Senran Kagura 2 Deep Crimson – Review

Title   Senran Kagura 2 Deep Crimson
Developer  Tamsoft
Publisher  Marvellous
Platform  Nintendo 3DS
Genre  Action, side-scrolling
Release Date  August 27th, 2015
Official Site

deepcrimson1If breasts are among your favourite things, that pretty much makes you the target audience of Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson, a game that’s about teenage ninjas and world-threatening demons, but mostly is about big boobs. In fact, it’s part of a series about ninja knockers that, with the addition of Deep Crimson, now numbers three games, five manga series and an anime, all since 2011 when the first game, Shifting Shadows, was released. With that sort of output, it’d be easy to assume that this third game in five years could be a slapdash attempt to cash in on the growing popularity of the series, but you’d be very wrong. Under all that heaving flesh, there’s a seriously fun game.

Mechanically, Deep Crimson is a side-scrolling hack and slash. Your character of choice – initially one of the five girls introduced in the previous games – tackles enemy after enemy in three dimensional arenas that are impossible to leave until you’ve defeated all your foes. There’s not a lot of depth to the combat, in all honesty – each character has their own weaponry and fighting style but, for the most part, it boils down to mashing X until you’ve hit your enemies enough to build up meter for a special move, and then using that. Sometimes you can hit Y for a bit of a change up, but in the early stages of the game, at least, it’s all about mashing away at X.


At least, it is until you’ve defeated the first couple of big bosses, and the opportunity to fight alongside another ninja is presented. This allows you to pair up characters to fight together, literally switching between them mid combo to extend the and amplify damage. When things are going especially well you can even pull off a team special attack which, very impressively, are changed completely depending on which girls you have teamed together. Each pair has their own unique team attack that is beautifully animated and does a different amount of damage, though it is almost always worth spending the meter that you have charged up. The more the characters fight together, the more affinity they gain towards each other, and the more damage they do together. Certain pairs have a natural affinity towards each other, which is often complemented by their individual styles working well together, but affinity can also be built up from zero if there are two specific characters you enjoy using together.

deepcrimson3Each character also has, alongside their individual styles, their own separate stats that contribute to power and how long their health bar is. When that health bar hits zero, you fail the mission but, for the most part, it’s barely glanced at, as there is another way to know how your health is looking. As characters take more and more damage, their clothes are, quite literally, blown away. Early in the game, basic enemies have their clothes blown away after an attack or two, but by the latter stages the slow mos and zooms that accompany clothes bursting off come with their own little explosion of triumph, and bursts against your own character are met with despair.

That’s not the only part clothes play in combat either – characters have two outfits each. They start most missions in their civilian clothes, but in order to use their special moves and, in some cases, have access to their full combos, they need to change into their shinobi outfits. When this is cued, the screen cuts to that character exclusively, as their civilian clothes disappear – leaving them clad in only a swimsuit – and their shinobi clothes are applied (with close ups and extra jiggling).

Which brings us back to boobs. If the copius amount on display during play isn’t enough for you, there is also the changing-room mode, in which you can play dress up with any of the playable characters. This allows you to change either of their outfits, each with their own swimsuit, plus hair and accessories. Mostly, though, it’s just further opportunity to gawk at breasts again. Having said that, I did have a bunch of fun picking outfits for each character that I felt suited their personality, and by the time you’re a few chapters deep, there is loads to choose from.


In fact, the amount of content that Deep Crimson hurls at you is really impressive. Alongside the story mode – which is easily nearly a dozen hours of content just by itself – and the dressing room, there is also a training mode, where you can work on all the little parts of the combat that you’ve not yet got a grip on, a mission mode, where you have to defeat hordes of enemies under specific conditions – a personal favourite is a mission where you can only do damage to enemies with aerial attacks, which requires you to launch them into the air before you can hurt them – and the Yoma’s Nest, a mode where you battle through consecutive rooms of enemies for as long as you can without healing. Oh, and did I mention that you can replay the storyline battles with other characters in the hopes of getting a better score? Clearing stages in the mission modes rewards you with Shinobi Stones, which can be equipped to characters and provide buffs to things like grounded attack damage, while clearing specific rooms in the Yoma’s Nest unlocks new weapons for the girls. These weapons are only cosmetic changes, but each girl has several of them, and by the time you’ve worked through a few hours with each girl, little cosmetic differences make for a great change of pace.

