Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Rudy Lavaux 27.08.2015 11

Review for Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson on Nintendo 3DS

Admittedly, Senran Kagura Burst did make a lot of noise when it was first announced. A game about polygonal pairs of tits, all naturals, wiggling about the 3DS auto-stereoscopic 3D screen, which also happened to be a beat 'em all, by the way, surely did make some heads turn. If not for its fantastic qualities as a game, at least it did for the nature of its content, although, as many will recall, it was certainly not the first of its kind, as Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball goes back much further and, quite frankly, shifted copies more for its content than for the actual game, as well. To be fair though, Senran Kagura Burst did more in the way of actual gameplay than the aforementioned Xbox title, as it did less in the way of allowing the player to simply "stare" at the female models and concentrated more on the actual playing aspect. Still, drawing similarities in terms of the motivation behind the... choice of content will be made by most. Fast forward to 2015 and two PlayStation Vita spin-offs later, the proper number-two, released late last year on Nintendo 3DS in Japan, lands in Europe today and is set to invade North America next month.

Things remain very much the same from the first game, as the good and evil Shinobi cross swords once again over a story backed by themes of camaraderie, courage, perseverance, tolerance... and, naturally, of girls liking to touch or be touched by each other's breasts for some reason, a theme the Japanese seem to enjoy quite a bit, if the frequency at which it pops up in manga and anime is anything to go by. Ten playable characters from two rival Shinobi schools brawl against one another, with some more becoming available as the game progresses, while in the background some villain is trying to use both schools' students for his own devices of resurrecting a great evil by using those warriors' blood. The story is interesting enough, for a beat 'em up, anyway, to get things going and keep the player involved and interested in what's going on. This, combined with the very much obvious busts of the ladies involved, will be more than enough motivation to get most pressing through and learning the basics, which while not complicated to get into, requires going through a time of adaptation if new to the series. The prologue chapter of the story does introduce some basic elements of gameplay through on-screen hints, however, the more involving and complex parts thereof will require a compulsory stop by the training field, something the game doesn't recommend enough, but this mode does a really good job of explaining everything that needs to be understood so to be eased into the way things work.

The combo system has seen an overhaul compared to the first release. At its core, much is still the same, as the Y button chains light attacks, while the X button chains heavy ones. Different chains are possible depending on what character is used, and new, more complex chains of inputs, air- or ground-based, unlock as the character gains levels through experience collected by defeating lots of enemies. All possible combos are permanently displayed on the bottom screen, which is highly convenient as the story will constantly switch playable characters between chapters. Therefore, a quick look at the touch screen offers a useful reminder. Other elements are still in place, like the Shinobi Transformation, requiring one ninja scroll and changing the outfit of the character into another of the player's choosing while allowing the use of Secret Ninja Arts, which also use ninja-scrolls collected either as pick-up items on the field, or from chaining combos on enemies. The Yin Yang gauges are now gone, favouring a simple single Ninja Art gauge. When completely filled, with ninja scrolls maxed out, it still allows the use of Frantic mode, in which the character strips to minimal clothing and goes all out, trading defence and seeing her health continuously decreasing - although it recharges somewhat as enemies are defeated - in exchange for massive damage, extra speed, infinite Secret Ninja Arts and no staggering from enemy attacks. The latter mode ends when the current group of enemy is completely defeated.

Screenshot for Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson on Nintendo 3DS

What is new to this episode, however, is the pair battles. Indeed, two characters get to brawl at the same time and chain combos together, introducing more new mechanics, such as switching between one and the other, dodging enemy attacks in the process, or combined Secret Ninja Arts that unleash the most devastating attacks. Those require both characters to have at least three ninja scrolls but the resulting damage is well worth the sacrifice if possible, not to mention a close-up in stereoscopic 3D of not one, but TWO big pairs of gyrating jubblies! If used while Frantic is active, both characters will come out of that mode, since, otherwise, being able to use infinite Secret Ninja Arts would make things ridiculously easy. If one or both characters are defeated, as in their health bar is emptied, running up to them and pressing A revives them, but every time this is done in one given battle, the energy they regain from it is lesser. If the active character gets down to zero though, it's Game Over, so switching between characters, à la Marvel vs. Capcom, when one gets too low might prove necessary, especially in the later stages or on the higher difficulty settings. This adds more depth to the gameplay than in the first episode. Story missions will usually force gamers to either use two or only one character, depending on the scenario, as they are played for the first time but once they are completed, it's possible to replay them in either way.

