Most anticipated games of 2018

Fate Extella Link (PS4/PSVita)


How great to see Marvelous keeping Vita version for Fate Extella Link ! PS4 version obviously getting a huge graphical overhaul, it was far from guaranteed. But yes, we’ll be able to fight for the holy Grail in cross-play, with new fun or classy characters like cute Astolfo or sexy Sacthach. There’s even a full Mah-Jong game in the limited edition !!

Girls und Panzers Dream Tank Match (PS4)


Girls und Panzers on PSVita already being a good adaptation, I’m looking forward to experiencing the same sensations in a prettier, smoother and richer PS4 entry. Girls und Panzers Dream Tank Match features all the characters, all the tanks and all the battles from the movie, all this also in multiplayer.

Sword Art Online Fatal Bullet (PS4)


At long last ! Three years… I’ve been waiting 3 years for an SAO game taking place in the fantastic universe of Gun Gale Online, featured in the Phantom Bullet arc. I’m gonna be able to SNIPE at will as Shinon or the original avatar. Because Bamco finally understood that the player wants maximum choice : you’ll have Kirito and his friends plus an original character to create yourself, who’s gonna have its own story. Artworks looks extremely promising and multiplayer should be implemented again. It’s time for SAO to be back on top.

Senran Kagura Burst Renewal (PS4)


Thanks to Senran Kagura Burst Renewal, we’ll almost be able to wipe the series history clean of Nintendo systems. The founding game telling the story of the first two ninja schools is being remade for PS4 in splendid 3D and 60 fps, with redesigned menus.

Shining Resonance Refrain (PS4)

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Clearly no one expected Shining Resonance to show up again. And when you think it’s coming back with a whole new scenario in which you have Jenuis and Excella from the start, the hype goes high ! The story would need to be re-written entirely, and I’m curious to see how.

Death End Request (PS4)


Compile Heart is in dire straits. Sales keep dwindling, new ideas and skillfullness lack clearly. Their last hope is Nanameda Kei, Compile’s new star illustrator, and the Galapagos RPG team. Taking place in an MMORPG from where the heroine Shiina cannot escape, Death End Request seems to be the innovative and deep title the company needs, not to mention it respects Compile’s spirit.

Caligula Overdose (PS4)


Yet another remaster with additional content, but this one is interesting : adding to new friends and foes, Caligula Overdose includes an “if story” in which you’re gonna side with the opposing gakushi, and explore their personalities as you did for your allies.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 (PS4)

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Was it all a bad dream ? I kind remember playing a failed Action-RPG called Valkyria one year ago… Yeah, that was surely a dream. Valkyria Chronicles, the real one, is coming back like it has ever been, in an episode featuring the missions of the Atlantic Federation (you know, the diplomats trying to lure you in the first game) against the Empire in snowy lands. Game system, battle system… everything is inherited from the original Valkyria Chronicles (they understood that it was better not to change anything) and characters seem charismatic. This means a big 14’000¥ collector’s edition for me.

Soul Calibur VI (PS4)

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SoulCalibur’s return was sure desired, but less expected. But still we’re gonna be able to cross swords a 6th time. Namco has mention some ideas about reboot and “simplicity”. Quite not what I want to hear but they did a good job with Tekken, so that should go well…

Catherine Full Body (PS4/PSVita)


This wasn’t expected either, even less on PSVita. Thanks to that handheld version, I’ll be able to experience that strange dating/puzzle game. Vincent, a unresolved young man, spends his days in a bar where a girl called Catherine tries to seduce him. During the night, Vincent is trapped in his dreams, in which he must escape by climbing a sort of Jenga tower ! A clear UFO that will be perfect for commuting.

13 Sentinels Aegis Rim (PS4/PSVita)


Let’s say it again, 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim has the potential to become the next 2D adventure masterpiece thanks to its incomparable atmosphere. A handful of high-schoolers must act before and after the end of the world, helped by strange mechas. With time and choice parameters, it looks absolutely outstanding.

