Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal review (PC)

A remake of a game that first appeared on the Nintendo 3DS back in 2013, Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal is now out for Playstation 4 and Steam. We playtested the game on a PC for this review.

I don’t play much on my 3DS (I didn’t even realize it’s been around as long as it has), and I certainly never played the original Senran Kagura Burst on the handheld. I did however play both the Estival Versus and Shinovi Versus games in the franchise, and this new remake brings Burst closer to those games than the 3DS original.

Unlike the recent Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash, basically a first person shooter meets wet t-shirt contest, Burst Re:Newal goes back to the combat roots of the series. It also goes for a full 3D approach (similar to Estival and Shinovi), while the 3DS original (perhaps ironically) was more of a 2D fighter. It’s great to see that the developers went the extra mile with the conversion of the original Burst for today’s systems, rather than the easy way of doing things – supporting a higher resolution and calling it a day.

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What hasn’t changed is the underlying story, and Burst Re:Newal is the first opportunity to experience it outside of the 3DS realm. Burst was the first title to come westward as well, which makes it an extra worthwhile entry for fans of the series (for whom the Japanese originals are a step too far). Voiceover work for the game hasn’t been localized though, so depending on your personal taste that could be a factor for you.

If you’ve played any of the previous Senran Kagura titles within this genre, both the setup and gameplay will be familiar. You’re dealing with rivaling shinobi schools for young girls, and it’s a pretty heated kind of rivalry where you can fight on either side of the conflict. If you’re not familiar with any of the previous Senran Kagura titles, then perhaps the “Musou” style of the Dynasty Warriors franchise is a good frame of reference.

Of course, with Burst Re:Newal being a Senran Kagura game, female nudity is also very much “a thing” once again. It’s toned down a bit on the console (PS4) version, so you’ll want the PC version if that’s part of the appeal for you. Sexuality is explored mainly through language and some (partial) nudity, though the recurring dressing room scenes still feel unnecessary to me even though they also double as a character customization option.

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Luckily, there’s also an interesting gameplay-related twist to the nudity. In combat, having fewer clothes on means you’re stronger on offense – on account of increased agility, I would reckon. There’s a downside as well, and it’s that you’re more vulnerable to damage without (a lot of) clothes on. Makes sense, and the tradeoff adds a nice little tactical layer to the combat as well.

Basically, if you enjoyed Estival Versus and Shinovi Versus, you’re going to enjoy the opportunity to go back in time and relive the Burst story with a visual/gameplay upgrade to bring it in line with more recent Senran Kagura titles. If the franchise didn’t have much of a draw to you, then this won’t change your mind.

Score: 6.7/10

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