Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson review
SG Gaming Info delves into Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson for Nintendo 3DS, a world filled with shinobi, demons, and perverts…
*this review is based on playtime up until the beginning of chapter 4*
Previous Senran Kagura games have seen you taken on shinobi from opposing academies for the right to exist, and overly sexualised cooking competitions, but now it is time for members of Hanzo National Academy and the renegade Crimson squad to work together to fight groups of yoma – Japanese monsters/demons -.
Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is a game of mixed feelings for me as my interest in the plot and combat is constantly drowned out by the tsunami level of sexualised content. In Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson you can’t go 2 minutes with bouncing breasts or revealing clothes been thrown in your face, the level of sexualised content makes the game feel dumber despite the fact it has the above mentioned interesting plot and combat.
Regarding the plot, the game centres around Hanzo National Academy and the renegade Crimson Squad – Crimson Squad were once members of Hebijo Academy, but left after Hanzo revealed the evil intentions of Hebijo- as demons begin to start appearing. The origin of the demon influx is due to Dogen – One of Hebijo Academy’s investors -, but despite Dogen’s defeat at the hands of Crimson Squad, yoma are still appearing. Moving on from this both Crimson Squad and Hanzo encounter two mysterious girls in Kyoto, and upon meeting them the “good” shinobi council orders the Hanzo students to eliminate them, but the order to eliminate the two girls is met with confusion as they reveal they are gathering up yoma so that they can kill them, which, in theory, is a good thing, and this issue leads to an internal dilemma for Hanzo as the two girls they are ordered to kill are both good people trying to eliminate a powerful evil from the world.
The game’s plot, which takes several hours to get going (doesn’t really pick up until chapter 3) gives players some moral questions, while these two girls – Naraku and Kagura – are doing the right thing trying to wipe out the yoma, but they don’t care who gets caught in the crossfire – during one section of the game Naraku intentionally draws a large amount of yoma to a crowded civilian area because she knows human blood attracts yoma -. While it is a dilemma for the player it also creates an interesting dilemma for the characters, as the Hanzo students who have always blindly followed the orders of the “good” shinobi council are placed in a situation where doing what they are told is the right thing may not be so (When I got this part of the game I could only think of the well-known line from Star Trek’s Spock: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”).
Moving on from the plot we have the game’s combat, which I described as interesting, but I feel a much more in-depth description would be a mixture of fluid and frustration. By fluidity I mean everything seems to role together as well places combos transition into powerful shinobi attack with ease. However if your combo gets interrupted by you knocking the enemy away from the camera you almost have to pray that you find your enemy and hit it before it hits you, because well the game doesn’t contain any parry or block abilities, which can lead to an almost handheld smashing situations where boss fights can be over within seconds because the boss was lucky enough to hit you first. Yes, I found myself cursing at my 3DS on more than one occasion over the lack of counter functionality.
Before I move onto talking about a new feature for combat, I should point out that yes stripping still exists in the game. Character stripping happens when you do enough damage to your opponent’s upper of lower part of their body with either normal or shinobi attacks, and after enough damage is done their clothes are stripped away, revealing their underwear. This stripping isn’t limited to your opponents as they can also strip away your character’s clothes leaving you to fight in your underwear. There is no seemingly obvious advantage (apart from a person off screen shouting “advantage”) to stripping, so I would guess it is done for fan service.
While I am hit and miss on how the combat, I am however not unsure when it comes to the new pair battles mechanic. This new feature allows two characters to fight on screen at the same time with players being able to instantly change character with the push of a button. What makes changing the character you control better is just how smooth the transition is, the character change is seamless as you there is no jarring pull as you can simply do a flurry of attacks, change and continue your flurry of attacks as if nothing even happened. However, there is one downside to the pair battles, and that is the fact you cannot choose who your character partner decides to fight with (well not in story missions at least).
While previous Senran Kagura games featured an all female playable cast of characters, Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson features the first ever playable male character, although you have to pay €4.99 to unlock him. The playable characters in the game are Asuka, Ikaruga, Katsuragi, Yagyu and Hibari from Hanzo National Academy, and Homura, Yomi, Hikage, Mirai and Haruka from Homura’s Crimson Squad. There are some other minor playable characters. The main playable characters all jump between serious and goofy depending on the situation.
If you have played previous Senran Kagura games or experienced the characters from the franchises other mediums you will know what to expect, Yomi wants to water her bean sprouts, and Katsuragi with her unbuttoned top wants to grope every girl she sees from some reason. As the game progresses we do see snippets of the characters growing up with Asuka appearing to ask more questions rather than just be a good shinobi blindly following what she is told is right.
Now since this is a 3DS game what is the dual-screen and 3D support like? Well, dual screen support is fantastic. During combat the bottom screen displays all the characters combos, during the games visual novel style dialogue scenes you are presented the button layout for controlling the scenes, and outside of combat and dialogue scenes the bottom screen acts as a quick action layout where instead of walking over to say the dressing room you can just push the dressing room icon on the bottom screen.
With regards to the 3D functionality, it is awful. I only turned the 3D once or twice, but combat with the effect on caused eye strain and made me feel physically sick. if you are used to the 3D you might be ok, but I highly recommend turning it off.
Now, what content does the game offer besides a story? The game offers a challenge mode called Yoma’s nest, a series of special missions arranged in a 14-floor pyramid with the goal being to get as far as possible without dying. There are also special missions, these are seemingly ordinary missions that require you to perform a certain task/restrict your character in some fashion, some examples include: eliminating enemies with only dash attacks and destroying targets in X amount of time. While there is a limited number of each, you have the option to spend real money to buy new special missions.
Since the game has a pair battle system it wouldn’t be surprising to hear the game has online/local/street pass co-op, now I didn’t try this feature (mostly out of fear of embarrassing myself), but it is nice to see the game gives you the option. Unfortunately while there is co-op there is no form of player versus player combat.
Outside of additional combat there is the dressing room where you can change each character’s outfit from uniform to underwear, as you might have guessed some of the outfits range from decent to overtly sexualised (this, of course, isn’t helped by the fact that most of the characters are under 18), but if you look past the sexualization aspect it is a fun distraction and allows you to add you own little personality into the game. Unfortunately getting back to the overtly sexualised point again, the game has a photo shoot mode that like the dressing room can be an interesting time waste bordering on the perverted as you can make characters sit on all fours, show their pants, and perform seductive sitting among other things.
Graphically the game is nice, as a nonregular 3DS user I didn’t notice any glaring issues to say whether the game looks better or worse than your standard 3DS title. However, there was one or should I say two things I noticed and that is the heavy emphasis on each characters breasts, the focus is so great the almost feel like separate entities on each character. I’m sure some people won’t mind the emphasis on breasts, but in all honesty it is distracting.
With regards to audio the game is entirely voiced in Japanese with English text, from a cost cutting reason I can see why this is done, but it is worth pointing out that people have done English voice work for the Senran Kagura anime.
Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is a game that leaves me in two minds. While the plot is decent and combat fluctuates between enjoyable and tedious, the focus on overly sexualizing characters is disappointing.
+ Plot (despite the initial slow burn it gets interesting)
+ Pair battles
+/- Combat (fluctuates between fluid and frustrating)
– Needlessly high amount of sexualised content
– 3D functionality
|Tamsoft||Marvelous||Action||16+||Nintendo3DS||August 27, 2015 (EU)|
For more information on Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson, visit http://senrankagura2.com/.
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.