Monday, November 18, 2013
Senran Kagura Burst is...Actually Fun
My love of XSEED is no small secret, and in fact I do believe I take every opportunity to shout it from whatever perch I can find. I also like to express this love by buying their games since, you know, that's kind of what you do in this situation. And I have been doing just that - From Rune Factory 4 to Ragnarok Odyssey to Killer is Dead to the upcoming Ys: Memories of Celceta (Silver Anniversary Edition) and and so on and so on, I do believe I have purchased the bulk of games XSEED has released lately, with Valhalla Knights 3 being the only exception and that's because I just haven't seen a cart version of it. When Senran Kagura Burst was announced a while back, however...I....well, I wasn't sure.
My reasoning is pretty blatant to see: Senran Kagura as a series is pretty blatant fanservice for little other reason than fanservice and I'm not really interested in that. So I was fairly willing to give the game a pass, even with the knowledge that if it sold well, XSEED would look into localizing a Vita game based on the series which is something that I know that at least one employee at XSEED would absolutely love to see happen. Admittedly that did weigh on me - I want to support XSEED and help them get more and more projects, but I also buy games for the -game- aspect most of the time, and I just wasn't sure Senran Kagura Burst had it there for me. Though, I began to sort of -hope- that there was.
Behold my surprise when word of mouth started getting around that yes, indeed, the game portion of Burst was actually fun. It certainly wasn't from the critical community (as of this writing, there is merely one score for the game - a 70) but just from forums here and there. Told as a solid, lightning-fast-paced beat-em-up with an actual passable story thanks in no small part to one of the writers being from Ace Attorney 5, it seemed...well, kind of impossible! A thing that I never would have honestly guessed was possible. But that, along with Hatsuu from XSEED drumming up the hype machine by retweeting people who said they bought it was enough. Mine was among some of the tweets retweeted by her as I began the long and arduous download because I was an idiot and completely forgot that the eShop is terrible and doesn't let me just buy things to download at my planned convenience instead of some random interval deemed appropriate by the "Download Later" function.
Pretty much everything I'd heard about the game is true and then some. If you can get past the fanservice bits (of which there are a -lot-) and just enjoy the game for what it is, you'll find an old-school side-scrolling beat-em-up that has a quicker pace than most 3D Sonic games which is really tantalizing and fun for some reason. There's even an option to make yourself -faster- through the use of Frantic Mode, which almost turns the game into a Twitch fighter more than anything else, if such a thing is even possible. By pressing L and R at the start of a mission, your character eschews their normal outfit for the basic swimwear underneath (yes, I know, I know) which offers a ridiculous speed and power increase for an equally ridiculous defense decrease for the entire mission. It's supposed to be extra challenging because of the poor Defense, but I'm killing things far too quickly for it to cause a problem for me, though I attribute that to being in the early chapters of the game yet.
My only issue with the game, really, is that sometimes the camera jukes and jutters to the side like it's trying to go somewhere but is hitting a wall somehow. It's disorienting, but most of the time I don't notice it because I'm following the action, however when it happens while you're just proceeding to the right to the next combat section, it is abjectly terrible. It doesn't do it a lot, but it does it enough times that I figured it was worth mentioning. My other complaint is more about the system - after being so used to the Vita's wonderful screen and the TV, I find that it's hard to look at the 3DS screen for long periods of time, especially as intently as I do to keep up with the action. Which is the only reason, you jerks. Otherwise, it's a fun little game that I put a few hours in the last time I played it purely by accident - I merely wanted to get a couple missions in while I was waiting on something and that just never really stopped until it finally did. A whole chapter of progression later. So it's got something going on for it!
I barely even pay attention to the jiggling anymore which I think is a good thing, right?