Final Fantasy XV (PS4)


Final Fantasy XV development is going smoothly according to SquareEnix, who publishes Active Time Reports on a regular basis.There will be an early access version on PC in a few weeks, with only 4 playable characters (not the best ones). Probably SquareEnix will polish the game at this occasion, before hopefully giving all the information on the final version.

Zanki Zero (PS4/PSVita)

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Quite austere Survival-RPG, Zanki Zero was back at TGS with new interesting hints. As developers had already shown, the characters should age, and there seem to be some strange resurrection mechanic… Well, the fate of those 8 survivalists is still shrouded in mystery.

The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel IV (PS4)


Trails of Cold Steel IV is a nightmare for Western fans of The Legend of Heroes (you, actually). The first pictures are potential huge spoilers about Trails of Cold Steel III and they’re being shared everywhere in the world as we speak. But of course, for me and Japanese fans, those informations are highly valuable for knowing what to expect.

Granblue Fantasy Re-link (PS4)

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The gameplay video of Granblue Fantasy Relink surprised pretty much everyone. No one expected such high end graphics and exciting action. We should have though, because the people behind this are the geniuses of Platinum Games. Although the talented developer seem to stay on Nintendo’s side, we’ll gladly take such epic heroic-fantasy, especially since it will be in VR too.

I’m also waiting for Persona 5 Dancing Star Night (PS4/PSVita), Persona 3 Dancing Moon Night (PS4/PSVita), Project Lux (PSVR), Ace Combat 7 (PS4), Dissidia Final Fantasy NT (PS4), Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4), Ni no Kuni II Revenant Kingdom (PS4), Code Vein (PS4), Senran Kagura 7EVEN (PS4), World End Syndrome (PSVita) and Bullet Girls Phantasia (PS4/PSVita).


Review – Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash

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Those who follow Kenichirô Takaki on twitter know that Marvelous’s star producer is a big fan of western FPS. Despite being busy on its own projects, he still saves some time to play Call of Duty, Battlefield and the likes. From there, merging that interest with the Senran Kagura series was only a question of time, and here we are with Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash.

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The beginning is worryingly similar to Senran Kagura Estival Versus : the girls from the four shinobi schools suddenly get warped on some island paradise, where they are asked to compete against each other. Yes, that’s the second time in a row that the scenario writer comes up with some old tournament coming from nowhere… The teachers Kiria and Suzune are in charge of the commentary (in a hilarious way) of that strange competition in which the heroines will face each other using… water guns! To be frank, the five storylines felt anecdotal and the story in whole is once again quite meaningless. Nothing like the first episodes of the series, but with such a wierd main topic, building a serious narrative seems contradictory. It’s very clear (and logic) that the devs whould keep a light-hearted tone while trying an unnatural genre.

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The story still has some merits as it announces major changes in the timeline : central characters seem about to leave their respective groups, with very interesting perspectives, and others like Ayame officially join as main characters. Certain side stories are still lot of fun, like the now famous Ryôbi/Ryôna duo who never run out of ideas in their SM relationship. The way the story is told is still modest (simple dialog and plain text) despite being once more nicely illustrated. The narrative is slim and maybe the producer was aware of that, because Senran Kagura 7 is cleverly teased at the end and we can now expect the story focus to be back.

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The solo mode is composed with several storylines corresponding to each faction. Those mini-stories are themselves divided into short missions where you have to beat larges group of robots, other characters or an entire opposing team. The player has 4 life bars so as to withstand entire matches in which water is coming from all directions. Yet the normal mode is piece of cake and you’ll prefer hard or ultra-hard to enjoy it more : IA becomes a lot more aggressive, asking you to be fast and precise. Ally IA is a lot less satisfying as it’s totally erratic. They can sometimes clear the mission on their own, but in other stages you’ll have revive them constantly.

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While standard missions can feel tedious, this episode introduces bosses at lot more interesting and innovate than ever in the series. Those objectives are hard and make an intense and rewarding end for each storyline. You’ll have to fight giant robots, some in limited time, but there’s also a cool Easter Egg to the anime as you’ll be facing a giant Ryôna bathing. Last but not least, the final boss is absolutely glorious : fun, with crazy music and behavior, it makes the best use of the wacky side of the game.

