SENRAN KAGURA: Burst Re:Newal is a game that continued to surprise me. It’s a competent braless, brawler that goes back to the series’ beginnings. Despite it’s sometimes cartoony and jiggly presentation, there is plenty to keep you playing long after the visual novelty has worn off. If you are not easily offended and a fan of giant boobs, this is a decent game that deserves your attention.
Let’s address something at the beginning. The game is very chest-focused with plenty of cleavage from the bountiful bouncing boobs on these busty beauties. There is no nudity, but there are shots of physics defying sweater stretchers for days. If this makes you uncomfortable, unhappy, or downright offended, cool. This isn’t for you. If you have a sense of humor about it, or have seen an anime or two, you’ll be fine, and it shouldn’t keep you from enjoying the game.
SENRAN KAGURA: Burst Re:Newal is a remake of a game that originally appeared on the 3DS. It has been completely remade in 3D and tells the story of the girls from Hanzo National Academy and Hebijo Clandestine Girl’s Academy. They are actually two separate story campaigns with a total of 41 missions each.
The story concept is simple but cool. There are two kinds of shinobi, good and evil. Evil shinobi work for the rich and powerful. They are mercenaries paid to assassinate without any real qualms about the target. The good shinobi were founded by the government to stop those evil mercenaries. Although the individual stories are generally closer to a basic, cute anime and generally lighthearted (including the obligatory trip to the beach), there is a very serious overarching narrative.
The gameplay is really split into two parts. There are character interactions and missions. The character interactions are mostly told through a visual novel style, and I was initially disappointed that they weren’t fully animated. This feeling went away quickly, because there is plenty of depth here. Each character has struggled with something or someone in their life with a problem they need to solve. It’s more worthwhile than you initially expect, and it helps to illuminate the personality and motivations.
The missions start off easy. You will have to fight a wave or two of underlings, while some missions pit you against another student from one of the schools. Throughout the game, you will have a chance to fight as and against each character and sometimes more than once. You can select your favorite fighter in a mission if you have a best girl.
The fighting is actually more open with more flexibility and depth than you initially expect. Block timing is important to keep from becoming a punching bag, but even the more casual button masher can complete the game with a little effort. Three different difficulties allow you to choose the level of “git gud” you want to achieve, and later missions will push you.
Combat is layered and features a strong aerial component. At its core, there are light and strong attacks with combos, allowing you to throw someone into the air and continue attacking. There are also special moves particular to a character. Continuing to reduce another character’s health bar will also reduce the state of their clothing. The loser is left wearing only their undergarments or with bright white lights where their upper and lower lady parts are if the clothes are completely blown off.
When you want to switch to another style or your garments are looking a little worn, you will perform a “Shinobi Transformation”. This is only allowed after you have begun to fill the diamond gauges underneath your health bar. The transformation sequence strips the girls of any clothing with the flashlight effect once again covering the nudity so Uncle PlayStation doesn’t have to worry, and gives the girls new clothes and a new fighting style.
Once transformed, you can also use some of your secret shinobi arts. These moves deal a lot of damage, and they are visually interesting as well. One of them unleashes a giant squid to hit your opponent. One of them makes the girl a giant to stomp the enemies. Mastering these moves is awesome, and using them at the right time can shift an entire fight in your favor.
If you just keep hitting them, you will also fill up another gauge. Once filled, you can activate it to increase your attack power until it runs out, and you will finish the fight will a powerful attack. Within a single school, the characters handle differently from each other and, after some experience or by watching the AI, a character you previously felt was weak has some powerful moves.
After completing a mission, you are given a letter score, experience to increase the character’s level, and money. Pictures, music, and accessories are unlocked, and all of these can be purchased in the game’s store.
As with prior games, you can pose and change the outfits and accessories of your characters. There are different costumes, bathing suits, and ways to emphasize a certain aspect of the character. I applied everything I could from cat ears and tails to angel wings. Most of them are cute, but I had no need for used underwear.
Unless I missed it, you can only add one accessory to a character, and I wish I could have added more. Anything you add will appear in the cinematics, so it was something I could always appreciate during the game. For some reason, I could only accessorize the characters from Hanzo, not Hebijo, and I this was a real bummer.
For a game made on the 3DS, the fighting animations are awesome, and, considering the technological gap between it and the PS4, the overall presentation is not bad. Sword slashes, kicks, and special moves combine into fast and colorful combat. The static backgrounds still show it’s less capable origins, and they are not as eye-catching. They are blander, and the same areas are repeated frequently.
Those visual effects are often hampered by a bad camera and a little too much on the screen that hides the attacks I need to block. There is an on-screen indicator that shows you are about to be hit, and you have to time your block to stun the enemy and stop the hit. If you are surrounded, the camera may move into a position that obscures that indicator. It also swung behind other objects that partially blocked the screen, allowing me to take a few hits before I adjusted my position.
The overall sound is good. Sound effects themselves are basic, but the voice acting is great. Presented in Japanese with subtitles, the voices are exactly like you might expect for each of the character archetypes. I wouldn’t have wanted an English cast, and I never felt like I was missing something without it.
SENRAN KAGURA: Burst Re:Newal really surprised me with all it had to offer. Tucked underneath those ample bosoms is a competent fighter with a lot of depth and gameplay in campaign missions, free missions, upgrades, and different difficulties. If you have liked previous games, give this one a look.
SENRAN KAGURA Burst Re:Newal PS4 Review
SENRAN KAGURA Burst Re:Newal is a busty brawler bulging with content. There are two story campaigns, free missions, and the series trademark character customization for you to craft the perfect appearance for your best girl.
Although I had some trouble with the camera and parts of the game showed its 3DS origins, this is a great remake with a deeper move set and strategy than you might initially expect from a game where the goal is to kick and punch off an enemy’s clothes.
Lots of content
Combat is fast and fluid with more depth
Individual stories are good at fleshing out characters
Accessories are fun
Camera angles can occasionally block your view
Backgrounds are used frequently and look dated
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
Jason became terminally addicted to videogames after receiving the NES at an early age. This addiction grew to include PC gaming and was cemented with the launch of the PS2. From then on, he was afflicted with epic RPGs, tense shooters, and deep strategy games, never becoming skillful, but never able to quit. He continues to play games (poorly) and share his passion for them to anyone willing to listen.