Senran Kagura Estival Versus Review – PC

Just where do we start with this unique anime-inspired beat’em up? Well, they say sex sells, and it seems that’s the name of the game here. With buxom ladies abound, skimpy outfits, and a few rather sexual dialogue break’s the game has a lot of ‘sex’ to give. But does sex sell enough to keep you playing this game? This, the 7th title in the long-running Senran Kagura series sees the story continue from where Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus left off.

This time round the girls have been drawn into a parallel dimension by a mystical phenomenon, where everything they know about life and death has been turned upside down. This strange new world resembles a warm summer island, although with less of the sunbathing and more of the fighting to survive. Sounds exciting, alas it’s not at the beginning, after a very, very long and drawn out into phase, one where you get the chance to see the characters and learn a little about the plot, you finally get to the main part of the game.

Until this point, the full options screen had not been accessible, in any game that can be quite annoying but needing to play around 30 minutes of gameplay before you reach it is rather frustrating, although at set points you were able to save, so that’s a plus. During this Intro, if like me, you’ve not had the pleasure to play any of the previous titles you end up being a tad lost off. And with no real explanation of the previous story, you begin to become best friends with the skip button when any of the dialogue sections begin. Although each of these are very well drawn 3d anime clips, the need to skip each dialogue begins to lose its appeal as the game progresses, luckily you can skip the entire section, but you also miss the story.

Once passed the initial intro the game really begins to open up, with a huge customisation section that includes a raffle to gamble for extra loot, a dressing room for you to re-equip the characters with even more revealing clothes, mission and character select and more. The options are vast, yet all centred around the skimpy, scantily clad females, but what more would you want? Mission select allows you to focus on one of 3 areas of the game, either the main storyline – one that involves all the characters, special missions or a character based mission. Each one offers something a little different from the others, but they are still pretty much the same – into – fight – outro. Now that the full option screen has become available the game actually feels like it begins. And begin it does by jumping into the story mission, although instead of the nice hand-drawn anime cutscene, or even a 3d anime one, it begins with a standard text-based beginning. One that requires you to once again click for the next line of text, cue the skip button!

At the gameplay, this game really does come alive, with simple controls, a good combo system and a rather novel health system for the hundreds of grunts you face. If your wondering just how much health an opponent has, look no further to how many items of clothing they have left, as the more you pummel them, the less they wear. This includes you, if you’re taking a pounding, expect to become a little less covered as the fight goes on.The gameplay mechanics utilise a rather simple 4 button combo system that lends itself well to being played using a controller. Along with this, there are a few extra fighting options, the most used one is the transformation button, where once per game, via a novel animated sequence, you can change clothes, fighting style and gain health/power up, a nice touch if the standard one isn’t working well enough for you.

With each character having unique clothes, moves and specials the game feels very fleshed out with regards to the fighting aspect. Although the areas you fight in are a tad limited, this doesn’t hinder the game in any way thanks to the strength of the fighting. The simple controls and the excellent way the combat feels make the game like a full blown fighting game, does the overall sexy aspect of the entire game let it down a bit? Maybe, but as the 7th game in a series it’s obviously proving popular with some.

The game is simple and fun, and thanks to this its hard to put it down. With a huge area of customisation available the game has all it needs to keep you entertained, although once completed its replayability is kind of limited.

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