10th Mar2014

‘Senran Kagura Burst’ Review (3DS)

by Phil Wheat

Senran-Kagura-Burst-cast

If there’s ever been a point of controversy in video games it’s those “weird” Japanese games that never get ported across to Europe and the US – you know the ones: those that feature gratuitous, often lingering shots of girls battling it out, be it in a beat ‘em up or JRPG. Back in the day these somewhat taboo titles were the kind of games that were talked about in whispers and derided by the mainstream media as an attack on Western sensibilities. But with the birth of the internet came access to a lot of of these strange so-called “sexualised” video games – even if you did have to play fan-subbed versions as no Western company would take the risk of translating and releasing such sordid titles.

Well that WAS the case. Jump to 2014 and Marvelous AQL (and PQube) release the boob-obsessed Senran Kagura Burst to an unexpecting UK audience…

Featuring the complete stories of the first two Japan releases, Senran Kagura Burst is a side-scrolling beat-em-up featuring an all-female cast, the game is a high-speed combat experience where the girls, secretly trained in the art of ninjitsu, go head to head against hordes of enemies. The more the girls fight, the more damage their clothing takes. The more revealing their costumes get, the more dangerous they become!

So yeah. Senran Kagura Burst… Erm… Well… Featuring a bunch of trainee “ninja” teenage girls, made up of the usual stereotypes/cliches: the serious one, the horny one, the snobby one, the disciplined one, the child-like one, the unfeeling one, the insecure one, et al., the game is a bizarre mix of sex and violence – the type of game that, typically, one wouldn’t expect to see on a console primarily aimed at families. And the type of game that would have had parents up in arms back in the early 90s.

And it’s not like the publishers are ignoring the sexy antics of the games protagonists, the back of the box is emblazoned with a big – very big – breasted character and the copy: “Two very good reasons to turn your 3D on!” But then how could they ignore the sexually-charged aspects of the game? After all, the ninja girls all carry there powerful ninja scrolls in their [massive] cleavages (there’s even a mission where one girl scroll slips out of her “special hiding place” and you have to help get it back) and then of course there’s the option to play the game in a school uniform, an “armoured” ninja outfit or… a bikini. And of course playing in a bikini, in frantic mode, means your character is stronger and more powerful. Of course it does.

But forgetting the mild hentai-ish aspects of the game, Senran Kagura Burst is actually a pretty decent 3D side-scrolling fighter that combines epic combos and frantic gameplay with dollops of ridiculous humour; and when I say epic combos, I mean EPIC combos. I haven’t seen insane combo scores such as this outside of the Dynasty Warriors franchise! Yet whilst the gameplay boils down to little more than button-bashing and the odd button combo, seasoned fighter fans will recognise that not all ninja teenagers are created equal – each character has a particular skill set and mode of combat that will influence the speed and ferocity of your Senran Kagura Burst experience.

With 2 story modes:┬áHanzo and Hajibo, 12 characters and a myriad of missions this game offers that little bit more in terms of long term playability than traditional side-scrolling beat ‘em-ups. That said the game is also perfect for the odd pick-up-and-play session, making Senran Kagura Burst something of an essential purchase for fight game fans. Just don’t let all that sex spoil your violence!

Senran Kagura Burst is out now on Nintendo 3DS.

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