In the Senran Kagura world of walking, breathing, huggable plush girls with overstuffed chests, the shinobi of varying factions fight each other to the death.
That is honestly the most concise way to summarize the overall plot. Because there are 4 different factions, each with their own story, the plot of Shinovi Versus is much harder to summarize than the first game.
The most common plot point of the 4 of them is the Shinobi Battle Royale, an age-old contest in which students of one school must fight those of the other and the loser must have their school (or home) burned down.
The heroic students of Hanzo are challenged to this contest by the elites of the new Gessen school, whose goals are to eliminate all evil and make their headmaster, a friend of Hanzo himself, proud. But what they're doing may not be what he really wants...
Meanwhile, Homura's band of former Hebijo Academy elites, now on the run after the first game's climax, clash with a new team of elites that have replaced them to restore the school's honor.
|There are actually deeper motivations than that.|
With four 5-chapter stories to play through, Shinovi Versus is a much longer game than Burst, which doesn't exactly work in its favor in this case. Each story seems to have at least one filler chapter that contributes very little to the plot at hand, and what plot there is isn't as tightly woven or well-paced as it was in the first game. There are fewer visual novel segments of the girls simply interacting, and instead those are reserved for backstory exposition.
Not bad exposition, mind you. Obviously more exposition is given to the new girls, but more details about the already-introduced Hanzo girls are also explained. Regardless of how extensive the exposition gets, much of what made the first game special is still present. Every character is well-established and very lovable thanks to the perfect voice acting and fun character designs.
She's also fun to fight with. Murakumo dual-wields a spear in one hand and a meat cleaver in the other, and her ninpo uses her wolf friends to attack.
The same happens in the game's online multiplayer, where the frantic pace comes to a peak. It's required for there to be at least 4 players (AI opponents are optional), and that means four players beating each other down, giving little room to fight back and all without the flashy shots of clothing damage and ninpo activation that give the game flair in single player. I like the idea of these games being competitive fighters, but there's simply not enough finesse to it here, and the two DLC characters are so powerful it feels like a pay to win situation.
The game's DLC on the whole rubs me the wrong way. The two characters you have to pay for are the goddess of shonen Daidouji and the Hebijo Instructor Rin, both of whom were already playable in Burst and make appearances in Shinovi Versus' story. They should be a given.
And like Dead or Alive 5, there are loads of clothes and accessories for the girls you can buy, mostly for 50 cents to a dollar each along with a few free ones (having everyone's hair be interchangeable, for example). I wouldn't mind this so much if the outfits already in the game didn't seem so paltry.
Not counting color changes and everyone's interchangeable defaut outfits, I'd say there are roughly as many outfits and accessories as Burst, only without the extra flair. There's only one style of pajamas a shinobi can transform into as opposed to the animal variants in Burst, the extra copies of Yagyu and Mirai's eyepatches aren't present, and favorites like the Ninto plushie and policewoman outfit are both paid DLC.
I suppose there's more variety given in that you can adjust the size and where to put accessories on any part of the girl's bodies, but I feel like there isn't enough given to play with. All they've given us more to play with is the ways in which you're able to bother the girls in the dressing room.
|Epic kawaii cooking shonen action!|