Welcome to day 5 of the Senran Celebrations. After the weird third person shooter Spin-Off Peach Beach Splash, I didn’t really know what was next in store for the girls of the Senranverse. But then we got this, a remastered version of the first game Senran Kagura Burst, built for the next generation of consoles. So did this remaster improve the original and add to it in unique and special ways? Erm…well…let’s get into the review to find out.
So…this is where I hit a bit of a problem with this review, I can’t exactly talk about the story because I already have a few reviews ago. This story is just the Burst story from the 3DS just with nicer visuals and a gameplay change. I’d just be paraphrasing stuff I said back in the Burst 2011 review, so I don’t really want to waste people’s time retreading old ground and instead recommend you read my Senran Kagura Burst 2011 Review here. The stuff I have to say about the story there are the same here, it’s a good story with some interesting themes and good pacing. With that out of the way, let’s get to characters…well…
Much like with the story aspect of this game, I can’t really say anything that wasn’t already said in my original Burst review. I don’t want to paraphrase too much, but to save having to go back to my other Burst review, these are some of the characters at their best. The smaller cast makes for more interesting moments and interactions and this game shows the great development the Crimson Squad has received over the years, transitioning from the evil sadist killers of Burst into the nuclear unit of anti-heroes we know today. There’s really not much else to say here that wouldn’t just be an echo of what I said last time.
Here’s where we dip slightly into the negative in terms of gameplay. This game tries to have it half an half by combining gameplay elements from Burst (2011) and Estival Versus, but it can’t quite pull it off. The enemy count is pretty small in the levels compared to previous games, which had slews of enemies you mowed down in droves, this enemy count is pretty small in comparison. I see what they were trying to do here, emulate the feel of the first game in a new 3D landscape, but the problem lies in the fact that those enemy numbers don’t work well and leads to you having to traipse around the levels to catch them. Speaking of the level designs, I have to give them credit because these level designs are very pretty, they’re well design, immersive and look like accurate remakes of levels of the past. But the larger landscapes turn the combat into a boring cat and mouse chase style of play when you have to track down the last enemy in these large layouts. Also for me the characters seem to run a lot slower, which once again add to the slower nature of this game. They did streamline the combat and ninja arts once again which is a plus, but it’s nothing that wasn’t already done in Estival Versus. This game just feels like it’s either in the same place as the last game, or a slight step back if anything.
This game is the best looking so far, it does reuse animations from Estival and Peach Peach Splash, but does have a graphical update and has way better visuals. The music is just reused from Burst and as established before, that stands as my favourite video game soundtrack, and they even reuse the voice lines, at least from that I can hear, which is also delivered very well. However, this right here raises the biggest glaring issue with Burst Re;Newal, it’s just such a lazily designed game. The resused, animations is one thing, but the fact that all music and vocal performances are ripper directly from the original Burst, just makes for an overall distraction feel and really pulls you out of the game. While it is a graphical improvement, everything else is just recycled, which some might say is fine, but this just makes the game feel like it wasn’t really trying. Ripping audio files and music from a game that came before with no additions yourself makes for a very dull and lazy feel. This games presentation was also affected by a certain other issue, and that’s what we’ll talk about next.
The Censorship Issue
For those who don’t know, Burst Re;Newel was subject to a delay in it’s production for the PS4 release amidst new Sony policies that involved mass censorship. The Intimacy Mode feature was removed from the PS4 release and as such this was met with massive backlash. People were quick to call out Sony for hypocrisy, saying they introduced these censorship rules to protect their younger audiences, which didn’t seem to stretch so censoring games like GTA5, Mortal Kombat and literally every COD game but hey who are we to judge what Sony thinks deserves to be censored. This move by Sony has ultimately damaged my impression of this game since it will now act as a flagship example of blatant censorship of game designers work, and started the string of events that lead to Kenichiro Taka leaving Marvelous Games and having to scrap all that he;d worked on for the latest game dubbed Senran Kagura Se7en. A whole game’s early production stages, scrapped because Sony decided to censor these types of games. This problem persists today, with many imports receiving delays amidst content being censored. So overall, this did impact my opinion on this game, not to the point where it impacts the final grade, but it will serve as a reminder of the abuse of power Sony exerts on game companies that produce games like this.
- Story: 4/5 – This story is good, but it;s not it’s own. The plot is engaging and has a lot of good moments and interesting themes, but none of it is original as it’s taken from another game.
- Characters: 4/5 – Again, these are some good characters who have great chemistry and show some really good development, but they don’t have anything we haven’t seen already.
- Gameplay: 3/5 – This gameplay is only ok. It has some good level design but other than that the combat is much slower than previous games and there’s not really anything added onto the base gameplay that makes it unique.
- Presentation: 4/5 – It’s boring to retread what I said about the last two games, but this game looks good, however unlike the other games this one has the most egregious examples of laziness and reusing assets. Reused audio, animations and music makes for some good presentation that’s sadly bogged down by the ever hanging feeling of laziness with how much is reused.
- Enjoyability: 3/5 – This game’s lack of unique character moments, redone story and frankly dull gameplay really does dampen how enjoyable it is for me, I don’t exactly hate it, it is still fun in places and the gameplay is well done, it just lacks real substance.
Final Grade: 3/5
Man…I didn’t really finish this with a bang did I? This game honestly just feels tacked on an unnecessary, which isn’t true because under the surface there is still a lot to like. The story and characters are great, but they don’t resonate because they’re just reused and recycled. I feel like this game tried it’s best with what it was given, and I also really do feel sorry for the team as they had to rework a few aspects of their game to better conform with the oppressive policies set out by Sony, policies which ultimately lead to the departure of the series creator from Marvelous games. As a Senran Kagura game it’s only ok, but for a general gaming experience, go and replay the original Burst instead.
I feel kinda bad with this one, the lack of anything original in this game has made this a really short review compared to others in this month, I wish there was more I can do. We’ve got 3 more days of Senran Celebrations Month left, but you know what, I might add a ,little bonus day towards the end, to make up for the lack of anything substantial here. What will it be about? Well that’s a secret, until then,. stay tuned for the next Senran Kagura review with the switch/pc spin-off dating sim Reflections, this is gonna be a big one.
Thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed it, if you did please consider leaving a like and following my blog for updates on future posts. Also follow me on twitter @joe_reviews for further updates and general nonsense. Till next time.