Here’s the usual disclaimer for this sort of game: you kind of know what you’re getting into here, so don’t be surprised when you get it. Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is a game about massively well-endowed ninja girls beating the clothing off of each other, but let’s go ahead and admit that I don’t need to tell you this. This is one of those games you wouldn’t have heard about if you weren’t interested in buying it, so let’s skip the formalities and get down to the nitty-gritty.
Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is the second game in the Senran Kagura that we’re seeing in the West since last year’s release of Senran Kagura Burst on 3DS. That game, incidentally, came about when the lead designer thought about what he’d most like to see in 3D…and, well, he settled on the first answer that came to mind. While the 3DS game was a side-scrolling brawler, this is closer to the Naruto Ninja Storm fighting games or to Square’s Dissidia: Final Fantasy. You choose a busty ninja girl and have her beat the living hell out of another busty ninja girl. Chances are that in the process someone is going to end up naked…and censored, for all you parents out there. (Hahaha, no parents are buying this game.)
You’ve got your choice of ladies from three schools – Hanzō, Hebijo and Gessen, representing good, evil and neutral ninja respectively. Each school has its own story mode and completing all three of these will unlock a fourth. In addition, each character has her own set of story quests to follow. I’d comment on the plot, but basically: it’s exactly what you think it is. The schools are fighting, there’s a tournament, blah blah blah. There aren’t any shocking surprises, presumably because that would distract from the way everyone tends to end up nude. I’m not really sure you could shock someone when that’s the case, honestly. Most missions consist of a pretty standard battles, though you’ll also encounter the odd gauntlet full of mooks; these are definitely the least entertaining parts of the game and feel like a distraction from the more traditional fighting. You can set up fights on your own as well or play online, though the game’s netplay capabilities are shoddy at best and they’re probably worth a pass.
Right, the fighting. You’ve got your girl, they’ve got theirs, you beat each other up for awhile. You’ve got a variety of techniques available, including dashes, juggle attacks and midair combos. Beating someone up enough causes her clothing to explode off. Because of course it does. When you’re close to defeat it’s time to hit your Shinobi Transformation, which tops off your health bar, gives you a new moveset, and gives you a cutscene involving your girl undressing. Because of course it does. After transforming you have access to Ninja Arts, high-powered super moves that draw on a charge meter to deal immense damage. And they strip your opponent. Because of course they do. As previously mentioned, the combat feels very much like the Naruto and Dissidia games, so fans of those who either desire or don’t mind the fanservice aspect of Senran Kagura are going to feel right at home. Balance isn’t really what they were going for here, so don’t expect the cast to all be on a level playing field, though if you aren’t playing online it doesn’t really matter much.
Fighting and progressing through the story earn you a massive number of unlocks. Seriously, the degree of customization available here is absurd. Everyone can earn new skimpy outfits to wear, everyone can wear everyone ELSE’S skimpy outfits, there’s voice clips, artwork, music, hairstyles, it’s ludicrous. Continued play earns you Zenny, as well, which can be spent on the Lingerie Lottery. Which is, again, exactly what it sounds like. You knew what you were getting yourself into here, don’t even lie.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’ve even heard of this game you’ve got a pretty good idea of whether or not you want it. It’s a bunch of busty ninja girls stripping each other. The associated combat is pretty solid and there’s a gigantic amount of additional content if you find the concept that appealing. As there’s nothing wrong with the game technically and the underlying fighting game is enjoyable, I can feel alright recommending Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus; tack an Editor’s Choice on there if you’re really into the whole fan-service thing, because good god.