The Unknown Brawler
There are games out there that just aren’t for everyone; I don’t expect my die hard console friends to get deeply engrossed in Sins of a Solar Empire or Civilization. The problem is that the more niche the game and the genre the harder it is to either explain or identify to others the really good points which is why it seems weird that this title even came out in the states. Heavily anime and visual novel inspired Senran Kagura is more in line with what you would expect from a small PS2 or PS1 release that would go unnoticed, and Nintendo is not doing it any favors by burying it in the e-shop as hard as they can. Too bad for all of its highlights and fan boy appeal it is still flawed.
Much like last year’s Code of Princess, Senran Kagura is a brawler with RPG elements. Unlike the previous year’s game it never really seems to get very deep or rewarding with combat regardless of the amount of time invested in it. Leveling up, or improving the Yin or Yang meters, does unlock new moves for whichever one of the five girls achieved that. Interestingly all of the characters—five on the light, five on the dark, and one unlockable on each side—play entirely differently, for better or worse. Much like a fighting game most people will gravitate towards a set of characters and play them, which is fine for the free missions but all story missions must be completed by one specific character to progress. This becomes a problem when you are about a third of the way through the game and have to run head first into a boss battle with an unknown level 1 character.
What it comes down to is that Senran Kagura is a game that is designed for exactly the people who have been waiting for over a year for it to hit our shores and die hard anime fans who don’t mind their fandom being a touch rough around the edges. In fact the game isn’t even really that bad as it is a really good first step to making something that is really impressive (even though this is the second game in the series) and could be a wonderful experience if just a little more polish. The game is also flush with content, something that most people don’t expect from their download only titles let alone a budget 30 dollar release. The problem is that for everyone that already isn’t convinced about this game there is probably no winning them over but that seems ok as Nintendo has hidden this game to the point of making it impossible to find unless you are searching specifically for it.