Oh, Senran Kagura, I highly doubt there is any other game series out there that has been lambasted by the media and press as you. Few other series have done as much experimentation as this one, ranging from 3D musou style combat, to 2D side scrolling beat em up, to a rhythm cooking game, to a Splatoon style squirt gun war; Senran Kagura has tried many different styles and genres. A few mainstays remain from game to game; namely, in each title you take control of extremely buxom teenage ninja girls. This aspect of the games, along with the dedicated breast jiggle mechanics, has pretty much meant that in recent years, several undesirables have made it their mission to ensure this series never sees the light of day. I for one, even with the censorship in the PS4 version, am glad they have mostly failed – even in this latest release.
Senran Kagura: Burst Re:Newal
Publisher: Marvelous Entertainment
Developer: HONEY∞PARADE GAMES
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Windows PC
Release Date: January 22nd, 2019
Players: 1 Player
I suppose the first things we should discuss are graphics and aesthetics. Yes, if you have followed the development of the game, there was an aspect removed from the final build.
The intimacy mode was removed from the PS4 version while it was left intact in the PC / Steam release. For some players, this will be a make or break aspect on whether or not they make the purchase. Outside of that, there are still plenty of jiggles, jouncies, bouncies and skimpy clothes to enjoy.
If you have played any other Senran Kagura game that has come out recently, then the graphical aspects of Burst Re:Newal will seem very familiar. There are a ton of different outfits, hairstyles, underwear, and accessories to customize the girls to your hearts desire.
If you’ve not played a Senran Kagura game before, you didn’t misread that last sentence. Yes, you can customize each girls unmentionables, which actually plays a part in how each battle takes place.
Unlike the original game, Burst Re:Newal instead uses the system found in Estival Versus. Namely, a 3D beat em up style of gameplay. Each match revolves around using the assigned ninja girl beating up on a few hordes of lesser ninja girls.
Using a combination of strong and light attacks, the player will decimate the lesser ninja, knocking off their clothes while increasing the burst and ninja gauges.
Once either of the gauges are filled, you will then be able to either enter burst mode which increases attack and defense and allowing for a strong “finisher” type move and/or you can perform a shinobi transformation.
This transformation is fairly signature for the series. Your chosen character will appear naked (with of course the associated light blocking all the naughty bits), and perform a magical girl type transformation, donning their trademark shinobi attire.
In this mode, you will not only get your health restored, but the girls are stronger and can now use 2 different shinobi attacks that drain the ninja gauge.
You can combine burst and shinobi transformations for a significant boost to attack and defense and then unleash kawaii ninja destruction on your enemies.
However, since the shinobi transformation is unskippable… it does get a bit old after the dozenth time you see it. Jiggles and skimpy outfits are one thing, but it would have been nice to have been able to skip the transformation scenes. It just takes up too much time after a bit.
Each girl has their own strengths and weaknesses, and they are compounded and increased while in Shinobi form. There is one more mode that the player can use, which is chosen at the start of a fight.
Frantic mode has the girls start the fight in only their undies with a significant boost to speed and attack, at the cost of having almost no defense what so ever. Not only are you stronger and faster, but you can basically infinitely chain together their weak attacks.
Beyond having no defense, you won’t be able to burst or use a shinobi transformation. This mode is great for basic fights so you can quickly smash through all the small fries, but it becomes much harder to take on other shinobi in just your skivvies. Hope your reflexes are up to the challenge (mine usually weren’t).
Story wise… well, Burst Re:Newal isn’t a new story, but it does cover new ground. See, Burst Re:Newal is a remaster of Senran Kagura Burst, originally for the 3DS. Like that version, it covers the original story as well as the extra story for the “evil shinobi” from Hebijo Academy.
There are several new DLC characters (which at the time of this writing, are a free download) which expand on the story of the girls, as well as the new characters. The story is told through both visual novel style story boards and pictures, as well as in battle cut scenes and dialogue.
If you have watched the anime or have played the previous games, then there will be very little that is new here. However, if you are new to the series, then you’ll be in for a treat.
On the surface, the Senran Kagura series is all about buxom girls beating the snot out of each other, but break that surface and you will find a fairly deep story, going in to why each girl is doing what they’re doing, why they’re shinobi, and some of the darker aspects of their pasts.
Beyond the controversy that series inevitably dusts up each time a new game is released, and the censorship present in the PS4 version, Senran Kagura: Burst Re:Newal is a fun, tongue in cheek romp for fans of 3D beat em up/Musou Lite style games.
There are several different ways to take on each mission (even if the only objective is kick the enemies butt) with 2 different stories to play through, and a bunch of side missions to learn about the girls and their pasts.
If you ever get tired of seeing jiggling girls punching, kicking and slicing their way through enemies, you can always sit back and customize their outfits and put them in the diorama mode, creating a near infinite number of scenes to screenshot and share.
Those customizations will carry over to the different battles as well, so you can fight through your enemies in some very nice and revealing outfits.
I really wanted to do this review, especially after the uproar that came about when it was originally announced that the intimacy mode was to be removed. I fully believed, and still do, that Niche Gamer was the one outlet that would give this game a chance and give it a fair and honest review, which I hope I have.
Yes, there is censorship in the PS4 version and it is very lamentable. Regardless of that fact, the base game itself is left untouched and very much worth a playthrough, especially if you missed out on playing the handheld originals on the 3DS.
So by all means, if you’re in the mood for some cheesecake fan service while combating other scantily clad ninja, go ahead and pick up Burst Re:Newal. It’s worth it.
Senran Kagura: Burst Re:Newal was reviewed on PlayStation 4 Pro using a personal copy obtained by Niche Gamer. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.