It makes me smile to see a fair number of games release on PC that were initially PlayStation Vita games. The fact that companies are seeing that there is a market for these releases means that gamers who lack a PlayStation Vita can enjoy some great games. Then comes along Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus which released on Vita almost two years ago. Seeing a release on Steam last month the game marks the first release on Steam for the series.
Developer Tamsoft and publisher Marvellous once again bring the ninja fighting-clothes removing Senran Kagura series to the markets attention. As a series that is known for it’s fanservice before anything else, you would be forgiven to thinking that Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is just another game with boobs on display for the purpose of sales. Drive deeper into the series and you’ll see that it’s not all about the boobs. The question is though how does a port of a PlayStation Vita game released almost two years ago hold up on the PC? Has there been enough to make it stand out or is this another one to be lost to the Steam catalogue?
Having been a PlayStation Vita game that has now been ported over to the PC you’ll find that some of the old controls are still present in the way of ‘prompts’ for some touch screen actions. Other than the few of these, the controls for Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus hold up just as you would expect. The mice and keyboard, though not for me, is an option and keybinding is available for players to get the best set up for their playstyle. That said I would still suggest playing through the game with a controller as the hack and slash gameplay will put you to the test. One thing that was nice however is that the controller can be plugged in and you can still drive the menu’s with the mouse without any trouble. It’s a small thing but it made the menu navigation a lot smoother.
That said however Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus might be my least favourite out of the games in the series I have played. Sure the gameplay is up there with others, though it’s missing some exciting features that the new games offer. The combos lack slightly and are slower than before with more fights ending in a mash of the one button as you spam your foes into a wall or the ground. It lacks a lot of the flashy style that makes other Senran Kagura games stand out. It doesn’t mean that Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is a bad nor unplayable game but rather a disappointment when compared with other entries in the series.
What doesn’t disappoint however is the character line up that once again proves that Tamsoft know how to make characters that are honestly, wonderful and somewhat scary all at once. All twenty plus Shinobi are great fun to play as, each of which offering their own style and tactics to the mix to help create a list of characters that all feel fun to play and more so to master. From the fast fighters to the heavy hitters Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus at least offers a brilliant cast of characters.
On the presentation side of things Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus performs much better on PC than it’s PlayStation Vita counterpart. The release of Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus on PC means that the game was able to have a complete overhaul thanks to the new hardware. This means that you’ll find improved graphics and textures, smoother running, mice and keyboard support and more. It’s also worth noting that the game does include all of the released DLC, meaning you’re getting a complete package with Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus on PC. There are no complaints from me on the presentation or performance of Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus on PC and even the audio is to a high standard that you would expect for a Senran Kagura game.
Story wise Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus follows on from the story of Senran Kagura Burst and revisits the continuing conflict between ninja’s Hanzo National Academy and Hebjio Clandestine Girls Academy. At the same time the game introduces a new, third faction into the mix by the name of the Gessen Girl’s Academy. The story then focuses around the schools taking part in a competition to beat the other schools and all fights break loose. It’s an all out war to see who will be the winner and not have their school burnt to the ground in defeat. It’s interesting and does the job but it feels a bit too serious for a game that has some lively and often over the top characters. It’s not to say that the story of Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is a bad thing in fact it’s nice to play through and experience. It’s just a case of finding it a bit forced at times and often out of place to the actions of the characters.
The trouble with the Senran Kagura series is that the line between being a fun game and a fanservice product. Sadly with Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus it feels like less of both and one of the weaker entries in the Senran Kagura series. The limited combat options and the clear limits put in place due to the PlayStation Vita hardware just put a bit of a strain on the otherwise enjoyable format of the Senran Kagura games. The PC release might be a technical achievement but in the end I think that I much prefer other entries in the series such as Senran Kagura: Estival Versus on PlayStation 4. If you’re new to the Senran Kagura series then Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is a good place to start but bare in mind that it is by no means the best in the series.
Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is available now for PC and PlayStation Vita.
This review is based on a PC copy of the product provided by the publisher.