Ever since its inception, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, or ESRB, has had the AO rating in its repertoire of ratings. AO, short for Adults Only, is a relatively rare rating to get with only 27 games ever getting the rating (now 28 with Hatred’s inclusion). Most of them get it for essentially being porn games, with very few getting it for violent acts and one getting it for real-money gambling. Unlike other rating boards around the world, the ESRB does not ban a game for having certain content nor does it refuse a rating (like the BBFC and Manhunt 2). However the AO rating is pretty much a kiss of death in the U.S. as no major retailer will carry an AO game (except maybe GameStop) and all three console manufacturers and Valve’s Steam (from what I’m guessing) don’t allow such games to be sold nor played on their respective services. This was back then when the only way to get your games was in brick and mortar stores.
But with the rise if digital storefronts, it’s now possible to release games with content that could be considered AO. On PC at least, while not rated, games like Katawa Shoujo and Monster Girl Quest probably wouldn’t see the light of day on Steam. And yet they have gained something of a healthy following. On top of this, those games are available directly from the developer’s/publisher’s websites. So in exchange for exposure, they get the freedom to sell whatever they want on their own terms.
So how exactly would games like these find a way on major storefronts like Steam or major consoles?
System: Nintendo 3DS/Publisher: XSEED Games/Developer: Tamsoft/Players: 1/Release Date: 11-14-13
There’s a steady pattern when it comes to 2D brawlers. You walk forward, some dudes show up, you bust some heads, and then told “GO”. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s been like this since the beginning, and almost unchanging. Sure you got the occasional extra move, super power, or RPG elements, but the core gameplay remains the same. Enter Senran Kagura Burst, a game that aims to deliver with fast-paced action and and bountiful plot. Does the game deliver a well-rounded experience, or does it deflate from the genre it is? Hit the jump to find out!
After many teases and inklings, we finally have confirmation that Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus will finally make it’s way westward, once again by XSEED. This entry of the game is a sequel to Senran Kagura Burst, and this one is a Vita game. First let’s talk how this will be sold. Not only will it be digital, there will also be a limited print run of Shinovi Versus. This edition will come with a soundtrack CD and a Shinobi Syllabus, a book containing illustrations, profiles, and strategies. I’m guessing it’ll be similar to the book that came with Shin Megami Tensei IV. XSEED hasn’t announced yet how one will be able to get a hold of these copies, though fans believe it could be through online shopfronts like Amazon. Pre-order methods have not been posted yet as of this writing.
I’ve been kicking this thought around from time to time, wondering to myself if the Brawler genre truly died. It was one of the grand staples of the 90s arcade scene with games like Final Fight, Streets of Rage, the D&D brawlers, and Double Dragon. In the jump to 3D, these games stuck around, but didn’t quite have the lasting appeal of its predecessors. Games like Die Hard Arcade and Fighting Force tried to fill the void, but it looked like the genre was on its way out. Or at least that’s that some in the media and community had proclaimed when less and less of these types of games were being released both at home and in the arcades. When games like The Warriors and Viewtiful Joe were released in the early and mid 2000s, some would even say that these games had revitalized the genre. But was there anything to really revive? Simple answer really: No. In fact, the genre was alive and well, it just took on a different name.
Among the staff here at The Wired Fish, there’s no mistaking that I like me some old-school games from my youth. Much of what I bought this past Christmas was old PS1 games off the Playstation Store, chief among them being Wild ARMs 2. When talking it up on Retro Weekends, I reminisce about simpler times when all I had to worry about was going to school, doing my homework, and get further in that new game I got. Times have changed, with life moving at a faster pace now that I’m older, and info being fed to me faster than any magazine ever could back then. So when I happened upon Senran Kagura Burst, I came in expecting pretty much what I expected (and being all the more happy for it). But the bodacious package came with a neat little treat that I didn’t expect.
Senran Kagura is getting extra Life and a bigger Hometowns as a sequel, Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson has been announced by Tamsoft. Starting off the confirmation of the sequel is a the addition of Co-op gameplay. While it wasn’t much of an issue in the original game, it’s odd for a brawler to not have it. So now it’s possible to have team ups like Asuka and Homura, or Haruka and Hibari. Local Co-op is a given, but it’s unknown if there will be online co-op as well. Alongside Co-op will be tag-team.
