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Capsule Review: Senran Kagura Estival Versus

A brawler starring busty schoolgirl ninjas who take clothing damage. A direct sequel to Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus that is mostly bigger and better - the cast has grown to twenty-eight playable characters without DLC (with the fun variety and unfortunate character shallowness that implies) and while you still fight through rooms of enemies to get to the boss at the end, the combat is more satisfying and feels less like filler - due partly to just looking better and having more on-screen enemies at once on the PS4, and partly to it serving as an important adjustment period since you’re rotating between so many characters all the time.

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Capsule Review: Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson

A brawler starring busty schoolgirl ninjas who take clothing damage. A direct sequel to Senran Kagura Burst, but with a bit more depth and less breadth than the Vita’s Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus. The cast is the same as Burst (plus an optional male joke character) but combat is deeper, fighting styles are more varied, and there’s a new pair-battle system allowing two girls to work together to clear levels.

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Capsule Review: Senran Kagura Bon Appétit!

A rhythm game starring busty schoolgirl ninjas who take clothing damage. Like most rhythm spin-offs, this game is basically competent but hard to recommend for folks who aren’t already fans of the franchise. Story mode has the cast of Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus taking part in a cooking tournament. Each girl has their own story, all of which are very silly (and non-canon, not that Senran Kagura has a particularly well-defined canon).

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Capsule Review: Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus

A brawler starring busty schoolgirl ninjas who take clothing damage. Bigger in many ways than its 3DS predecessor, but some of these are mixed bags. As the game area is now 3D, it’s often compared to Dynasty Warriors but this is not entirely fair - while you do take on large numbers of weak enemies simultaneously in a combat system that’s heavy on combos and special attacks, each level is a linear series of rooms that you can’t leave until you mop up all the enemies.

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Capsule Review: Senran Kagura Burst

A sidescrolling brawler starring busty schoolgirl ninjas who take clothing damage. The game supposedly exists because the creator wanted to see breasts in 3D, and you should definitely steer clear if you don’t enjoy fanservice of the cheesecake variety. But the game is surprisingly well put-together and there’s a lot of other things to enjoy here.

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Capsule Review: Valkyria Chronicles

I really, really want to like this game. (So much so that I bought it three times!) It’s got a distinctive and gorgeous watercolor art style, likeable characters in an anime alternate universe retelling of World War II, and a really cool hybrid of action RPG and turn-based tactical RPG. The first few hours are a blast, with missions that put you in complicated but understandable situations and demand you use your tools to triumph.

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Capsule Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Structurally the same as its predecessor (a visual novel in which you investigate murders and then solve them in courtroom sequences) but with much improved writing - characters are more consistent, revelations are (usually) more interesting and more plausible, and atmospherics are put to better use. While respectful of the first game and its fans, it does poke fun at or brutally deconstruct some of the more cliche or implausible elements while paving over some plot holes.

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Capsule Review: Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

A visual novel in which you play as one of several trapped high school students and investigate a series of murders and then solve them in an informal courtroom. It’s a hodgepodge of plot/characters/themes/mechanics that wears its influences on its sleeve - primary sources include Ace Attorney, Zero Escape, and a dash of Persona 4, though there are many other works that are referenced or stolen from and the game applies its own distinctive aesthetic on top.

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Capsule Review: Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

An RPG that brings Sonic the Hedgehog and friends into the world of turn-based battles, dungeon-diving, and dialog menus. The characterization is solid, with strong dialog that allows every personality to shine. If you like these characters, it might be enough to keep you going despite the game’s significant problems.

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Capsule Review: Persona 4: Dancing All Night

A rhythm game with a story mode that intersperses visual novel scenes starring the cast of Persona 4 plus a few new characters. It’s a satisfying spinoff with a competent story that avoids the pitfalls of other P4 spinoff games - established characters aren’t derailed and new characters aren’t spotlight-stealing Mary Sues.

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