By: Uma Smith
If you have watched the anime, Senran Kagura, then you should be very aware of the concept of fan service — offering material of a suggestive nature that is intended to please the audience. Heck, you’re probably a fan of such a service if you continue to watch the episodes. In that case, a salute to XSEED Games is in order as the company has brought Senran Kagura Burst to the Nintendo 3DS. I wonder what kind of things I should be expecting to “burst” out during this game…
Senran Kagura Burst revolves around two modern ninja clans that are rivals. It should be of no surprise that the clans consist of teenage girls that have a lot of “bounce” to their physical presence. From the start, you can choose either to engage in the path of the Hanzou or Hebijo schools. Based on your choice, you’ll play an essentially different game, which apparently were offered separately in Japan.
Gameplay consists of beating up various enemies that come at you, be it creatures or even your fellow ninjas. Hence, from this type of game, you should be expecting quite a bit of button mashing, similar to that found in Dynasty Warriors. One face button is assigned for weak attacks while the other is for executing strong attacks. By pressing these buttons continuously, you’ll pull off some nice combos against your enemies. There’s also, of course, a button to jump and another to dash.
While this may potentially become repetitive, the ability to perform combos while in mid-air actually keeps the gameplay lively and exciting for that moment. Specifically, if you time your jump right when a green circle appears on screen during your combo on the ground, you’ll launch your enemy up in the air, thus allowing you to continue on your combo.
There’s also the ability to perform a limit break by pressing the right should button, which strikes at surrounding enemies. Doing so comes at a cost, however, which would be draining a small portion of your health. There is also a meter that builds up over time. When it fills, your character will be able to attack with greater power and speed.
One thing to note is that every time you take on damage in a battle, not only do you lose your health, but also part of your clothing. While your health can always be replenished during the game with potions, you won’t be able to restore your outfit. While this may be considered fan service at first, there’s actually a consequence to this. You see, if it turns out that you lost a majority of your costume, the damage you take will increase for each hit by an enemy. If you really want to get your character even more vulnerable, there’s the option to enter into frantic mode, where you’re simply dressed in a bathing suit. In effect, this increases your damage and speed while significantly decreasing your defense. This is definitely an invite to those that want to change the difficulty up a little bit.
Graphically, Senran Kagura Burst has a nice color scheme and a fine degree of detail in both environments and character design. It’s unfortunate that battles don’t take advantage of the 3D capabilities of the portable console even though other parts of the game do. Still, the music is stellar while the sound effects playing during the fights give quite an impressive feel.
Content is plentiful in Senran Kagura Burst when you enter into the dressing room. Here, you get to choose from the different outfits, accessories, and wigs that you unlocked throughout the game. Senran Kagura Burst also lets you view your stats along with in-game videos and music. However, the amount of time you’ll be spending on the game depends on how much work you’re willing to put into it.
Senran Kagura Burst is a fun Nintendo 3DS title, provided you can look past the repetitive beat ’em up gameplay. And because of the “fan service” offered in this game, a certain group of players may get the most value out of it while the rest may find it unappealing. So while it may not be for everyone, Senran Kagura Burst is “bursting” with some crazy action and anime entertainment that will strike the right type of individuals.