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Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash

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    Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash

    Rating: 5.0 – Flawless

    Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash

    NOTICE: For reference, I played this game on hard. Difficulty is subjective.

    The Senran Kagura series is an all time favorite of mine. Cute girls, cute outfits, fast-paced action, fun gameplay, surprisingly deep story, and tons of fan service; there really isn’t anything not to like about it. Across its gameography the series has, and continues to, venture away from its hack-n-slash action and into other genres and realms. This time around the girls put down their swords and pick up their guns, water guns that is~! In Peach Beach Splash the girls have entered a water gun tournament, that is also named "Peach Beach Splash", where they must compete against each other and hoards of baddies, all while getting soaking wet in the process. As everyone is using water guns, a projectile weapon, this game is a 3rd person shooter. Despite the change of attack style it still very much feels like a Senran Kagura game. Also I should say this is a spin-off game in an on-going series, if you haven’t played a Senran Kagura game then you should play the main games first. This game is for fans of the series and it makes zero attempt to educate newcomers on characters, lore, and so on.

    Base gameplay is controlling your desired girl around the arena while shooting tons of baddies with you water gun. There are a variety of weapons that all fire in completely different ways. Some can shoot enemies far away, some are close range, some are stronger than others, some fire fast, some fire slow, some drain your ammo faster than others, some arc, and so on. Each weapon has two modes of fire that can easily be switched between. The two modes are usually a faster (but weaker) mode, or a slower (but stronger) mode. Some weapons have wildly different modes, going from a spray of water to a long distance grenade launcher for example. Unlike other games in the series, your characters aren’t stuck into one weapon. If you dislike your character’s default weapon you can actually change it, which is very cool. You have two modes of shooting, I would call this "casual" and "advanced", but the real names are something like "m" and "sp". Basically you can either choose to have the game auto-aim for you, or you can aim for yourself. I always prefer actually playing the game and aiming for myself, its much more fun that way and I can make sure I’m shooting at what I want to shoot at. For the sake of this review I did try out the auto-aim mode, I found this mode to be more annoying than anything. It only really works if you’re fighting one enemy, if not it pings around in unpredictable and nonsensical ways. Often the enemy you’re trying to defeat will have random grunts with them, and the auto-aim will ping to a grunt instead of your real target. I personally suggest actually aiming, its much more fun this way and you can actually shoot the boss. The controls are bit confusing and tricky at first, but after a few rounds in the practice range you’ll be good to go.

    Your weapons also need to be reloaded constantly, there isn’t a bullet amount, instead its a remaining water level. Reloading is simple, you just hold down the reload button and your girl will reload the weapon by pumping it up like a super soaker. You don’t have to actually get into any water to recharge, the water just comes from midair, I guess its from some sort of unexplained jutsu. You can recharge while moving and while jumping. If you max out a specific gauge you enter a special state where you can shoot endlessly without reloading. Your health is broken up into four blocks in the shape of hearts. If your health bar hits zero, you will lose a heart and get a cute scene of your girl on the ground. On hard there are many attacks that will take away an entire heart with a single hit. Main enemies in this game have a single heart but a larger health bar than yours. After you defeat them the defeated girl will stay on the stage. You run up to them to enter a squirmy finish, this is where you unload your clip on the girl, scoping out her swimsuit to fire it off. This is the lewdest part of the main gameplay, close ups of the girl’s chest/butt/youknowwhat being pummeled with water. After you complete this attack the part you were shooting flies off and you get a short submissive video/pose of the girl. Poses vary depending on what weapon the girl had and what part of clothing you removed. Also you better initiate the squirmy finish fast, the option quickly goes away and the girl will vanish off the map.

    This game also makes use of cards, these cards are your special abilities. This game removes ninja arts, so these cards will be your go to for large attacks. The abilities of the cards are incredibly varied, there’s various buffs, shields, and attacks. Attacks can home in on enemies, bounce around, poison, freeze, be controllable, and so on, and there’s a lot of different elements at play. You can also get healing cards but they will only heal your current health bar, you can’t regain your hearts back. Some of the cards can also do numerous things at once which is helpful as you have very limited card space. In addition to ability cards, you also have pet cards. Pets are basically passive attacks and effects you can trigger, when triggered the pet will fly around you attacking enemies or triggering some sort of effect. There are also rideable pets that you get to control which is really fun. You unlock more pet cards in the side-stories, I saved the side-stories for after I beat the main game, so I played the whole game with the basic pets, but if you want better pets in the story mode then you should unlock them in the side-stories when desired. After each mission you clear you get card packs, after you get card packs you can buy them in the store. There’s a tremendous amount of cards to collect, majority of which have cute and sexy images of the girls on them. Having so many to collect makes it a lot of fun to open the card packs to see what you got. All duplicate cards you acquire become level-up points, with these points you can increase your maximum HP, improve the attack of your weapon, and improve the abilities of your cards. Cards and weapons can also be changed and equipped on your teammates. The same card can be equipped on numerous girls.

