Featuring over sexualized female ninjas from different schools of training who would normally be super best friends forever but are destined to fight each other because that’s simply what they are supposed to do, Senran Kagura 2 Deep Crimson’s story is certainly not winning any awards but it’s just the right amount of over the top cheesy to make it entertaining. My enjoyment of this game came from the exact same place as watching a terrible horror movie, it’s just so bad you find yourself laughing at how ludicrous it all is. Every scene is melodramatic, the ninjas are just so understanding of each other, but they gotta fight and nothing can change that! Every character is a stereotype and is constantly put in sexualized situations. Fighting causes clothes to literally explode off the body showing off the physics engine of the game. Nothing in this game is held back and it all works in its favor, since without it this game simply does not work.
One of my favorite genres is beat-em-up. Turtles in Time and Fighting Force are probably my two favorite games from this genre. They offered fairly simple controls and aiming your attacks was easy. (I know this because I played these games when I was 10 and didn’t have much trouble with them) Senran Kagura 2 Deep Crimson does not fall into this category.
With two main attack buttons with specials activated by holding L and then an attack, a jump button, and a sprint button. These controls in themselves are not all that complicated, however it is terribly imprecise. Some characters are definitely better than others, but with a cast of over 10 playable characters figuring that out can be quite the chore. Especially since missions have intended characters to use, the chances of the mission having a decent character is few and far between.. Despite the 3D creating depth and perspective I always found myself missing my attacks and being performed later than I was anticipating. Changing directions is pretty slow and clunky and involves a far too long animation of the character “rounding a corner”. Feels very strange compared to the quick ninja action of the attacks. What is created is a system that works against crowds of enemies but makes the one on one boss battles unnecessarily difficult. A lot of my attacks, specials especially, ended up going wide and missing my target completely. Outside of the missions stages where you play through the story of the game, you can do the regular stuff like look at records, see mission progress, change characters and equipment, and then there is the dressing room… Where you dress different characters and place them in ridiculous outfits and even more ridiculous poses.
Lastly, visually, this game is great. I’m not talking about the fact that it’s a bunch of scantily clothed ninjas. Overall the quality of the graphics and art put into the game is higher than the rest of the game. Everything is crisp and well represented on screen. I never had an issue with finding my character on screen. The only reason I ever had an issue seeing anything all had to do with the terrible camera which allowed enemies to hide in the foreground outside of the camera view. This was a major contributor to a lot of the issues I had with the controls. The field of vision is so small which just doesn’t work in a 3D brawler. It looks like a 2D brawler having you go around on a single plane, but since that isn’t the case you keep losing enemies off screen. It was difficult hunting those enemies down often running past them and missing attacks because they would appear on screen so suddenly.
Senran Kagura 2 Deep Crimson is an entertaining experience. It offered the same level of enjoyment as a B Horror Movie. Bad writing, extreme character stereotypes, over the top everything, and good visuals all come together surprisingly well. Unfortunately the controls and camera don’t meet expectations and they get in the way of the overall experience. It’s worth checking out for a good laugh. Outside of fans of the series, those that love melodrama, and people who want to see the worst ninja uniforms ever explode off the ladies wearing them, I don’t recommend this game.