Basic gameplay is voluntarily close to your average western shooter : you aim, fire and jump with the same buttons. No problem for players used to FPS or for anyone for that matter, it’s thoroughly intuitive to play. Like in any competitive shooter, Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash gives you the choice between a lot of weapons of various fire(water?)power, reach or firing rate. Again, it’s like any FPS out there so everybody can enjoy the game in its own playstyle, at close, mid or long range. The double jump being quite vigorous, you can achieve impressive aerials with the sniper rifle.

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The gameplay is based on aim assist, which can seem childish at first, but is justified by the very fast pace of the matches, where opponents’ moves are a lot more unpredictable than in Battlefield or Call of Duty. The jet pack for example allows you to go through the map at astonishing speed. Very clearly, players would spend their time missing with just manual aim. The focus is non stop action from the first second to the last, and it works pretty well : camping is useless, everybody has to move to get some points.

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But aim assist is no auto-aim and you’ll need to be careful to fire from a correct angle, otherwise you’ll just be throwing water into the air. Water storage is limited, so you have to refill liquid like you’d change ammo, making you vulnerable. You’ll therefore look for the scarce cover points to do so, or do it while jumping which accelerate the refill. In short and despite the new type of game, Senran Kagura keeps its dynamic gameplay.

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Adding to weapons, the game will ask you to prepare a deck of cards. This TGC is in fact a transformed version of the smartphone game Senran Kagura New Wave, the rules of which being adapted to Marvelous’s TPS. After each mission, you’ll receive a booster pack including several cards with a chance to get super rare ones. Exactly like how you’d by a booster pack in reality, in fact. There are several types with various effects : protecting/healing yourself, attacking opponents, boost your stats or hinder enemies’ actions. The diversity of those effects adds a little strategy in matches like you’d find in Call of Duty.

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The cards can be reused after a short cooling time. You can therefore use your entire deck several times in one match. And for the first time, you’ll be happy to get duplicates since all extra cards will be transformed in experience points and allow you to boost your characters’ HP and the weapons’ power. With a total of 821 different cards, the collection is vast and can keep you busy for some time. The only drawback of this system is that sometimes the cards are more efficient than shooting, which is contradictory to the central idea of the game.

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Senran Kagura being what it is, the competition will deliver its deal of risqué scenes. The kune kune finish replaces the puru puru finish in Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash : it’s about sprinkling water at maximum pressure on a KO girl to take off one part of her bikini. The game doesn’t falter on the fan-service it wants to deliver, and also the kinky angles of the defeat poses. Costume break is still on the menu, and now you have a selection of costumes that can get wet to see through them.

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Among the good surprises, you can now who you want to see as shop clerk in the in-game costume & accessory shop. The amount of fan-service clearly doesn’t disappoint, even though it’s less varied than in the previous game, and graphics & animation benefit from the PS4 exclusivity (richer animation and far more effects on the screen).

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The Georama allows you to make very fun, cute, but also very hot scenes thanks to the numerous poses and accessories. But the changing room mode is where we come to miss PSVita as the touching loses all the fun despite the fresh sprinkling.

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Like any shooter, Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash include online multiplayer. There are two main parts : cooperation and competition. The survival mode can unite up to six players who’ll have to protect bases against 50 enemy waves. It gets real hard at wave 30, so you’d better build solid teamplay to repel increasingly resistant foes. That’s when you can take advantage of the nure power-up : when allies splash you, you can benefit from an aura that allows you to fire (water?) at will without the need of refilling.

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In competitive ranked matches, the multiplayer get a lot less fun. Battles are 5 vs 5 players and include domination, team deathmatch and now capture the flag. The problem is that everyone has lvl 10 characters and weapons, so you don’t stand a chance unless you’ve grinded quite some time in solo play. Maps are rather tiny and movement very fast, so it gets very confusing most of the time, making it difficult to achieve anything. Weapon and card balance is still wobbly, so it’s not as accessible as the producer promised. Matchmaking isn’t very effective, taking long minutes to find players. Finally, lag is still bothering on 1.07, thing that didn’t happen in Estival Versus. So the competitive side isn’t living up to today’s FPS standards.

Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash was a risky project giving its unexpected genre, but Kenichirô Takaki manages to establish a wonderful compromise between TPS and the Senran Kagura spirit. Despite the poor story, the successful conciliation of lavish fan service, fast-paced gameplay, high-end visuals and traditional TPS features guarantees a lot of fun for series fans. A shame that the multiplayers remains a half-full glass, but solo play has everything you need for enjoyment.

Most anticipated games for 2017

Valkyria Azure Revolution (PSVita)


I’ve been waiting for it a lot more politely” since the horrendous Autumn demo. The Action-RPG focus that has been reconfirmed doesn’t fit with Valkyria’s universe, and the battle system itself is fishy at best. Yet the prologue on PSVita was a little more satisfying, so maybe we can end up with a decent RPG of cool design.

Cyberdimension Neptune (PS4)


The moment of truth for the Neptunia IP. Compile Heart took more than 1 year to think, work and offer us a game powered by Unreal Engine 4, which is a visual revolution. Still, little is known is this Action-RPG taking place in a MMORPG itself. We don’t know how the developers have calibrated fan-service and innovation, two key-elements to drive the series forward. The producers made very clear promises not to disappoint fans, so they better stick to it and avoid bland compromises this time.

NieR Automata (PS4)


The demo was exactly what I expect from this game : precise and rich gameplay, Platinum touch in the camera work, an attractive main character, a intriguing world… March can’t come soon enough.

Nights of Azure 2 (PS4)


Not especially a high priority until a few weeks ago, Gust’s next game suddenly made itself indispensable by its latest video. The least you could say is that there’s quite some “movement” here… Gameplay also looks like to benefit from dramatic improvements as the tag battle system seems quite lively with lots of charming allies. The developer was undoubtely right to postpone it.

Musô Stars (PSVita/PS4)


How not to be excited when the spiritual successor to the excellent Orochi Warriors 3 Ultimate is almost within reach? For the first time, KoeiTecmo picks characters in all their IPs for a single action game. We’re therefore gonna be able to ease our stress on dozens of ennemies with unexpected dream teams involving Plachta, Oka, Kasumi or Marie-Rose to cite a few.

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Already called Splatoon PEGI18 by some, the sequel to Senran Kagura Estival Versus trades ninja weapons for water guns, in which you have fancy models like snipers. Takaki-san likes it wet (well, wet cute girls at least) and promise to deliver aquatic entertainment with a few surprises here and there.

Gun Gun Pixies (PSVita)


While the general feeling of Cyberdimension Neptune remains shrouded in mystery, Compile Heart’s new PSVita exclusive is very clear from the start. Part of all the nice projects lately, Kochiwa producer presents a game close to action Netpunia U, with some novelty in the plot. You play as two very tiny alien girls whose mission is to infiltrate a girls’ domitory, which means a lot of private life scenes.

Blue Reflection (PS4)


Boasting Gust’s most advanced 3D engine to date, Blue Reflection comes at us as a turn-based RPG featuring magical girls fighting dark demons. Like Persona 5, there will be lot of emphasis on spending time with classmates (including a clone of Hifumi, in a somewhat younger self).

Dungeon Travelers 2-2 (PSVita)


Only game that ever had me shut down a handheld system in a hurry while I was commuting, Dungeon Travelers 2 had to reconfirm its direct sequel. It’s now official and the base scenario should keep providing juicy situations : the main character of the first game, Freid, has lot to the final boss and was turned into a insolent young boy. All the girls of the previous game have turned into demonic women. Let your imagination do the rest.

Wipeout Omega Collection (PS4)


Quite nostalgic of the legendary futuristic racing game, the reveal of this ultimate collection at Playstation Experience was pure delight. I can’t wait to compete again on board those distinguished little ships for more speed, violent weapons and cool techno music.

