Just to remind you, Senran Kagura is a 3DS series that has been kinda taken over by Sony, in the same fashion Nintendo got Bayonetta 2 for WiiU. Senran Kagura Shinobi Versus thus comes to Japanese Vitas… and consequently yours!
The sudden shift to full 3D gameplay is not without problems : you have to re-learn everything. Bosses are now super agressive and won’t hesitate to chain long combos immediately followed by their 秘伝忍法 (special ninpo), to the extend that it is at times difficult to stand back up. It is therefore crucial to master guard and parry, but the latter is not as efficient as it is in Metal Gear Rising for example. Because of that, the best option is often to run away and engage the enemy from a distance. Ditto for the lock which has you touch the target on the touchscreen, because you can hardly free one hand to do so. Finally and much like MGR, the action is fast and camera has a hard time following. In short, a more nervous gameplay with diminished precision.
It’s just too bad the difficulty settings should keep being so poor. The first Senran Kagura was quite easy to beat, while Senran Kagura Burst was an interesting challenge during chapter 5. Shinobi Versus is again fairly easy, and for a rather stupid reason : you gain XP too fast. The good news is that there is now a difficult mode, but it’s so fu** hard that it requires a long time grinding. The game lacks something in-between that would have allowed the player to experience the main story better. Let’s also point out that EVERY mission includes a boss fight.
The devs went wild on the ecchi side of things in this epsiode. Adding to kinky touchscreen options in the changing room (which actually remains the most exquisite I’ve seen on the platform) , outfits now have up to six levels of tearing, which may lead to nudity (with blurry effect on sensitive parts).
Shinobi Versus illustrates the difference in power between Vita and 3DS : it has far nicer graphics and superior animation. Cel-shading is a perfect and it’s a real pleasure for your eyes. 奥義 (special attacks) are splendid and classy, I definitely can’t have enough of it. On the other hand, shadows are very poor and the game slows time to time. That said, the 3DS versions that were pretty advanced for the system look like a rough sketch next to Shinobi Versus (while still being nice games overall). Musics are discreet, but some of them are inspired. In terms of pure content, this Vita iteration adds 2 ninja schools, 10 characters which makes 22 with returning ones, new game modes, trophies and countless outfits & accesories. Consider that Shinobi Versus is roughly 4 times as rich as the first Senran Kagura.
The story keeps the balance between serious themes and (very) basic japanese humor. As it was the case before, the various stories are of unequal interest but some do entertain. The destiny of certains characters draws you in the story, and this newest game tells more about events that occured in the previous stories (you come to know what a «Kagura» is, for example). It won’t matters for most people though, because the level of Japanese required is atrociously high. You see words that hardly appear outside of Japanese libraries (edit : that is no more a problem now!).
Senran Kagura Shinobi Versus truly is the ultimate version we hoped for. Boosted by the power of the PSVita, it is far richer and polished than the 3DS ones. You nevertheless have to hold some interest for kinky games to disregard the drawbacks in gameplay.