A fierce war is presently being waged and in case you are wondering I am not referring to the Middle East conflict. Anita Sarkeesian has militarized feminists against the gaming industry, which she accuses of misogyny. On the opposite side of the fence are gamers who have responded to the accusations with their patented immature trolling and in some cases reprehensible death threats. I’m disappointed to see so many people side with Sarkeesian’s biased opinions, but it’s hard to defend Japanese developers when, within the space of a few weeks, two games revolving around stripping have hit the market. Perverts everywhere rejoice! If Akiba’s Trip failed to satiate your thirst for pixelated boob fear not, because Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus has just arrived on the Vita.
The Senran Kagura franchise takes place in Japan where, unbeknownst to the general public, high school girls are trained in the art of Ninjutsu. These female warriors are broken down into two factions – Good Shinobi who use martial arts to protect the weak and Evil Shinobi who use their skills to take on assassination requests. The differing ideologies result in the opposing groups often butting heads, which can only be settled with a Shinobi Battle Royale. These contests involve rival academies squaring off in a series of duels, were it is agreed that the loser’s institution will be torched down. What a shame that I was never asked to defend the honour of my school during my student days. I would have gleefully thrown the fight just to see that horrible comprehensive burn.
Gameplay wise Shinovi Versus feels a lot like the Dynasty Warriors games. Levels involve decimating waves of unchallenging fodder until you are eventually allowed to lock horns with the far more competent boss character. The easy to learn controls allow players to go on the offence with weak/strong attacks and defend themselves via dashing, blocking and jumping. Combatants start a battle in their humdrum school uniform, but can switch over to a more colourful outfit by activating Shinobi mode. Whilst in this state characters can perform special moves that specialise in removing an opponent’s garments. Alternatively they can go frantic, which sacrifices their own clothing in exchange for a strength boost. Does going nude really make someone beefier? If so I suspect that Kate Upton can bench press more than an Olympic weightlifter.
My rating for Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is a four out of five. I’m surprised by how enjoyable it is, given that I found its predecessor (Senran Kagura Burst) to be rather monotonous once the novelty of stripping wore off. I think the combat in this sequel is far more satisfying as the action has switched from a restrictive sidescoller to a far more open third person brawler. Graphically Shinovi Versus also trumps Burst by a wide margin. Although graphics do not necessarily make a good game, when your title is being sold on eye candy it is an important factor. The character models are gorgeous and the jiggle mechanics of their mammary glands is most hypnotizing.
One thing that impressed me about the title is the content on offer. The roster of playable characters consists of twenty students, who each have their own unique story. In addition to that there are a quartet of campaigns revolving around the Senran Kagura schools that span for five chapters. Completing levels rewards you with coinage that can be spent on a wide range of clothing, accessories, music and artwork. It’s even possible to gamble your income to acquire sought after lingerie! I’m sure many critics will dismiss Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus as shallow, but that’s unfair as its core gameplay is identical to the lauded Hyrule Warriors. Zelda is a prudish damsel who always requires rescue. The saucy babes of Senran Kagura fight for what they believe in. Out of those two who is the better female role model Ms Sarkeesian?