Senran kagura Burst Re:newal is a unique entry in the Senran kagura series. This uniqueness relates to the delay of its release, and the nature of it being a remake. From a story prospective this new entry is a direct remake of the 3DS title, Senran Kagura Burst.
Although it uses the same plot, it does deviate from the original with regards to its gameplay. The game plays similar to Shinovi Versus and Estival Versus instead of the 2.5D prospective of the original. This means 3D stages consisting of multiple enemies, lots of visual flair and flashy special moves. Burst Re:newal basically is a modern take on the original story and for that it’s brilliant.
Plays like you remember
The gameplay is mostly the same as the Versus titles, but instead of being able to activate Yin and Yang transformations during missions, you’re expected to choose if you wish to use Yin before the mission begins. This removes some of the strategy that the other titles benefited from. Along with the addition of Burst mode, it’s not not really necessary to ever use Yin. Other than that, the combos are just as fluid as ever, and most moves are unchanged. This means characters like Homura will still dominated while those like Haruka still sucks. Transformations look great, and special moves do too. There are less cutaways for the special moves, which may either serve as a good or bad thing depending on your individual preferences.
Visually the game looks magnificent. We used the PC version for our review, and as you can tell it both looks and performs very nicely. Now this isn’t the best looking game in the series. That honor goes to PBS, but that’s not to say this is a slouch in the visual department. In fact I think some may even argue that this is the best looking entry, and in some ways they may be right.
Facts: We don’t make the rules, we just follow them
My reason for rating PBS above it is a personal preference regarding the artistic style. Burst Re:newal uses a slightly different style for the environments and post processing. In a way It looks a tiny bit less like a cartoon in motion, something some desire, not me. As for the flashy effects, that’s where there is no debate for which is queen. The game uses these bright coloured effects along with an omnipresent effect for enemy attacks patterns. This serves a practical purpose to improve counter attacks, but some may find that it makes the game too easy.
These new visual features cannot be disabled so those who don’t like them will have to suck it up if they wish to play the game. There aren’t robust settings in the title, which is a huge issue on PC. The settings menu primarily serves as a means to turn on and off some of the ecchi visual queues, audio, and resolution settings. Now I know that there is more than just that, but none of it is going to change your experience with the game in any fundamental ways. Settings like text scroll speed, advanced graphics settings, and the ability to limit the amount of visual queues on screen are just a few of the settings that keeps this title from being perfect.
It’s Not just about the Squish
Given that chronologically this is the first mainline entry in this series of SQUISH appreciation, the game has what seems to be easily the best plot to date. Senran Kagura Burst Re:newal covers the tale of a group of shinobi students from rival schools who despite their differences share similar values. The main group consists of Asuka, Hibari, Katsuragi, Ikaruga, and Yagyu. They are contrasted by Homura, Yomi, Hikage, Mirai, and Haruka. Both Rin and Daidoji are unlockable by completing a final mission for each of the games two plots.
The order you choose to approach the missions is completely up to you, though the Hanzo plot should arguably be played first with the Hebijo plot following it. Each plot consists of 41 missions and outside of them there are side missions along with training missions. Completing missions earns you a rating, in game credit, experience, and sometimes new abilities.
Each girl levels up thanks to the experience gained from completing missions, although it is possible to use growth medicine found either during missions or purchased from the store. Like other Senran Kagura titles, each character is fully customizable, and the way you choose to play them will depend on your personal preferences.
What about the other girls?
The game is expected to receive DLC for the other characters available in the versus titles at a later date. Some of the DLC will include stories for the girls from the other schools, exploring their escapades during the events of the first game. At the time of writing the only paid DLC available was the soundtrack, but given the trackrecord of this series we’re likely to see a lot of cosmetic DLC to eclipse the cost of the base game.
This likely collates to the size of unlockable outfits in this entry. Compared to most previous entries, this is likely the smallest collection of outfits, especially in the pantsu department. Gone is pantsu lottery and its shiggly store owner. Ayame you shall be missed gurl. Shopping for outfits will never be the same without you.
Oh and the lack of pantsu isn’t the only shortcoming the game has. Senran Kagura Burst Re:newal has a massive issue that cripples its plot. During the visual novel segments that develops the story, the text scrolls by at an alarming rate. It’s almost like like someone set it to 3-4 times the regular speed, and it’s obviously a bug because it cuts off the audio dialog mid-sentences. XSEED Games has also acknowledged the issue and are working on an update to fix it. The game did have a few other minor bugs like crashing when a controller disconnected on the PC or some audio not playing. Most of these just require a simple restart or reloading the mission to fix, hence them being minor bugs.
Oh almost forgot to address the elephant in the room. What about that intimacy mode? The reason for the game being delayed is present in the PC version exclusively, but it doesn’t really serve any real purpose other than allowing the player to fuddle the characters. In principle we recommend the PC version to stick it to Sony for forcing censorship, but those who get the PS4 version won’t miss anything. For the love of P-Life it’s good that it’s there, but it would have been nice if it actually served a practical purpose.
In essence this is a game for those who already fancy the Senran Kagura series. With its healthy supply of fanservice,solid gameplay, and possibly the best plot in the series thus far, it’s and easy purchase for the initiated. However until it is patched to fix the visual novel segments newcomers should wait. Once it’s patched then anyone with a health interest in action games with a bit of animeflavor can apply.
The copy of Senran Kagura Burst Re:newal used for this review was provided by its publisher XSEED Games.