Legend of Heroes Sen no Kiseki III (PS4)


Falcom will need to be particularly clever if they want to justify Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel III as a PS4 exclusive. Graphics are barely sharper so no one will believe that a Vita version wasn’t possible at this point. Despite Altina’s already confirmed return, believe me that I’ll be extra harsh on this.

Final Fantasy XV (PS4)


Yes, I’m still waiting for Final Fantasy XV. The game released end of November isn’t FFXV, because it fails to comply with basic rules of FF. No choice but to wait until Hajime Tabata fixes his mess by eventually offering a more compelling experience, with an enhanced narrative and more playable characters.

Dragon Quest XI (PS4)


While FFXV has seen rampant westernization, Dragon Quest XI is so faithful to its roots that I’d want to hug it. Here’s what I call a JRPG cast with varied styles of characters, and the first trailer clearly shows it will remain true to its genre.

I’m also eager for Ni no Kuni Revenant Kingdom (PS4), Gran Turismo Sport (PS4), Itadaki Street (PSVita), Tekken 7 (PS4), Gravity Daze 2 (PS4), Happy Manager (PS4), Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4).

Review – Senran Kagura Estival Versus

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After its failed return on 3DS, the busty Senran Kagura series is back to Playstation, where its customers are. And for first time, it’s not a portable-only game anymore because it also comes to your living room with a PS4 version.

While Senran Kagura Shinobi Versus was a lot more than a mere spin-off, this Senran Kagura Estival Versus has indeed no pretension to tell a story whatsoever. The 20 characters of the previous PSVita game are warped on a paradisaical island where the four schools will compete in what is called Kagura Sennensai, a very ancient ceremony aimed at appeasing the soul of departed ninjas. At stake, no less than the title of Kagura, the ultimate goal of any Kunoichi. That said, this particular setting is rarely used and developed even less in the various chapters, which are nothing but an excuse for sexy battles between girls. The only genuine narrative involves Ryôbi and Ryôna : the sisters from Senran Kagura Shinobi Versus will meet their older sister Ryôki again, since she’s been resurrected for the time of the festival.

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Which leaves nothing but the traditional humor of the series, but all along the 8 chapters it is seriously getting old and redundant. Besides, the narrative style finds its limits as the storyline is clearly lacking. To many sequences are still told on a black screen, so the visual novel style really fails in that new episode. One example : one of those text sequences depict the battle between Yumi and Kurokage (who also has been resurrected). Wouldn’t it have been better to set an actual battle and let the player experience it firsthand ? Another big hole, the sub-story of the Mikagura three sisters, told with small episodes here and there, does not come to a conclusion (update : there’s a hint in the last DLC). It’s pretty clear that Marvelous has decided to empty this game of any credible narrative to give Playstation players the short end of the stick in that aspect and ensure the primacy of the main series, which could very well head for NX next. This is UNACCEPTABLE! WE are by far the main clients of the Senran Kagura IP, we should be entitled to EVERYTHING.

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In terms of gameplay however, the series is taking a good turn. Very much like in Senran Kagura Shinobi Versus, each mission will have you face countless enemies, in addition to one or several rivals. That’s the very important point of this game : it will be you against 1,2 or even 3 rival characters at the same time! The gameplay is consequently astonishingly fast and the battles very intense, not to mention that the enemy IA is monstrously aggressive. They will hunt you down and won’t hesitate to use their ninpôs repeatedly. You therefore have to be nimble and aim for aerials combos, the key to victory. The drawback is that it tends to be really crowded and frustrating at times, because your character is way too often downed, stunned or frozen. To avoid being stuck, the controls include several counters, one of which is done by leaning on walls. We do still lament the poor camera angles when next to a wall.

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The series finally balances its challenge this time with 3 difficulty levels instead of 2. So there’s one for any type of player : those who want to bite the dust every time, those who want to go progressively by re-achieving previous missions to get some experience, and those who want to go through it quickly. Wise use of ninpôs will again be the key to win. Those powerful special attacks triggered with L1+square or triangle have been made further spectacular and over-the-top, even though some keep been ridiculously kawaii. This latest installment adds a 3rd which is in fact the characters transforms : this metamorphosis which consumes a great deal of skill points is of incomparable power and can wipe out a boss in a flash. Mayabi for example takes an angel-like form and Homura draws her famous 7th katana. In short, the gameplay of Senran Kagura Estival Versus is the opposite of its narration, brilliant and punchy.