Naturally, allowing two characters on the field of battle at the same time, it could be wondered whether it's possible for a second player to control that character. The answer is simply, "Yes!" Local, and even online, co-operative multiplayer are included this time around. It's possible to play in co-op through the story, as well as a new mode, called Yôma's Nest, with someone else either via local communication or over the Internet. Local requires both players to own a copy of the game, though, as download play is not an available option. Playing over the Internet is a very classical affair. Creating an open room and waiting for others to join, setting the desired level of the opponent, and choosing the mission in the process, or simply join someone who created one of their own. It does not appear to be possible to limit the rooms displayed to friends only, however, whoever creates a room can lock it with a password, allowing friends to still find each other and play together without strangers lurking.

Screenshot for Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson on Nintendo 3DS

Limited communication through pre-set sentences while in the lobby is possible, but no voice chat or quick phrases are available in the thick of battle, sadly, making working together and chaining things a bit harder than might otherwise be imagined. The online mode, although seemingly accessible before launch, appeared completely void of any other combatants, so it was not possible to try it out in time for this review, sadly. Therefore, it's impossible at time of writing to say how laggy the online might be or even how the game will react to two human players fighting waves of enemies at the same time, as far as the frame-rate goes. However, it shouldn't perform much worse than when the CPU controls the second character.

Speaking of frame-rate, a clear area of concern with the first game, it is quite fluid and stable in 2D mode, and mostly fine during battle when 3D is activated, although some minor dips are noticeable when things get too crowded or hectic, but nothing game breaking. A big effort clearly went into ironing this out after the debacle over the performance of the first title. The frame-rate really does take a noticeable hit in 3D mode while in the ninja room, basically an immersive take on a game's main menu, as well as when admiring the character models in the dress room, which lets the player choose poses and expressions and make one or two girls pose for pictures over still backgrounds, saving them to the SD card. This was probably a trade-off hard to avoid on the ageing hardware of the original 3DS as the game tries its best to produce deliciously detailed character models (the main draw lest anyone forget), as well as the much hyped "improved breast physics."

It is also worth noting that this one plays somewhere more in the middle between the original and Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus on PlayStation Vita as the areas in which fights take place are more open and less restricted to a side-scrolling plane. It looks indeed less like a 2.5D side-scrolling beat 'em up this time and more like a fully 3D one. However, the view is still sort of locked in position for lack of a second joystick on the stock 3DS but the whole thing looks more dynamic than in Senran Kagura: Burst. Some boss areas can be quite large and detailed compared to its predecessor, making for a nice improvement.

Screenshot for Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson on Nintendo 3DS

The Circle Pad Pro and, by extension, the C-Stick of the New 3DS, are supported but their use is restricted to slightly zooming in on the action during battles and moving the character model around in the dressing room - nothing too sorely missed for owners of the original 3DS or XL models, not to mention that the added bulk does make mashing the face buttons during battles quite uncomfortable for those with small hands.

Already, additions over the first game seem aplenty but things do not stop there. The aforementioned Yôma's Nest mode pits people - in solo, pair, or via online or local co-op - in a dungeon with 14 floors, each higher difficulty, with an increasing amount of possible rooms on each floor. Certain rooms, if cleared, reward with unlockable weapons that can be equipped on the characters but only bring cosmetic changes and deal no extra damage. It's possible to pick up from right after any cleared rooms if the player dies. This mode allows for levelling up, yet the experience obtained can only be retained if retiring before the end or beating one of the many rooms on the 14th floor. Indeed, dying reduces the obtained experience to only a small fraction of what it would otherwise be. Lastly, another mode called "Special Mission" allows the tackling of missions with very specific conditions, such as "only ground-based attacks deal damage," which reward with Shinobi stones that can be equipped in addition to weapons. These grant ability or stat bonuses to the girls who equip them and three of those can be equipped at the same time and combined for the best effect depending on the strategy used, adding even more depth to the gameplay.

Last, but certainly not least, heaps of optional elements come to nail things down even further, such as a complete bestiary, StreetPass integration, game stats, audio, picture, and video galleries unlocking as the game goes on, as well as lots of alternative outfits and accessories to customise the young misses, and even augmented reality integration using the 3DS AR card to make the pretties pop-up on top of anyone's desk in any suggestive position desired. Then there is the promise of DLC on the horizon, following the Japanese release of the title. Already, those with save data from Senran Kagura Burst are promised an unlockable extra character in Murasame, who will otherwise be paid DLC later on for others, so all future fans will no doubt be graced with more playable characters and missions. All of this amounts to a well polished package that outshines its predecessor - an already fine game in its own right - in almost every way. The heaps of content, game modes and options, great visuals, and audio, all help make this product one that definitely plays in a higher league than Senran Kagura Burst.