    Missions typically follow a nearly identical format of the main games. You run around fighting hoards of grunts, then you fight one of the playable characters, and sometimes it jumps straight to the main fight. In this game though they changed it up a bit, you play as part of a team, and you go up against other teams. So this means you have CPUs fighting alongside with you, and you work together to defeat numerous main targets. This is very different from the main games, but it fits with the plot of the game. Working with the CPUs is hit or miss. I played this game on hard, and in hard numerous attacks will one hit K.O. your teammates. Despite this, the girls will run up directly to a large turret and try to melee attack the barrel. Its completely nonsensical that they do this, and how often they use the melee attacks that I myself never used. You can actually figure out where hidden turrets are because there will be a dead pile of girls right next to it. Thankfully though you can revive your girls. Reviving them takes a few moments to do, during this you can shoot, move, and activate cards, but you can’t reload. At other times though the CPUs are more useful and actually do a decent job. Unlike other games in the series, you can pick any girl from your team to do the mission as. So you can play an entire group’s story with only your favorite character from said group.

    This game provides numerous modes of play, the main being Story Mode. The Story Mode is the same as the other games, pick a group, then play through their side of the story. This time around though the story itself changes a bit depending on what team you play as, they aren’t all following the same timeline. The story mode was a lot of fun, go from mission to mission, fighting enemies and taking names. Each group’s story mode follows the same format. First just fighting hoards of grunts, then you fight real enemies, and each story mode has one true boss, a boss that’s enormous and way stronger than all the other enemies. There’s also missions where you must put out fires, which can get extremely annoying depending on your current weapon. Story mode though was really fun, especially considering you can play it with your favorite girls. Difficulty wise I would say the story mode is a mix, I played this game on hard and there were a lot of stages where I had zero problem taking down the enemies. In some cases it feels that all hard means is that your teammates die faster. At other times though the game put a good challenge, beatable but engaging. This is often with the big bosses and also some of the fights fighting other teams. Some of the missions have you in very cramped areas which makes the fights get pretty intense. The big bosses were varied as well, one was so easy I barely tried, while some were insanely hard, and others were challenging but beatable. The hardest boss was definitely the end boss, on hard it has an insane amount of health bars and a lot of its attacks instant K.O. your teammates and take away your hearts, so you can basically only get four major hits before game over. Also boss difficulty varies wildly depending on your weapon of choice, some weapons are incredible for bosses while some are nearly (or completely) ineffective. This is important to pay attention to as some bosses float in the air and some weapons literally can’t reach them.

    The other mode is the side stories. These are very similar to the character specific arcs in the other games, but instead of each character having their own set of 10 missions, its a tremendous amount of sets of five, and these aren’t all character specific. Some will follow a single character, some follow an impromptu group. Gameplay wise this is exactly like the missions in the story mode. Difficulty varied a bit but not too much, was generally easy or a bit challenging. For some reason Daidoji’s arc was way harder than the others.

    The other mode was the tournament mode, which might initially sound redundant as technically the story mode is also a tournament, but the tournament mode actually makes it feel like a tournament. In this mode you make your own team of girls, so you can make a squad of all your favorites which is super cool. In this mode there’s four tournaments, each increasing in difficulty. Each tournament has a set of rounds, and you must complete each round without being defeated to win the tournament. If you die you have to restart the tournament from the beginning. This mode is essentially a pseudo-online-multiplayer experience, there’s a timer and each team must get more K.O.s than the other team. The teams you fight up against are somewhat silly but are different than the rest of the game which is cool. For an example of how these teams are done, is they’ll have a team called "We Love Pistols", so its just girls who use pistols as their default weapon, then another team will be "Big Ribbons" and its the girls with ribbons/bows in their hair. Its a silly way of doing it but it adds variety to the game. Difficultly wise I found this oddly very easy, especially considering this was the last thing I did in this game. Also the team CPUs seem to do their best in this mode, sometimes they don’t even die.

    You also have online mode, in online mode you can form auto-filled teams and fight other teams. You can also do co-op survival where you fight CPU enemies together.

    Now more on the game’s mechanics, there is a bit of issue of concern here. That concern is mobility. Remember when I said depending on your weapon the fire fighting missions can be a total pain? This is what I was talking about. The battlefields in this have some rather structurally wild designs. This include many under levels, ledges, cliffs, over areas and so on. Some of the areas have very little of this while others have a ton of it. Each weapon has a different mobility tied with it. You can use your ammo to slide around, to dart, and to jump high up into the air. Some weapons handle this very well, you can jump incredibly high and slide around all you want. But others are super sluggish, to the point that if you fall off of something you will not be able to jump back up. This means you have to try to find whatever ramp lets you up, and this is easier said than done as there are very few ramps in some areas. So you can be stuck down in a ravine either getting totally pummeled or trying to get to the action. Thankfully though you can change your weapons before you start the mission, so you can change to one that better fits a more diverse map.