After a somewhat lengthy Senran Kagura Estival Versus, Marvelous again delivers here a large content that should ensure at least 30 or 40 hours of play. Adding to the 8 chapters of the story, it includes an in-game challenge in which you must search and destroy altars hidden in the stages. Challenge that itself unlocks mini-stories for each one of the 25 girls of the game. Furthermore, numerous updates added some chapters for free. The online multiplayer from Senran Kagura Shinobi Versus is back and has been enriched. There are now plenty more combat modes (score attack, deathmatch, survival, capture the flag) and 10 players can join the fray on PS4 (4 on Vita). Regardless of the system, the matchmaking is effective, the servers strong and the frame-rate solid.

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The five new characters are quite unbalanced, especially in their fighting style. Of the Mikagura sisters, Kafuru seemed the most interesting and the funniest one by far : she fights with waters pistols and is assisted by a dolphin of virile voicing (!) Renka felt a little average with her drums. Hanabi, despite her shiny fireworks, is a lot too slow to keep up with the pace of the game. Clearly they find their inspiration in the Okinawa regional culture, southern island famous for its summertime.

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Ryoki is definitely the new star of this episode, and logically the best designed one. Her fighting style has been framed in accordance with a personality : in trance, she will throw away her shotgun and shield to battle only armed with her coffin!

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And if you happen to have some savings, each of the renowned guests of the long DLC season, including Ayane from Dead or Alive, Ikki Tôsen‘s trio (note : those three are not confirmed for the West) or Naraku & Kagura (those two coming from Senran Kagura Deep Crimson where they were NOT playable), have been designed and animated so perfectly that they end up more exciting to use than most of the base cast.

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In pure aesthetics, Marvelous’s game is still a niche game so it won’t revolutionize PS4 development. Stages are narrow and unrefined, the basic enemies are roughly animated. I won’t surprise you by telling that every technical effort has been made on the heroines and their physique with deliciously precise outlining. To this let’s add the best interface ever : those are dynamic title screens (a dozen of them) switching depending on the characters you’ve chosen. 1080p and 60fps on PS4, this is quite a sight to behold.

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On PSVita, the game naturally loses in terms of frame-rate and sharpness, but it’s still a very solid portable version. Unlike many developers who neglect Vita versions to focus on PS4 lead-development, Marvelous gave maximum care to this one : the cel-shading from Senran Kagura Shinobi Versus has disappeared to make room for sharper 3D models which don’t fade in comparison with their PS4 counterparts. The frame-rate dropped quite a bit especially at launch, but that’s the price to pay to keep it with yourself. On the misuc side, the game didn’t really live up to the previous ones. I’ll pick only Homura’s theme and  iza, atuski omoi o mune ni!  which was a great final composition.

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Of course, impossible to close a Senran Kagura review without going through its licentious business. Clothes destruction will happen less often to keep a smoother action, but they are a lot more suggestive than before. Plainly obvious, poses and facial expressions ovebid the past episodes so much that the latter seem shy today.

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And because no one stops progress, Kenichirô Takaki’s new title introduces what’s called in the original version puru puru finish. Those “fatalities” in some way suppose you give the final blow to your opponent next to a special element of the stage, and this will trigger a special kinky scene in which nudity is prerequisite. You got it, Senran Kagura Estival Versus makes no compromise and should be played by fully aware adults. Funny then that it would “only” be PEGI16 here whereas it is for 17 year-olds and more in its country of origin.

Senran Kagura Estival Versus is as enticing and exciting as badly told. Relevant gameplay changes have been made, the character’s rendering is exceptional and the fan-service sets new records. However, its unwillingness to offer a decent narrative prevents it from becoming the final realization of Kenichirô Takaki’s vision.

