Review – Senran Kagura

I was in Okayama when Senran Kagura released on September 22nd. Unfortunately, the game was already sold out by the time I arrived at the local Bic Camera. After having finished Dead or Alive Dimensions, my 3DS was already collecting dust. Still curious about Senran Kagura, I stopped by the import game shop.

A gaming UFO like Senran Kagura must needs to be identified : it’s in fact a BTA with RPG elements (levels, stats, XP). The various missions are quite repetitive and only the boss battle bring a little variety. Similarly, the gameplay is not as deep as you can expect since you have only 2 or 3 combos per character (but you do have 5 characters from the start). Adding to this, Senran Kagura is rather easy. Even the bosses don’t put up much of a fight, let alone regular missions. It can’t help thinking it would much more interesting if the use of special attacks was a bit more limited.

So, did I waste those 70€? No, or I wouldn’t be writing this. The character design is attractive and reinforced by the most beautiful anime-style graphics on a handheld (and maybe ever). On the musical side, Senran Kagura is also excellent : the mix between classic Japanese music and modern genres fits perfectly to the game. The one you can hear during the battle vs Mirai is even one of my favorite game music ever. But beyond that, Senran Kagura is also excellent at what it does : fan-service. You do have a lot of eh… how to say this… hum…. well type Senran Kagura on Youtube and you’ll understand soon enough! Paradoxically, the story and the dialogs feel really serious despite being naïve at times. It’s sometimes even brilliant and moving, because it refuses Manicheism and features the idea that bad guy aren’t necessarily bad guy, but merely opposing people with their own reason to fight. However good, the scenario is not that important to play the game, so you can probably pick it even if you don’t read Japanese. Oh sorry, I forgot! You can’t : Nintendo region-locked the system…

In short, Senran Kagura is neither a good game nor a bad one. I just found it highly addicting for some reason (well, you probably get the reason…). I’d rather think it’s decent game for otakus but with some room for improvement, hopefully in a richer sequel.

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