who are unfamiliar with the series and characters will probably feel a little lost when trying the follow the storyline of this game. It involves Shinobi girls of various schools who are drawn into a parallel dimension where they are informed by their host that they have to do battle against each other. The winners will be rewarded by learning the highest secret of Shinobi lore and also laying the souls of their their departed loved ones, who are present in this dimension, to rest. It all sounds super serious and there are a couple of emotional moments, but the dimension also looks like a tropical island, so most of the time the girls are goofing around in bikinis and groping each other. The game definitely has a very wacky sense of humor, but those who are easily offended or have a distaste for nudity should probably give it a miss.

Senran Kagura Estival Versus has a couple of modes to tinker around with, but you’ll probably spend most of your time with the main story mode, which takes place over the course of eight days. Here you get to take part in the “Shinobi Bon Dance” and have to battle your opponents as well as the hordes of deceased Shinobi that have been brought back to life. In addition to tearing through the grunts and facing off against the other girls, there are also “festival platforms” to destroy, which unlocks further side missions. These side missions are character specific and takes place outside the main story mode. While the gameplay is the same, the missions offer a nice opportunity to learn more about the girls. It doesn’t end here either as the game also offers additional special missions as well as an online mode with matches for up to ten players. Players can also expect to spend a lot of time in the dressing room mode where the girls can be customized with outfits that can be purchased from the in-game store using in-game currency. You can even unlock various poses for the girls and ogle them to your heart’s content in this mode as well as “interact” with them, but this aspect of the game can be completely ignored if you are not comfortable with it.

With more than 30 playable characters, each of them with their own style and personality, it will take a while to master all of them. A few of the characters have to be unlocked first or purchased as DLC, but you still get a sizable roster right off the bat. The character models are all very detailed and since the girls all have their own moves they don’t just feel like clones of each other. The game was originally released on PS4 and Vita, but has made the transition to PC with ease and we didn’t encounter any bugs or other issues. You have plenty of resolutions to choose from and the game also runs at 60 frames per second, which is always a big plus when it comes to console ports. Having said that, the camera is a little wonky at times, but this doesn’t impact the gameplay too much.

We should probably point out that the game features plenty of jiggle physics and when the characters in this game takes damage they also shed clothes. Clothes tearing can be enabled or disabled from the options menu, but there is so much fanservice in this game that you might as well leave it on and enjoy the full experience. The developers of this game know exactly who their target audience is and they have made sure that there is a neverending barrage of fanservice to keep them happy. Opponents (and your character) can even be stripped completely nude during combat, although their sensitive bits are censored by a very bright glow.

The heart of the game is the fighting and for a hack-and-slash title with only two attack buttons there is a surprising amount of depth. Your characters gain experience after each level, which improves their stats and grants them access to new moves as they level up, so your initial attacks are rather limited. However, after leveling up a few times you’ll be able to pull off some pretty impressive combo attacks. In addition to weak and strong attacks, you can also jump, perform wall runs, and juggle enemies in the air. You’ll also find bombs on some levels that can be picked up and hurled at your foes for extra damage. The real fun begins when you beat up enough enemies to fill a special bar, which grants you scrolls to use in battle. The first scroll triggers a Shinobi transformation when activated, which in addition to being extremely fanservice oriented, also makes your character more level and opens up ultimate attacks. These can also be activated when in Shinobi mode and if you have enough scrolls to really wreak havoc on your enemies. If you like living dangerously you can even activate frantic mode, which increase your attack at the expense of your defense. Since you will be hopelessly outnumbered on most levels, it’s a good thing that you can also block or parry if you find yourself on the backfoot. Finally, if yo are really swamped you can use the break mechanic to sacrifice a little bit of health and blast opponents away from you. Annoyingly, the other girls can also perform this move, which means performing combo attacks on them can be very tricky. Foes also have a nasty habit of stunlocking your character, which is always frustrating. Also, as anyone who has played similar titles such as the Dynasty Warriors series will know, the game can also become a little repetitive after a while. Thankfully, each level features a different character to control in story mode and they all play very differently thanks to weapons like guns, swords, umbrellas, fans and more, so there is at least a little variety to the combat.

Estival Versus can be played with a mouse and keyboard, but we found a controller to be the superior option. It is the type of game where button mashing can get you far, but only if you are satisfied with the poor grade that you are awarded at the conclusion of each level. For the best grades you need to learn how to be quick and how to avoid taking too much damage during fights. The game features three different difficulty settings, but we recommend sticking to the higher ones as they provide a better challenge and also greater rewards. The music is a great mix of rock and synth that is very upbeat and matches the quirky atmosphere of the game. As an added bonus all the girls are also fully voiced in Japanese. This really helps to make the personalities of their characters shine during the abundant cut-scenes.

The bottom line is that Senran Kagura Estival Versus is a very polished title that offers fans exactly what they want from the series, which is frantic fights and frequent fanservice. If you are new to the series, we suggest doing what one of the characters cheekily informs you to do during one of the cut-scenes, which is watching the original video animation. Although this is definitely not a game for players who think titles such as the Dead or Alive series is sexist, it is hard not to admire how dedicated it its to providing fanservice as well as solid gameplay.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7+
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-550 @ 3.2 GHz (2-core)
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 19 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Compatible with DirectX 11.0
  • OS: Windows 7+
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-6400 @ 3.2 GHz / AMD A8-6500 @ 3.50 GHz
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 / AMD Radeon R7 360
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 19 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Compatible with DirectX 11.0

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