Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal – Review

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Platform: PlayStation 4, PC
Developers: Honey ∞ Parade Games
Publisher: Marvelous

[Review Copy provided by Marvelous.]


We’re back again with a burst of busty goodness! Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal is the latest release in the infamously pervy Senran Kagura series. The game is a full remake of the 3DS title Senran Kagura Burst (itself a remake of the original Senran Kagura: Portrait of Girls).

In terms of what’s new, the gameplay has been updated from a 2D side-scrolling format to a 3D field (similar to Estival Versus). Naturally, the graphics have been brought up to date too. The game also features a new DLC story (included in the special editions and available for purchase later) centred around the fan favourite Shinobi, Yumi. I’ll touch upon this DLC later.


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The story of Burst Re:Newal centres around the rivalry between two Shinobi schools – the good Shinobi of Hanzo National Academy, and the evil Shinobi from Hebijo’s Clandestine Girls’ Academy. It’s not a particularly deep or involved story, but it hits the right beats and serves as a good vehicle to get to know the game’s ten playable characters. As always, the girls of Senran Kagura are quirky and likeable. Focusing on a smaller cast lets those characters shine – though a few particular members get to shine more than others.

The story itself is split into two paths, each focused on one of the two schools. These two paths run about 40 missions each, though many of these missions only last for a minute or two at most. There’s also a series of bonus missions which are a little tougher. Once beaten, any mission can be tackled with any character.

Like other entries in the series, much of the story is told through dialogue and visual novel style monologues. There’s often a bit of imbalance between the length of the cutscenes and the length of the mission that follows, which might be offputting if you’re not looking to read very much.


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The core gameplay of this busty-brawler will be familiar to fans of the series, or simply fans of similar beat-em-up titles. Players string together combos using light and heavy attacks, with several attacks launching the enemies into the air. Pressing the dash button will allow the player to follow up and extend the combo in mid-air with an Aerial Rave.

Building up meter allows the player to use their Shinobi transformation, opening up a few super attacks that can deal heavier damage. The parry system adds a little bit of defensive play, too, as a well timed block will stun your attackers and open them up for more combos.

This formula is simple and enjoyable, though it can get a little tedious at times. Many games of this type share similar pitfalls: enemies that are spongy, and enemies that run away. Still, the gameplay is fun enough to keep you playing without requiring a great deal of attention, even when those pesky archers are around.


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Of course, it wouldn’t be Senran Kagura if you couldn’t make someone’s clothes explode. Dealing and taking damage will reduce the girls into various states of nakedness over time, and finishing off a boss with a special move will see you tear every strip of fabric off your opponent’s body with a flashy cinematic. It’s a bit like a jiggling firework display!

The game also lets you boldly explode your own clothes and enter battle in nothing but your panties, activating Frantic Mode. You can do this before any mission, greatly raising your damage output in exchange for a severe drop in defense. It’s a fun way to play the game, and is, in my opinion, the best way to take on the game’s otherwise rather tedious final boss fights.

On the subject of clothes, fan-favourite features such as the dressing room and diorama modes see a return, letting you customise the girls individually. As usual, these features let you tinker and tailor quite extensively to get the look you want. That said, I’m disappointed that there’s still only a handful of outfit and hair colours. A lot of the content here is recycled, too, but it’s still fun to play around with between missions.


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Before we wrap up, let’s quickly talk about DLC. As mentioned before, the game features an all new bonus campaign focused on Yumi. This extra story features 10 more missions and adds a little bit of back story for Yumi and several characters from Gessen Academy. It’s not especially long, and it feels a bit detached from the events of the game, but it’s still an interesting window into the history of Yumi and her friends.

If you’re wondering, Yumi works like every other character in the game. Her moveset is fully unique, and you can level her up and use her in any mission and dress up mode as well. You can also play her DLC missions with other characters, if you want to.

Assuming that we get the same content as the Japanese release, we can look forward to a number of DLC characters in the future – enough to more than double the cast. How much of a positive that is will be up to your opinion on DLC in general.


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For veteran fans and new players alike, Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal is a solid entry in the series. While nothing in the game really pushes the boat out, it’s still a fun package overall and I had a good time playing through it. Although it’s clearly not the most bombastic and high budget production, there’s still an obvious degree of polish here.

For me, this is the sort of game I’ll probably keep coming back to as a time filler. It’s a comfy game that offers simple but satisfying gameplay, without demanding too much attention or skill to have a fun time. Of course, the usual warning does apply – if you’re not a fan of all the fan-service, you should probably look elsewhere for something a bit more sensible. But if you’re like me and you don’t mind the occasional gratuitous abuse of jiggle-bones, you’ll probably have a good time.


Final Score
4

Summary

Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal brings you more of the busty-brawler action that fans of the series love, with all the jiggly bits they’ve come to expect. This is another solid entry in what’s fast becoming one of my favourite series, thanks to its consistently fun releases.

While nothing about the game really pushes the boundaries of what games can be, it’s not really trying to, either. What it offers is what you get – a simple and entertaining brawler, packed with charming characters and plenty of fanservice to boot. If that’s what you’re looking for in a game, then I think it’s worth checking out!

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