Lets get this out of the way, SENRAN KAGURA is a critic proof franchise, it has a dedicated player base and they already know what they’re getting. A competent brawler revolving around young high school girls looking to become ninjas, all while building trust and relationships with one another.
The series started back on the Nintendo 3DS in 2011 and has received multiple sequels, spinoffs, an anime adaptation and manga adaptations. The original 3DS game was simplistic and made for quick play while on the go, as any good handheld game should.
SENRAN KAGURA Burst Re:Newal for the Playstation 4 and PC is a remake of that original entry, sadly to a fault.
Any fan of the SENRAN KAGURA franchise should be made aware that this is a complete remake and as such, will feel like a downgrade from current titles. This includes less characters, as the original 12 are still there with new characters coming in the form of DLC, a combat system that feels uninspired and lazy, the level designs still looks like they belong on a handheld and the controls feel sluggish at times.
The story is a retelling of two academies and their rivalry, Hanzo Academy and Hebijo Clandestine Girls’ Academy, both sides have their own stories and eventually cross paths with the other.
The game’s story mostly revolves around the girls in their respective schools learning to become ninjas and growing as a team. If you enjoy ecchi storylines and sexually charged characters, SENRAN KAGURA Burst Re:Newal’s story and humor may be up your alley.
It’s not that the game isn’t funny at times, but the generic character traits are so by the numbers that anybody who has ever watched a comedy ecchi anime such as Ranma 1/2 or Tenchi Muyo! have seen these traits used far more efficiently and in funnier situations.
Players will find that one character they like and will want to keep playing as her, personally I enjoyed playing 3rd-year student, Katsuragi from Hanzo National Academy, and Hikage from Hebijo Clandestine Girls’ Academy. Players may also find characters they despise, I’m looking at you Hibari you’re just the absolute worst.
Character models have been given an update to fit current gen hardware and they look fine, for the most part, enemies aren’t given much care as the main characters. Low res textures and the lack of physics on the bustier models are evident and can be off-putting when looked at up close.
This only becomes noticeable thanks to a camera that has a hard time keeping up with the action, especially in smaller areas such as a shopping square or alleyways. It’s also obvious that the game aimed for 30 frames per second rather than going for a locked 60, there are stutters in some animations and the combat doesn’t feel as fluid as it could have been.
The game supports both English and French subtitles, but only has Japanese vocals. This isn’t a bad thing, if anything it’s a bright feature, the seiyuus are giving their all and sound like they enjoy their characters. Each characters’ voice sounds full of energy and fulfills their personalities perfectly.
Gameplay is a different story, the combat mechanics feel like they have been updated to fit console controls over the 3DS’ D-pad and lack of a joystick, keep in mind I played the PS4 version and not the PC version.
A new burst feature, which wasn’t in the original, gives players a boost in attacks and can even finish a large group in an instant. While another fighting mechanic called Frantic allows players to start a level without their selected characters clothing, this leaves them nearly defenseless but raises their attacks.
SENRAN KAGURA Burst Re:Newal was made for players who either enjoy the franchise and missed the first game, such as myself, or for players who are looking to jump into the series.
And while we’re on the aspect of what fans of the series would like, it’s important to note that the ‘Intimacy mode’ is not included as a feature in the game, this removal was announced by the publishers and yes, the mode is really gone.
Instead, the game has a dressing room and a ‘diorama’ mode. In these modes players can pose and change the outfits of characters. And the poses that can be picked are, lets say, very fitting for the franchise and should keep some players entertained while they try to get the perfect group shot.
SENRAN KAGURA Burst Re:Newal is a disappointing remake, in this current generation players are looking for more in their re-releases, especially at a $40, $50 and $80 asking price respectively. The move to HD is fine, but it lacks 4K and even HDR support, so PS4 Pro players won’t even be able to take advantage of their console and 4KTV.
Not to mention the game is set to release a plethora of DLC, including two new playable stories, outfits and the aforementioned characters, just weeks after release, making the asking price even harder to swallow and raising questions of why an already niche title would charge so much if the idea was to attract new players.
The game is fun in small bursts, no pun intended, and could have taken advantage at the franchise’s history by adding more, not less. It’s hard for me as a fan of the series to recommend this particular game, instead I suggest playing SENRAN KAGURA SHINOVI VERSUS for those familiar with the franchise.
If you’re new to the series and want a fun, quick, cheesy brawler, then Burst Re:Newal will surely help get you interested in the franchise and could possibly turn you into a fan.
This review of SENRAN KAGURA Burst Re:Newal is based on a review key provided by XSEED GAMES
SENRAN KAGURA Burst Re:Newal
- Fun characters
- Combat is fast
- Updated controls
- New models look good
- Missing modes
- Controls can feel sluggish
- No support for HDR TVs
- Hibari is just the worst