    All in all though, I had a ton of fun playing this game. Even when the game was easy I was still having a lot of fun. I love these kinds of "cute anime girl running around killing tons of things" games, and using a projectile weapon made for a fun mix up.

    Additional Gameplay
    This game, as with others, allow you to change the hairstyles and clothes of your girls. You gain these items by buying them in the in-game store or on PSN. As this game involves water guns, the clothes fit to this theme. Swimsuits galore. I personally love the look of the default white swimsuits the girls had. But if desired you can change it up. You can also buy them clothes that become see through when wet, such as a school uniform, buruma, and various t-shirts. As your girl gets wet the clothes become see through to reveal her undergarments and skin underneath. You can also put the girls in their regular clothes but this would just look incredibly strange during the gameplay and I have no idea why anyone would do this.

    Ok, so what would a Senran Kagura game be without additional fan service content. As always, you can play with the girls in the dressing room. A lot of this is the same as it was in the other games, poses, touching, cute outfits, and the sort. This game introduces the water gun, so you can squirt your girls with water. This is especially cool when you use the see through clothes as you can really get a good look and have fun. In addition to wetting and the usual skirt flipping and groping, there’s also a kissing mode. The kissing mode happens when you max out the "love meter", this is nearly impossible to do though as it gives you one second to land this impossible to land kiss marker on the girl’s mouth. This game also includes a VR experience which is probably amazing but I sadly don’t own a VR headset. I personally feel though this game was slightly toned down compared to the other games though. The clothes don’t rip away (probably because already in swimsuits), there’s still the animation as if they did rip away though. But the main thing is that you don’t always get to get the girls exposed. This is because if you fight just one girl, or are on the last girl, the mission ends as soon as their HP is cleared. This is because the Squirmy Finishes are technically beating them while they’re down, they’re already defeated when you do this.

    The enemy hoards were pretty simple this time around. Of course there’s various kinds that do specific attacks but it wasn’t as varied as it was in previous games. Some shoot, some hit with claws, some whack you with pool noodles. All of them were the same size though, even on hard there wasn’t any large grunts or ones that really stood out from the crowd.

    The graphics on this game were amazing, everything looked beautiful, of course the girls looked beautiful, but also all of the environments as well. Everything is nicely colored, the girls have just the right amount of detail for the style and the scenery has just the right amount of detail to be coherent with the girls. It was also very nice to look at, almost all of the stage maps are heavily inspired by water parks, so there’s bright sun, tons of blue pool water, bright yellow platforms, and the sort, it looks super summery and fun and was generally just very inviting. The color palette is a total 180 from the colors used in the main game, and that made this spin-off really stand out. I also liked how much they pushed this water park aesthetic with the menus and stuff being water splashes, it just makes the whole game look really fun. Graphics were all around great in this game.

    Music And Sound
    As with all of the Senran Kagura games, I loved the music in this. The Senran Kagura games always have great music, upbeat songs that make you excited to play and pumps up the intensity. I also just love the melodies and overall compositions used in the soundtrack, really good stuff. Very happy I have the All Service edition so I can listen to the soundtrack whenever I want. The voice acting in this game was amazing as with the main games. Sounds like its all the same cast who have proven themselves time and time again at being great. Sound effects were as well, pretty similar to the other games but with more splashing sounds.

    For the most part the story was primarily silly fluff, nothing of much importance, mostly comedy and fluff content. The game did touch upon some serious things though that will probably develop more in 7EVEN. As this is a lighthearted game about cute girls squirting each other with water guns, the more relaxed and silly story fit the rest of the game. Some of the side story content though was definitely repeated from previous games, only some of it, but definitely some of it was repeated, probably meant as a running gag.

    I cannot fathom why they would do this, but for some reason Ryouna’s default weapon is the water hose and not the double pistols, despite her using double double-pistols in the main games. This was just such a weird decision they made. Of course though you can change her weapon to be more fitting if desired.

    Overall, this is a very fun lighthearted spin-off from the main games. All the girls you know and love, but fighting it out in a water gun tournament where ninja arts aren’t allowed. On hard the game had varied difficulty ranging from easy to tough, and a smooth in between. The game features, fun and engaging gameplay (even when its easy its fun), a new twist on a classic turning it into a 3rd person shooter, ability to play as your favorite girls, large variety of weapons that actually feel different and effect the gameplay, lots of enemy hoards, ability to target and shoot off bikinis, lots of cute girls, fun graphics, great music and Japanese voice acting, numerous game modes, adjustable shooting, cute cards, interchangeable special abilities and pets, lewd touching with VR support, and just a whole lot of fun. Despite the few flaws it has, I really enjoyed this game.

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