Senran Kagura series tops one million


A few days ago, Senran Kagura’s creator Kenichirô Takaki said on twitter, with utmost delight, that the series had crossed one million units shipped. This million is shared between 6 games, 3 on 3DS, 2 on PSVita and the last one being PS4/SVita multiplat. That breakdown is a rather tricky task but let’s try with what we know.

The very first Senran Kagura released for 3DS in 2011 leaves the Japanese charts after crossing 60K units. Senran Kagura 2 Deep Crimson also disappeared at the same level of sales, but showed up in a recent bishôjo game ranking a 77K. Statistically speaking, the first one must have crawled above 70K too. As for Senran Kagura Burst, it’s very simple because Takaki had said that Marvelous had shipped 100K in Japan.

On Playstation, we do know thanks to the boxart of Senran Kagura Estival Versus that Senran Kagura Shinobi Versus has sold more than 300K worldwide, despite being digital only for most people. As for Estival Versus itself, Takaki shared last June that the shipments had topped 130K in Japan. On the other hand, no confirmed figure has surfaced regarding the rhythm-cooking spin-off Senran Kagura Bon Appétit. Estimated known total sales therefore amount to 700K.

That is an historical figure, and not just for the series. We have to bear in mind that the first Senran Kagura had a business plan made for roughly 30K sales. No one back then even remotely though it would be sold out within hours, let alone that it would have an international carrier. The general consensus some years ago was that otakus fond of ecchi games like Senran Kagura was a tiny minority staying hidden in dark Tokyo flats. As games like Hyperdimension Neptunia regularly hit the western market and niche gamers becoming more and more connected via social networks or specialized websites, Marvelous eventually thought it might efficiently expand its business abroad.

Outcasts yesterday, Senran Kagura players and fans of the genre in general today are officially hundreds of thousands everywhere scattered across the globe. By the might of their number, they freed themselves from the despotism of foolish press crusaders convinced to fight for greater good (although that greater good never applies to GTA). Today, we are masters of our owns interests, vanquishing those who sought to destroy us, and grasping the freedom of enjoying our way at will. This million is the great symbol of this victory, the decline of prejudice and the rise of a niche that is now more than that.

Internal strife at Marvelous

In its recent financial report for 2014-2015, Marvelous surprised many by announcing that Senran Kagura hadn’t met forecasts. Observers are crestfallen : the game barely had 3 or 4 days of sales in the fiscal term, during which it moved 100’000 units (physical & digital) that were sold through as March 30th. A top result for a game aimed at pure otakus.

Upset, Senran Kagura producer Kenichiro Takaki goes against its own management on twitter, uncommon thing in Japan where hierarchy is absolute. He says something like that.

[Senran Kagura] is a series about which I had been said that 30’000 sales would be great. This year, we marketed 3 games of the series, all profitable and selling a cumulative 250’000 units, but now some say it’s not enough. The series has grown well and it’s thanks to you all”

Given such information, we can’t help thinking that financial controllers at Marvelous have become a bit megalomaniac. Estival Versus achieved a launch slightly lower than Shinobi Versus, but in a week full of big releases. The Japanese market having contracted in 2014 and the series fanbase hardly being extendable at this point, no one could expect growth. Furthermore, Marvelous’s accountants fail to take into account the future Western sales. They are critical of a profitable game that hasn’t yet brought all the revenues it can.

But Marvelous is already looking elsewhere. The report states that the environment of console games is “difficult” and that the market “shows a turnaround in favour of mobile applications”. Words that worryingly echo Konami’s CEO’s, who’s just thrown Metal Gear and Silent Hills in the dustbin so as to focus on smartphone games. This is no coincidence : smartphone and browser games account for 2/3 of Marvelous’s revenues, and bring 7 times more profit than consoles games, which just fell 78%. This collapse is of course due to their idiotic clinging to 3DS in 2014, but it is sure that financial staff cannot stay idle in front of such figures.

Takaki-san’s clash is not a message lost in the twittosphere, it is the second example in a very short time of the growing discrepancy between developers and management. One Konami is enough, there mustn’t be other cases like that.