Screenshot for Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is a very competent brawler, with numerous refinements over its predecessor and a lot more content, making it the better game overall, by far. Just because it has big jugs all over the place, moving hypnotically before the eyes of those in control, doesn't mean that the underlying experience isn't enjoyable in its own right, although arguably bosoms are a big draw and the brawler in itself does not revolutionise anything enough to make it an absolute go-to for the genre. Nevertheless, it's still right up there among the finest. The environments are a bit more interesting and varied this time around than before, game modes are in abundance, and the icing on the cake is by far the multiplayer mode, local or over the Internet, which allows two players to play co-operatively. All-in-all, a great romp that improves upon its predecessor on many levels, making it feel more fleshed out and, undoubtedly, a guilty but shameless pleasure to lots of guys out there as the many ways to dress and stare at the pretty girls on offer will add to the overall enjoyment!

Developer

Tamsoft

Publisher

Marvelous

Genre

Brawler

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

terence (guest) 27.08.2015#1

A big lot of Bytes to download. Deleted loads of demos etc for this one, but too much for my 4GB card. Got 32GB card on order. Not seen hard copy yet.

I'm always glad to read a review of a game like this that actually goes into the gameplay - in this case the improvements made over the original - instead of going on about the subject matter like this piece of preview gold here.

It has really worked to the first game's advantage, though. The 'controversy' gave it a lot of free media attention, which was a huge benefit for a game in a genre that's not very common in the form of a retail-size game nowadays. Potential buyers didn't care what some outraged journalists were trying to feed them, so Senran Kagura actually found an audience outside of Japan. I quite enjoyed Senran Kagura Burst despite some of its flaws, so I'm very happy they've been working on improvements to the overall game instead of just relying on some more life and hometown to sell the game for them.

I've imported a physical copy of Shinovi Versus when it came out and pre-ordered a physical copy of this one as well but since I'm a scrub with a huge backlog that insists on playing lengthy RPGs and other time sinks all the damn time I've yet to touch Shinovi Versus so it'll be a good while until I can get to this one.

Our member of the week

terence (guest) said:
A big lot of Bytes to download. Deleted loads of demos etc for this one, but too much for my 4GB card. Got 32GB card on order. Not seen hard copy yet.

Yeah, even though I have a 16GB card personally, it still wasn't enough with all the content i already have on it. Had to make all the demos disappear, Castlevania Mirror of Fate which I have on cartridge as well anyway, and the 3DS guide to the Louvre which was just sitting there and not being used, and finally I had enough space freed up for this one. It's a hefty download for sure.

SirLink said:
I'm always glad to read a review of a game like this that actually goes into the gameplay - in this case the improvements made over the original - instead of going on about the subject matter like this piece of preview gold here.

Oh boy, is that Official Nintendo Magazine? Because I read somewhere else that they had treated the game that way, I hadn't actually seen the preview for myself, just heard that it was that kind of talk. So is that it huh?

EDIT: I'm stupid, there's the URL to their website in the corner of the page before, so yeah, that's the famed article I had heard about. And they dare call themselves professional journalists Smilie

( Edited 27.08.2015 22:25 by RudyC3 )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

terence (guest) said:
A big lot of Bytes to download. Deleted loads of demos etc for this one, but too much for my 4GB card. Got 32GB card on order. Not seen hard copy yet.

Try here. Only place to get a physical copy, as far as I know in UK. Still a couple of editions left.

RudyC3 said:

SirLink said:
I'm always glad to read a review of a game like this that actually goes into the gameplay - in this case the improvements made over the original - instead of going on about the subject matter like this piece of preview gold here.

Oh boy, is that Official Nintendo Magazine? Because I read somewhere else that they had treated the game that way, I hadn't actually seen the preview for myself, just heard that it was that kind of talk. So is that it huh?


This is just their preview of this game, based on absolutely nothing because it's just been announced back then. They called for a boycott of Senran Kagura Burst when that came out, with quotes such as these:
Senran Kagura is one of the worst types of game around. It's insulting to the intelligence of gamers, damaging to the reputation of the industry, and alienating and harmful to women (both inside and outside the gaming community and industry). So, do yourself, and the wider community a favour: don't read articles about its release. Try not to Youtube it. Avoid reviews. And certainly don't buy it.