Initially, the story mode is where you’ll spend the bulk of your time, working through sixty three missions – the shortest taking only two or three minutes, while the grindier boss battles could take upwards of eight. Each mission comes with a minute or two of dialogue between the girls – fully voice acted in Japanese, which sounds really great throughout – that slowly builds up a decent tale. Sure, it’s chock full of hackneyed elements like the power of friendship and the realisation that the good shinobi and evil shinobi aren’t so different after all – and hell, they even make a good team! – but it’s still pretty sweet, and far better than I was expecting.

deepcrimson5It didn’t take me long to find some affection for most of the characters, each of whom are pleasingly different and, at times, conflicted. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that, at many points, Deep Crimson had it’s tongue lodged firmly in cheek. The girls often complain that their clothes keep getting wrecked, and at one point there is a series of battles that take place at a hot springs with the combatants wearing nothing but towels. The willingness to switch between silly, fun storylines and the semi-serious overarching story, essentially on a dime, is refreshing, and helps keep the main plot from becoming stale, as it occasionally threatens to do.

There are problems with Deep Crimson, of course. Not all of the characters are fun to play as; the two lead characters feel fluid and powerful from the get go, but a few of the others feel stilted and awkward. One is even deliberately underpowered, which fits with her character arc but isn’t really reflected in any of the battles that she faces; they invariably take a couple of attempts to clear, and when you do finally manage it’s with a sigh of relief rather than a grin of triumph. Even worse, by the time you reach the end of the game you’re juggling a cast of more than ten playable characters, and though you get a little time with each, there’s no real opportunity to really get to grips with anyone. It’s a shame, because some of the more awkward characters really come to life when you put in a little practice to understand how they work, practice that you don’t get a chance to put in over the course of the story.


There are also a few problems with the camera, with enemies flying away and disappearing, leading to a merry chase as you can’t quite find where they landed, and even struggling to find your enemy mid combo. There is some attempt to rectify this with a lock on mechanic, but it doesn’t really work and is awkward to implement mid combat. There are several other mechanics that are introduced early in the story, but are barely explained and, as such, I almost forgot existed. Every now and then I tried to use them, but they only sometimes worked, and I invariably went back to playing with the stuff that I was familiar with.

Plus, there’s just no getting away from the fact that this is a pervy game. There’s flesh and breasts all over the place, with slow-motion sequences and zooms making it impossible to escape. That’s all well and good when you’re sat on your couch at home, but this is a game for the 3DS and it doesn’t really feel all that portable. I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be playing it on the train or during my break at work. It really is brash and in your face, and that’s going to make a lot of people uncomfortable, even if it is so silly that there is really no way that it could be at all erotic.

deepcrimson7Mostly though, this is just a really fun game. It harnesses the sort of pulpy, feel good enjoyment that acknowledges its own issues, but doesn’t really care about them. Sure, the story is cliched; sure there is a whole lot of perviness going on. Yeah, the combat isn’t perfect, and at times there are weird difficulty spikes, which highlight that the other times are maybe a little easy. It doesn’t really matter though, because there is just a ton of fun to be had making some clothes explode, watching some boobs jiggle and mashing X until your thumb blisters.

Deep Crimson is the perfect B-Movie of games, embracing its flaws, being exactly what it wants to be and generally not giving a damn that ninjas with enormous, wobbly boobs is almost as dumb an idea as sharks in a tornado. I love it. It’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me.

  • Completely comfortable in itself
  • Good tongue-in-cheek humour
  • Just plain fun
  • Great audio work; both the voice acting and music is fantastic
  • Tons of content - you’ll be playing this on the train to work for weeks…
  • ... if you’re not too uncomfortable to play it in public
  • Some of the characters are awkward and weird to play
  • Very occasional camera issues

Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is brash and unapologetically about boobs. Ninjas and boobs. It knows what it is, it loves what it is, and it’s super fun because of that. Playing this has been some of the most downright enjoyable time I’ve spent gaming in ages, and I’ve got no doubt that I’ll be revisiting it for months to come, just because of the sheer amount of content that there is. It’s not going to be for everyone, that’s for sure, but if you’re in the market for a little handheld insanity - or just a little hilarious perviness - then this is a great shout. It’s fast, it’s fun and it’s chock full of content.

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