Title: Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: Marvelous Entertainment
Release date: Out now.
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Senran Kagura 2 is a game made with a particular audience in mind. I’m not in that audience.
I didn’t go in entirely blind to the game, I knew it was about ninja girls with pillowy bosoms. I didn’t know that it was essentially a button masher. I didn’t know that if you slip up playing, the ninja you’re playing has some of her clothes removed.
Now, initially, the latter element held a strange, absurdist appeal to me. Like, I didn’t understand why. Trying to parse the game’s logic kept me in a state of baffled engagement throughout the first few hours of the game. I still don’t quite understand why you’re character moves closer to a state of undress as a result of you taking hits in combat. I mean, I imagine that the intended audience likes seeing scantily clad anime style girls. It’s hardly punishment for them, although it is for people who don’t like seeing the objectification of women in games.
For me, though, the game-play became an intolerably dull affair. Fans of the series note that they like the relaxing nature of the play. It promotes in them a zen-like state. A zen-like state with occasional titillation, I can how there’s an appeal there for some folk. Senran Kagura 2 is one part ploughing through goons quickly, Dynasty Warriors style. There’s also bosses which pose a significantly higher level of challenge. Camera issues meant that I couldn’t find the game relaxing. It’s difficult to see how close your opponent is from you when they’re off-screen, which they will be often. This may be as a result of the shift to three-dimensional combat fields; perhaps the combat in earlier installments feels neater. I wouldn’t know.
Moreover, sometimes the victories I had in combat felt cheap- you’ll often be paired up with another ninja in combat. If the character you’re playing as falls, I found that if I just ran around as the other one then the original character would regenerate their health whilst your enemies wouldn’t. It’s really easy to avoid taking hits in this game if you’re not playing aggressively. So, I felt I was near invulnerable in pair combat.
Perhaps I’m missing the point by concentrating deeply on the combat. Also, some of the ideas that they had regarding it weren’t terrible. For instance, if you kept failing a section, you’d still receive experience from it making your next go around easier.
In terms of other ways the game compares to previous installments, I’ve heard that it poses a higher level of difficulty and it’s a visual improvement. Although, I wasn’t impressed by some of the low resolution textures in cut-scenes. I’ve also heard that Senran Kagura 2 doesn’t do anything really new regarding it’s narrative. Honestly, I didn’t regard novelty, given that I barely understood the set-up for half of the fights that went down. Now, the game did touch on some themes that I thought were worthy of development like class issues and the nature of good and evil. However, too often these elements were quickly dismissed, giving way to extensive conversations about breasts or bean sprouts. Maybe I shouldn’t mark this game down for failing to intellectually engage me, though, because I don’t think it shoots for that.
To sum up, I’m sure this game is perfectly adequate at what it attempts albeit it may be inferior in comparison to previous games. Personally, I found this game to be a slog. I can get behind a button-masher with simple mechanics- but there weren’t any perceivable rewards for mashing through. No constant stream of loot or customizable upgrades to keep my head in the game. Ultimately, I just didn’t care and I regret subjecting myself to this.
- Achieves what it sets out for. Fans of the series will likely deem this adequate.
- I’ve learnt an important lesson about how I should do more research into a game before I agree to review it.
- Combat didn’t feel fair, camera issues contributed to this.
- Flimsy narrative.
- I had no fun.
- If you found something like The Witcher‘s presentation of women depressing, you’re better off not knowing about this game’s existence. As for myself, I am now numb to the sight of anime girls in their underwear. I am utterly desensitized. I can’t feel anything about it, I can’t think anything of it. A part of my soul has died.
There’s nothing super explicit but the game has a definite focus on barely clothed girls.
Code provided by PR/ developer.