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Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars

Cross-overs between video game franchises, like in Neptunia x Senran Kagura, have been a popular part of the industry since before there was one. Battletoads & Double Dragon was the first example that I can recall. It saw a few rentals at the Andriessen house in the early ’90s. This practice has roots that go back to years before Rare released the memorable brawler on NES. Super Robot Taisen and Konami Wai Wai World were the first to use this concept. They laid the foundation for future franchises such as Super Smash Bros. and Kingdom Hearts.

Some crossovers seem almost certain, such as Battletoads & Double Dragon and SNK vs. Capcom. Some crossovers are more unexpected. Neptunia: Ninja Wars is a member of the latter category. The two franchises have been linked by frequent developer Tamsoft since Neptune’s appearance in Senran Kagura : Peach Beach Splash. It was only a matter time before we had a good pairing, given the number of spinoffs and side-games both franchises have seen.

Neptunia and Senran Kagura are not a “proper pairing”. I believe that a “proper” pairing means that ideas and concepts are combined from both franchises to create something that is appealing to two different fan bases that may not overlap. The Venn Diagram that these two series fans have drawn is pretty close to creating a perfect circle. However, Senran Kagura fans who prefer the structure and side activities of Senran Kagura might be disappointed by what’s offered here. This isn’t NeptuniaxSenran Kagura, but it’s the “New Neptunia Game” featuring the Girls of Senran Kagura.

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Asuka and her friends are not the main characters in Neptune’s latest adventure, which sees Gamindustri reimagined under Gamninjustri. Inspired by ancient Japan, the world features two warring kingdoms, Marveland and Heartland, who agree to put aside their differences as they face an even greater threat that could bring down the whole world. Only way to save the world is to unite and fight through a few levels that are populated only by a small number of enemy combatants. The four Heartland heroes — Neptune Vert Blanc, Noire, and Vert — are available to players at first. But they soon find themselves joined by Marveland’s most powerful ninjas, Asuka Homura Yumi and Yumi.

The “group bath” scene is a saucy one.

The story is light, as with all Neptunia titles, and has low production values. However, it managed to make a few laughs. The emphasis is still on reference humor, with nods made to the game industry and the publishers of these franchises as well as past Neptunia games. The narrative is overwritten and leaves no exposition. This is just as it was with the previous games in this franchise. Each cutscene can last several minutes. While you can skip the entire story to jump straight to the action,neptunia x senran kagura 2 it’s possible to lose a lot of game if you cut out the majority of the story.

If the combat at the end was interesting and worthwhile, I would not mind spending so much time listening to the story. Unfortunately, the combat is very basic and only a small glimpse of what Tamsoft can do. Each mission allows players to choose two characters and can switch between them at will. Each character has a single button melee attack. It is possible to create a combo with one of them and then finish it with another.

Two long-distance projectiles are also available to characters, as well as four Ninja Art Skills which can be used loosely to do massive damage. Shinobi Extreme is another flashy attack. To unleash this powerful maneuver, fill up your character’s attack gauge. This is something you will save for bosses. Fuurinkazan Drive allows you to switch between battle types for short-term advantages. This makes it a decent fighting system. However, the action doesn’t stop long enough to frustrate players with endless cutscenes of gates opening or closing. If the auto-targeting system was more reliable. Or if it was easier to cancel combos and Ninja Art Skills.

The dodge mechanic works in this title as well as other Tamsoft titles. Be prepared to wait until the animation is finished before your character can dodge or block any attacks. If it wasn’t so easy to be attacked from behind the camera, or even through walls, this wouldn’t be a problem. To compare the action, I downloaded MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune and Senran Kagura Esteval Versus while I was playing this game. These titles were both created by Tamsoft and had more fluidity in their combat and movement. That’s something that I missed in Ninja Wars.

Also, I would have loved to seen more characters and content. Neptunia: x Senran Kagura takes 12 hours to complete and has some very blatant artificial inflation. To grind your character levels, you’ll be returning to the same maps frequently and completing optional requests that are not part of the story missions. You’ll be working with only 10 characters. Newcomers Goh The Crow and Yuuki are joining the four franchise protagonists. While Senran and Neptunia are obvious heroes, it is quite sad that other characters from these two large rosters didn’t make it into the game. This is especially true when you consider that MegaTagmension managed 15 playable characters, while Estival Versus had 34 when you add DLC.

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The roster is not the only thing that is lacking. There is not much extra content beyond combat. Ninja Wars does not include dressing rooms or diorama modes for those who enjoy Senran Kagura. The variety of costumes that the series has created over the years is also eliminated. You can also have some one-on-one fun with the girls. You will not find any additional activities here. The Peaches & cream Meditation mini-game uses motion controls to test your ability to balance the girls on a giant peach. You’ll earn buffs for your battle skills, and eventually you will be able to get tickets that allow you to skip the balancing while still earning the rewards.

The lack of commitment that I saw with the Peaches & cream mini-game is evident throughout Neptunia x Senran Kagura : Ninja Wars. It feels like the developers had no interest in providing players with anything more than a mindless hack-n’slash. The characters play almost identically, the requests you accept are all more or less the exact same, and the maps feel a lot like one another. From beginning to end, it’s a standard experience.

A crossover between the Senran Kagura and Neptunia series has so much potential that it’s disappointing that Tamsoft, Compile Heart and Idea Factory don’t have any. Instead of celebrating two niche franchises who have overcome the odds and critics to succeed in this business, it’s a forgettable spinoff for two series which have seen their fair share forgettable spinoffs. Both franchises and their fans deserve better.

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