Oh boy, where do I begin with this one? Well, there are these girls, and a beach… They’ve got really cool weapons, er, you can dress them up however you want…..
Alright, let’s try this again. Senran Kagura: Estival Versus is the latest installment in the Senran Kagura franchise, and the first to appear on the PlayStation 4. The series has also appeared Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita, as well as mobile devices. I don’t wanna spend too much time on the series’ history, so let’s jump right into Estival Versus. It’s my first time playing a Senran Kagura game, so let’s see how what I had to say about it.
Schoolgirls On The Battlefield
Estival Versus is a flashy and action packed “Musou” game. Musou refers to games such as Dynasty Warriors, titles that feature really strong characters mowing down hundreds of enemies. While Musou games aren’t exactly known for their difficulty, they are super popular for just how much pure fun they are, and Estival Versus is no different.
I had an absolute blast playing this game. Stringing together combos, leveling up the girls, unleashing devastating super moves, I quickly became addicted to all of it. And the characters all feel really good to control too! While each girl has her own unique method of attacking, each of them is incredibly quick and agile.
They can scale buildings, run along walls, and use an air dash to keep their combos going. Every girl also has access to two different transformation techniques. The first of these techniques is the shinobi transformation. The girls, uhmm, strip… out of their clothes to don their shinobi attire. In this state, the girls have access to their shinobi arts, and can more easily string together combos.
The second of these transformations is frantic mode. Frantic mode can be triggered either manually by the player, or after taking enough damage. The girls fight completely…. naked, and can execute combos indefinitely, but have much lower defense. Both of these forms have their own benefits, and it’s up to the player to decide which is best for them.
Endless Summer Festival
Estival Versus has a surprisingly engaging story. Going into the game, I expected a fun little story about schoolgirl shinobi taking part in a summer festival. While I definitely got what I expected, I also got quite a bit of depth for the characters. In addition to being involved in the overall storyline, each girl also has their own set of problems that they must deal with.
Sibling rivalries, mourning over dead relatives, letting go of the past, these are themes that I did not expect Estival Versus to explore. But this isn’t to say that the story is all doom and gloom. For every girl that has a more personal and introspective story, there is another one that has a subplot involving her ever growing blog. Whether the story being told is funny or serious, the character personalities always managed to shine through, and they are easily one of the best parts of the game. With characters this entertaining, is there any surprise that the series has received an OVA adaptation?
Waifu Dress Up Simulator
Weirdly enough, one of the most fun parts of Estival Versus is dressing up the girls. In a game that’s all about provocatively dressed schoolgirls, who would’ve thought seeing them in cool clothes would be so entertaining. The customization is super deep. Every girl can wear any other girl’s hairstyle, regular outfit, shinobi outfit, swimsuit, etc. And you’re not even restricted by certain outfits being used for transformations. Shinobi outfits can be used as normal outfits, and vice versa.
Let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room. Yes, Estival Versus is filled to the brim with fanservice, and if you don’t like that then this is not the game for you. I personally don’t mind it in the case of Estival Versus, partially because of how apparent it is, and how much the series embraces it. It reminds me quite a bit of High School of the Dead, an anime that has a pretty entertaining story, with tons of blatant fanservice as well.
Estival Versus makes no attempts to hide how sexual it is. Almost every girl has an enormous bust size, permanent blush marks on their cheeks and legs, and plenty of jiggle physics. Not to mention the fact that clothing loss and damage is actually an important gameplay mechanic. And let’s not forget the creative finishers. If the girls are defeated next to a sign post (there are a few of these on every map), they lose their clothes and are sent flying off, resulting in them being stuck in an embarrassing, and very lewd position.
Estival Versus is one of the most entertaining games I’ve played this year. It knows it exactly what it is, and what it wants to accomplish, and I think it does this with flying colors. The game’s not really super deep or complex, but it’s a ton of fun, and sometimes that’s all I really want out of a video game (it’s also a really fun platinum trophy).