Posts by Tag / GAME: Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal (6)

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The Platform is the Playstyle

I’ve now tried two console adaptations of 2.5D brawlers that were originally on the 3DS: Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal, a PS4/PC remake of 3DS title Senran Kagura Burst, and Code of Princess EX, an enhanced Switch port of 3DS title Code of Princess. Despite being from different developers, some commonalities immediately stand out that seem likely to be due to their shared origins.

  1. Levels, particularly early ones, are very short - the first ones are on the order of a minute or two.
  2. Longevity is provided through level grinding and recombining existing content (clear every level with every character!).

This sort of setup makes sense for a handheld that might be unable to hold large or complex levels in memory, might not have storage for lot of unique content, and might be played for just a few minutes at a time on a train or whatever. It makes less sense on a more-powerful home console where the player is more likely to be looking for an experience to sink their teeth into. The first time I tried Code of Princess EX, I actually put it down and played something else because I was tired of navigating menus every couple of minutes just to get into the next level.

It’s easy to forget how much the platform on which a game is released can change the design constraints and best practices for that game. (Like a game design subset of “the medium is the message”.) This is why it’s particularly interesting that PC and consoles have been becoming more similar for years, and now the Switch is bridging the gap to handhelds - while there are many upsides, we should also expect this to reduce the variety of game experiences on offer.

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Capsule Review: Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal

A remake of Senran Kagura Burst, updating the buxom-ninja-schoolgirl brawling action from a 2.5D sidescroller to full 3D while keeping the original story. The gameplay and graphics have taken several steps up along with a few quality-of-life improvements while the old mission structure and story are maintained faithfully - to the point of using literally the same text and art (in higher resolution) as before.

Read more...

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I Miss Rivalries in Senran Kagura

Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal’s faithful retelling of the original Senran Kagura Burst’s story is bittersweet. It’s a reminder of why I fell in love with the series in the first place, but it can’t help but also remind me of the fact that the later games have gone in a different direction that I find much less appealing. While I’m enjoying it more than I’ve enjoyed a Senran Kagura game in years, it doesn’t make me confident for the next game in the series if the way they’ve found to tell me a story I like as much as the first story is to just… tell me the first story again.

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Is Burst Re:Newal Too Faithful?

When is a game remake too faithful?

I’ve been playing through Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal, a PS4 (and PC) remake of a several-year-old 3DS game. The action has been adapted from a 2.5D sidescrolling brawler to a full 3D one, with many tweaks and improvements to the combat and of course the graphics. The story structure and content are identical, which makes it a weird nostalgic mind trip to actually play. That’s mostly a good thing. But despite featuring easily the best combat the series has ever had, it still has one of the worst boss fights I’ve ever seen.

Late-game spoilers follow, but nothing I’d expect to ruin the game for anyone.

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I've started Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal and I'm...

I’ve started Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal and I’m not sure what to make of it yet, but it definitely has some wonderful little touches that suggest it’s a labor of love and not a cash-in and engine test on the way to Senran Kagura 7EVEN. Here’s my favorite example.

There’s new portrait art for each character, as is standard for a new installment in this series. But you can actually choose per character whether to use the new portrait or one from the original Senran Kagura Burst era.

I like this a lot, and have made use of it since I tend to prefer the old art to the new art. But on top of that - there’s absolutely no need for a feature like this, and it actually undercuts the new art that they’ve spent time and money on. Putting this in anyway is a sign of respect for the series and its longtime fans. It’s a good thing to see.

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Sequels Dilute Economic Votes

It’s not clear to me the extent to which various game developers/publishers understand that sales within a franchise can be a lagging indicator.

For example, I used to love the Senran Kagura series of games and I was happy to support it by buying the first several installments - especially the ones that were clearly experiments to see if the games would sell in the west. But the series has clearly lost steam, and the last few games have each been noticeably worse than the one before.

Now here comes Senran Kagura: Burst Re:Newal, a remake of the 3DS original for PC/PS4, and it sounds much better. The original story’s emotional and moral depth is what hooked me on the series in the first place, and this title not only returns to the brawler-style gameplay but apparently improves on it.

This is probably going to be the first Senran Kagura game that I rent instead of buying. My willingness to throw money at this series is dulled considerably after playing the fine-I-guess Estival Versus, the disappointing Peach Beach Splash, and the terrible Reflexions - all of which I did buy. So now I’ve supported bad games and won’t be supporting the presumably-improved one.

I just hope that either most players aren’t like me or the decision makers here understand how this works. But I guess if Burst Re:Newal is totally amazing, I’ll probably go buy it just in case.