Senran Kagura Burst Renewal- A Renewed Sense of Enjoyment
Publisher: XSEED Games
Platform: PC*, PS4
Release Date: Jan 22nd, 2019
ESRB Rating: M
Thank You XSEED for Providing a Review Copy of this Game!
Senran Kagura has had many faces for quite some time. Starting off as a 2.5D brawler, to a 3D musou, to a rhythm game, Third Person Shooter, questionable visual novel, and finally a pinball game. Senran Kagura: Burst Re:Newal doesn’t go all the way back to its roots gameplay wise by making it 2D, but close enough by going back to the 3D musou-esque brawler style of play. As the name implies Senran Kagura: Burst Re:Newal (which from here on will be shortened to Re:Newal) is a remake of the original Senran Kagura along with its expansion/sequel, Senran Kagura: Burst.
As explained earlier, Re:Newal is a remake of Burst, so the story is more or less exactly that with no real changes. If you haven’t played Burst, there are a couple things to note. For one, the story is split into two perspectives. One from Hanzo – the good ninjas – with the other being Hebijo – the bad ninjas. The story doesn’t really do much outside of the two schools interacting with each other a few times only for it to be settled in one final confrontation. Which isn’t bad per se, it’s just tropey fun in the end. Much like the developers though, I myself kinda forgot how serious the original story was at times compared to the completely campey nature of later entries.
When it comes to combat, this is what Senran does best, and here it delivers in spades. As always you have your light and heavy attacks. You can also transform to boost your attack and defense, and use your super movers. Not to mention the tried and true Frantic Mode where you forgo all defense to have the attack boost of a lifetime. As always, you will die in just a few hits on higher difficulties.
There are some new additions to the series. One is the the Burst system. As you deal and take damage, your Burst gauge will rise. Once full, you can activate it. Once activated, your damage output will increase even further, and once depleted, you’ll automatically use your Burst attack which will deal a significant amount of damage to anybody nearby.
The game will also tell you when an attack is coming and how much range the move has. It’s certainly an interesting addition that seemingly can’t be turned off, but it makes parrying infinitely easier to manage since you’ll always know when something is coming at you.
In terms of levels, things get a little weird since it becomes a middle ground of Burst and the first 3D Brawler game, Shinovi Versus. In this remake of Burst, the size of the maps are extremely truncated compared to Shinovi Versus let alone Estival Versus. Maps can be completed in only a few minutes. I can’t recall a map that had more than 5 or 6 waves of enemies. Even then, a well placed combo can eliminate a good portion of a wave all on its own. And while it’s good to go through a level as fast as possible, most levels contain bonus scroll items which has lore components which is nice. They can be found in breakable items, some normal enemies may be carrying them, and some hidden higher-leveled enemies may be carrying them as well, so it’s always good to keep a sharp look-out.
Considering I played this on PC, it’s only fair to discuss my experience with it. To quickly outline my specs, I have a 8700k, 16GB of RAM, and a GTX 1070. With this, I was able to achieve 4k 60fps with ease on the highest settings. The only time it goes below 60 seems to be during transformation sequences and God forbid you face or use someone that mainly uses projectiles like Mirai. If you do, expect to go from 60 to the middle 40’s for a brief moment. The upgraded final boss battle will tank frame rates to the same extent as well.
There are some technical issues on the PC side. There are some text bugs, such as the game telling you, you failed a mission when you actually succeeded. But, the main one I faced is that unplugging your controller will cause the game to crash immediately unless it was out of focus. It should be noted that you can only change the graphics settings in-game which you have access to after doing the first mission in either school.
While I won’t give away how the new Orochi fight works, I would kill for a remake of 2 or for more of that in 7Even, it was Marvelous. However, what wasn’t so Marvelous was the fact that the character-driven side stories aren’t here in place of general missions. Granted, it was like that in Burst, but it’s a shame to see it gone. Same with multiplayer although the game tended to quickly die after launch so it may not have been worth it to put in.
Overall, I had a really good time coming back to the series after the last entry left such a bad taste in my mouth. One might even say, my faith has been Re:Newed. Outside of some technical issues that can easily be patched out, it felt good going back to the start of the franchise with a couple gameplay tweaks. If this is meant to be a preview for how 7Even goes, I can’t wait.