Review | Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash (PS4)
The Senran Kagura series has always looked like simple fan service, and Peach Beach Splash doesn’t hold back on this perception either. But is there anything more to the title, as there has been with prior Senran Kagura titles?
Despite what it seems, Senran Kagura isn’t purely fan service. Every character has a reason to fight, and Peach Beach Splash follows suit with multiple stories from various groups and the women that belong to each group. Each group’s story is split into a ten-stage campaign with plenty of scenes both before and after each match you play. I won’t spoil anything here, but just say that Peach Beach Splash does have an interesting story you wouldn’t expect just looking at the series, although the meat of the game is in the gameplay itself.
I will advise, for those new to the series, that Senran Kagura follows the lives of various female ninjas hailing from a variety of schools of both study and thought. Some of these get along in a friendly rivalry, while others can’t stand each other at all. As such, every tournament, no matter the form, is their chance to prove that they are better than the rest, and Peach Beach Splash invites the girls to a paradise island in the middle of winter-turned-summer so that they can calm the scorching spirits that are heating things up. The hosts have also noted that the winners will be granted anything they wish, so everybody dons up their gear and the games begin.
As you start up the game, you can choose between two main modes. The first is the solo campaign, which features numerous stories for the characters. Then you have multiplayer, putting you to work in either 3-versus-3 or 5-versus-5 matches, in your choice of ranked or unranked.
The campaign mode gives each group a set of ten stages that explains quite a bit, but oddly enough, the gameplay feels more like filler to keep you going rather than the story. There is also another single player mode that pits you with tackling a tournament, placing you in stage after stage until you manage to win the cup.
The gameplay is quite simple… at first. It is further complicated later on as you begin to level your characters, weapons, and skill cards that they can equip, however. It should be noted that levelling, while it does require experience, isn’t quite done the standard way, as the experience necessary will actually be gained from extra cards obtained as you open trading card packs granted at the end of each stage. As you win the more difficult battles, you actually obtain packs increasing in value that hold more than common cards.
As you obtain duplicates of cards, they are placed into a storage and can be broken down into the aforementioned experience to level up what you desire. As such, checking out the campaign can be quite beneficial over just diving right into multiplayer, as you learn everything as well as level up. Of course the campaigns are also enjoyable, so that’s another reason not to just dive into the multiplayer aspect.
The fast-paced gameplay is enhanced by this support system, taking the best ideas from a tournament arena shooter and granting each character different styled weapons. The main difference is that every weapon is actually a water gun, and thus requires pumping in order to refill/reload once you have emptied it of the reservoir. Interestingly enough, said reservoirs can even be used to power jetpacks and dash through the map.
On the maps, there are quite a few places for you to snipe at others while utilizing the aforementioned method to get to a higher level or dash under cover as you are assaulted. Keep in mind that each style of these water guns has its own range, and thus it becomes crucial, at least in the harder matches, to utilize the environment if you don’t want to be taken out too easily.
Things aren’t just about fighting water with water, however, as each character can also, in limited fashion, utilize her physical weapons to nail those who come too close.
As you win or lose matches, you can enter a shop to purchase accessories and outfits that can be equipped, which should come as no surprise to fans of the series.
Graphics and Sound
Honestly, the game looks and sounds quite nice. The art style is quite beautiful and the music typically feels quite fitting to the scenarios.
Honestly, before playing the first Senran Kagura title I’d tried, I fell into the, “This is just going to be fan service and not a decent game at all, ” school of thought. I was proven wrong then, and Peach Beach Splash continues to prove that line of thought incorrect, delivering fast-paced arena combat supported by an interesting card-based system and multiple storylines. There’s definitely plenty for fans and new players alike to enjoy within the title, and it is quite sure to keep you going for a while.
Final Score: 4.25/5