It's still so amusing that the writer caused the exact opposite of their goal because that controversial review got it a lot of attention. Smilie

( Edited 27.08.2015 22:32 by SirLink )

Our member of the week

Hehe, indeed, it is amusing Smilie. To me personally, before you judge a game, you should actually try it out and not dismiss it completely. This one at least I can say is great and totally deserves the score. yeah, it had lots of boobies all over the place, but below the fleshy surface, there's also a great game in its own right. Obviously everyone is gonna talk about the mammary glands XD, but how about the game inside? That's how I went about it, all the more since I was not familiar with the series before trying this one out. Besides, I can't enjoy a game just because it has this sort of content in it or flashy visuals, I need some actually good gameplay, valuable content, something engaging about it that keeps me coming back for more. At the end of the day, dismissing the tits and bums, I still found all of the aforementioned inside, so better talk about that and not focus on what anybody else could tell at first glance XD.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

Let me guess, that writer was a woman...? Just sounds like someone offended by the concept of big boobs. I wonder how they scored DoA on 3DS? Or if they ever covered Doki Doki Majo Shinpan?

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Our member of the week

Adam Riley said:
Let me guess, that writer was a woman...? Just sounds like someone offended by the concept of big boobs. I wonder how they scored DoA on 3DS? Or if they ever covered Doki Doki Majo Shinpan?

lol, you brought up that DS game again XD ? Guess it really left its mark on you Smilie. Maybe that one was never even mentioned due to the fact it was far too Japanese and had no chance of ever coming out of its country of origin.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer
terence (guest) 28.08.2015#9

Just to add that Official Nintendo Magazine is unfortunately no longer with us.

Adam Riley said:
Let me guess, that writer was a woman...? Just sounds like someone offended by the concept of big boobs.

actually lots of male gaming journalists have transformed into white knights. Take a look at the vast majority of Dragon's Crown reviews. Yeah, because we haven't solved the problem of world hunger, we haven't found a way to end wars, but we will certainly save the world from the Sorceress' bouncing boobies!!!

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

RudyC3 said:

lol, you brought up that DS game again XD ? Guess it really left its mark on you Smilie. Maybe that one was never even mentioned due to the fact it was far too Japanese and had no chance of ever coming out of its country of origin.

It's the best example I can think of Smilie
Ofisil said:

actually lots of male gaming journalists have transformed into white knights. Take a look at the vast majority of Dragon's Crown reviews. Yeah, because we haven't solved the problem of world hunger, we haven't found a way to end wars, but we will certainly save the world from the Sorceress' bouncing boobies!!!

Bouncing boobs are indeed dangerous. I've nearly walked into many a lamp post because of them... Smilie
Guest said:
Well its nice to know this is a huge improvement over the original which was tres boring in the story department and made dynasty warriors look dynamic in its combat. How does it compare to bayonetta 2?

The first one, for me, almost had a Tales feel to the battles. Or am I way off base there?

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Our member of the week

Well personally I only played the demo of Bayonetta 2 and was struggling a lot with the controls. And as far as Dynasty Warriors games go, I only played Hyrule Warriors but never struggled with the controls in that one. Senran Kagura 2 for me plays closer to the Warriors games, in how clear it is about chaining button inputs. I felt the vibe of Hyrule Warriors in the controls yet found a bit more depth, due to super attacks (here secret ninja arts) working a bit different. I had not trouble getting to grips with the basic input chaining, which is kind of like Hyrule Warriors, but understanding the ins and outs of secret ninja arts, how they work, understanding frantic mode and what can be done with it, in pair battles or in solo, etc... all that didn't click right away, and required a compulsory stop by the training field for me, but once that was digested in a few minutes and put into practice, I was good to go, not to mention that every character truly feels unique. One will use a set of three different weapons and can switch between them in battle (mace-like umbrella, machine-gun and a third one I can't remember off the top of my head), another one will have like its own fury mode that unlocks a totally different combo chaining grid to its normal mode, another one will be more plain heavy stuff with a large sword, etc etc. In that sense, every character felt more different from one another to me, much much more so than in Hyrule Warriors, so there's definitely depth. But it's not any more dynamic than Hyrule Warriors perhaps, that much is true. It's nowhere near as hectic as Bayonetta 2. But for me, that made it more enjoyable, cause I didn't really enjoy what little of Bayonetta 2 I played. So I guess it all depends on what floats your boat best.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer
JR (guest) 18.09.2015#13

Nailed it. This is a proper review that doesn't get affected by fanservice elements when making judgement.

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