So if you’re like me, you’re balls-deep into Senran Kagura Burst. You played some missions, unlocked some sexy outfits, and picked out a favorite shinobi (mine’s Haruka if you’re wondering). However at some point during your bedazzlingly bodacious adventure, the camera can’t quite seem to get its act together. In other words, the camera just ping-pongs back and fourth. At first it’s a nuisance, but it gradually gets worse. For me, I was playing as Haruka (of course), and for some reason the camera started acting up. Since Haruka runs really slow, I thought it was probably her run speed that made the camera not know how to track her. This turned out to not be the case since I later played as Hikage, who’s much faster, and the camera was still glitching out, and this time it was much worse. When facing enemies, the camera’s all fine. But when moving on to the next wave, it begins to spaz out, only to correct itself when the next wave begins. Lather rinse repeat.
After many teases by XSEED of a pending fall release, they’ve finally confirmed that Senran Kagura Burst will finally come out on the 3DS exclusively on Nintendo eShop on November 14th. The story follows the girls of both the Hanzo National Academy and the Hebijo Clandestine Girls’ Academy. Both factions are shinobi academies, and both follow different ideologies of what a shinobi should stand for. On the Hanzo side, they feel that the shinobi should fight for the good of the people and strike down evil. On the Hebijo side, they’ll take on any jobs regardless of whose side you’re on as long as you pay good money, even if the job could be perceived as working for evil. Of course when both sides meet, sparks fly while clothing shreds. It’s safe to say that the girls of these academies don’t get along.
[UPDATE]For the sake of consistency, I’ll just update this article instead of making a new one. Hit the jump to see the update.
After a few hints and inklings since the initial game’s Japanese release, in comes word that XSEED might be localizing a Senran Kagura game. First was the registration of HanzoNationalAcademy.com domain, referencing the setting of the Senran Kagura games. The site is registered to XSEED JKS inc. Going there (at the time of this writing) only shows blank slate with text that reads “Your website is ready. This site has been successfully created and is ready for content to be added. Replace this default page with your own index page.”
Next up was an image of a kinda yellow, kinda flesh toned square tweeted by the XSEED’s Twitter account. This was followed by Kenichiro Takaki, the Senran Kagura producer, tweeting this, and then this.
Now THIS is something I was afraid of. Once the vocal minority got super vocal after a stonking pair of humdingers graced the internet in early April, other companies would become afraid to localize anything Japan makes due to content (instead of sales like before).
For those who don’t know, Senran Kagura is a brawler with two entries on the 3DS (Senran Kagura and Senran Kagura: Burst) and one on the Vita (Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus). The 3DS and Vita games play a little differently on each platform. The 3DS games play like a regular brawler while Shinovi Versus on the Vita plays more like a mix of Dissidia meets Dynasty Warriors. One of the major defining features of this game is the copious amounts of… action on screen. I guess you call it a brawler with Japanese fighting game sensibilities (huge combos, juggles, and crazy ass attacks).
In an interview with Siliconera, Executive VP of XSEED, Ken Berry, said that they were not going to consider localizing PSP vampire pantsing game Akiba’s Trip. However when questioned about Senran Kagura on the 3DS, he stated that they’ll “have to see. It’s not a flat out no…” Japan has had the bouncy 3D-beat-’em-up for a year now with, and they’ll be getting the sequel, Senran Kagura: Crimson Girls, this year. The cart will also come with the first game as well. However Berry chimed in “…but it’s a title that would be hard to bring over as a packaged title.” Not sure if he meant the first game or the second game since the second one is already a package. He did mention that the company does get requests from fans to localize the game. I’m guessing those voices might be a little louder since the 3DS is region locked.
As we learned when they cancelled localization of Grand Knights History, XSEED does not any programmers in the team. So they depend on the original developer to input their translations (rather than do it all in-house). So feasibility of script translation and input must be considered. Since this is a beat-’em-up, I’m assuming the script isn’t too extensive. Even though I’ve yet to get a 3DS, I’d like to see this game come out. How ’bout you?