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User Rating: 9 | Senran Kagura: Estival Versus VITA
Remembering the day when I first played Shinovi Vs, it was honestly one of the most unique and awesome beat em up games that I have ever played. I just had to buy Estival Versus. I didn't care about the price tag, I HAD TO HAVE IT! Well I finally bought it a month later after constantly looking at it back and forth on the Vita PSN store. What I got was beyond my initial expectations to say the least. Estival Versus is the first time the series hit a current gen console and Marvelous AQL pulled no punches in production value. Even on the Vita, this a big leap from Shinovi Versus graphically, in content and in gameplay. An excellent port from the ps4 to boot as it runs on its own seperate graphic engine and has even less framerate issues than the first Vita game. The story this time around centers on the girls spending time in an alternate reality on a secluded island. Sounds familiar...but as beautiful as it may sound to spend your days sun tanning, this island is anything but peaceful. As you learn the true purpose of why the cast has been summoned to this world, you will find yourself wrapped in a serious and character defining storyline that pushes the girls to their fullest potential. It is definitely rewarding to see how far they've come from Shinovi Versus. But the details I'd rather leave for you to figure out. Story writing was always one of Senran Kagura's best qualities and this game is a perfect example of just how serious it can get. The story is divided into 3 modes. The main storyline, side missions and special missions which can be filled with DLC if you want it to be. The presentation has improved more this time around and includes some really cool anime cartoon cutscenes too. The only thing that sucks is that the main storyline is shorter than Shinovi Versus. Apart from that, there's the pervy dressing room, the shop, and multiplayer online. The shop sells your usual Senran Kagura styled clothes, hairstyles, accessories, pictures, videos, music, and my favourite undie raffle. The raffle has always been one of my guilty pleasures and it's alot of fun to see what you'll get from dropping some Zeni. The shop is perfect for completionists and luckily the story missions give you plenty of money to spend. Then we go to the dressing room. You can still touch characters in funny places, however; thanks to the ps4, the touch screen isn't as responsive as before. >:( Version 1.19 adds a creepy "kiss the girl" feature where you see a heart meter pop up that fills up the more you harass them or massage them. Then touch her hand, let her raise her hands up to you and touch her hand again for the final kissing embrace. I guess they do like it when you mess with their fun bags? Anyway, the kiss is all in the timing. Wait until she leans in closer and tap her mouth to kiss her. Fanservice much? At the risk of sounding like a total sicko, I wish DOA Extreme did this. But hey, at least we can get Ayane to join in the fun if you're willing to cough up money for the DLC. (pssst! You can't kiss Ayane BTW. I know because I tried.) Buying her along with any DLC entitles you to the ps4 version of the DLC too. Sure we can still change outfits and even hair colors but you'll also notice an extra feature named, "diorama" along with the option to select 3 characters. Diorama is basically photo mode and lets you put your favorite girls on different scenes and with plenty of poses depending on how many shinobi platforms you destroyed in story mode. There is a decent amount of creativity to utilize in diorama mode. Some people I've seen have even made comics with this mode! :o It's safe to say that Estival Versus will give you plenty to mingle with whether you love creativity or you just like touching defenseless 3D anime girls. There's really nothing for a straight male gaming otaku to complain about. But if you're straight girl or you just can't stand looking at the female form, you can switch the clothes ripping option off in settings and give the girls less suggestive outfits. If it's one thing I can lament about is that this series doesn't get enough of the praise and publicity it deserves. One may argue that the suggestive nature is just too much to bare and that's understandably expected in the politically correct world we live in, especially in USA. But so few are there videogame developers who truly believe in giving such a meaty and content filled product. Honestly, you can live with what the game gives you bare boned which is why I didn't mind paying full price. The same could not be said for most other AAA games in the market these days. Unless you're Nintendo. But I digress... Senran Kagura Estival Versus is a hidden gem to behold for a fan of fighting games, creativity and for anyone who loves anime and a good story. For returning players, Estival Versus has the largest roster of any Senran Kagura to date. More moves to enjoy, you run up walls, levels are bigger with more platforming and hold secret items to discover. Like shinobi bombs of different elements and even mountable robots! This game is genuinely fun and a meaty product in and out, full of vibrant gameplay and is a wonderfully well animated masterpiece. Marvelous AQL at its finest!