IFI’s popular Neptunia franchise has crossed over with the world of Senran Kagura – how did the hybrid turn out? We tested out the PlayStation 4 version of Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars.
Both game worlds are well represented in this crossover production, but gameplay-wise Ninja Wars is more like the hack and slash action that’s more prevalent in the Senran Kagura games than the RPG-like gameplay of the Neptunia games. The console-inspired Neptunia characters Neptune, Noire, Blanc and Vert are all featured, as are Asuka, Homura, Yumi and Miyabi from the Senran Kagura games. For the occasion, they meet up in a world called Gamninjustri to really drive home the crossover nature of the game, joining forces to fight the Steeme Legion.
One of the problems that any crossover game is likely to have is that, by nature, it’s going to stray from the formula of the original games. Here, that means that you get hack and slash gameplay that might not appeal to Neptunia fans, with a padded out narrative delivery that’s not uncommon for Neptunia fans, but might deter Senran Kagura players. If you were never drawn to one of these two franchises, you’re going to have to put up with gameplay that isn’t quite up your alley.
There are plenty of players who enjoy both games though, and they’ll find a game that blends them very well. Gone are the turn-based battles of Neptunia, but there’s still plenty of exploration and narrative exposition. Once you hit a combat scenario, expect a drastic shift with tons of attacks, special ninja skills, extreme attacks and element-based power boosts. It’s a lot rougher around the edges than (for example) a Warriors title in terms of mechanics and camera work, but a lot of people don’t give Senran Kagura enough credit and only see the sexy exterior of the game. It’s accessible yet involved, and Ninja Wars is a fun hack and slash-centered adventure.
In battles, you can dynamically change between the two characters you take into battle, with the inactive character slowly recharging their health. Fighting also lets you gain experience and level up, which builds out your options in future battles by giving you new skills to use. There are other RPG-elements like Spirit Gems and upgradeable equipment as well, so they’ve done a good job of mixing up gameplay styles even though certain elements are strictly home to just one of the franchises and alien to the other one.
This is a game best suited to those who already enjoy both franchises, and will entertain those loyal to just one of them as well – though it’s likely they’ll have to put up with elements that aren’t quite up their alley. If you’re completely new to the source material, this fan service-heavy outing isn’t the starting point you’re looking for – there are too many references that would elude you and there are better hack and slash games out there.