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Review: Neptunia x SENRAN KAGURA: Ninja Wars (Nintendo Switch)By Nayu At 21.07.2022 10:38

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This crossover might be a bit strange as the two series occupy different genres; Hyperdimensional Neptunia is a typical JRPG whereas the Senran Kagura series is more of a fighting/action game. However, it does a pretty good job blending the two styles, and the overall game is a pretty competent result. Taking on the roles of these two different groups of characters, players must fight their way through various levels, slowly levelling up skills and new moves as they battle to save ninja land all while comparing who has the biggest bust. A quick way to tell if this game is a must-have is determining whether girls having breasts bigger than their heads is of interest or a turn-off.

Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars starts with the Neptune girls battling the Senran girls over who is the better ninja nation. It doesn't last long as a new enemy appears and they all must join forces. Like most JRPGs, there is the typical format of story mode, leading to unlocking a new level, battling through the level, and getting some more story. While this title does not mix up the formula at all, what's presented is largely pretty competent, along with some high points.

The Neptunia girls now have a ninja bent to them and their ninja designs are pretty good, like Vert's sexy/cool standoffishness with her dual blade or Neptune's 'butterfly' looking design. Each girl has their own animations, from their attacks to their idle animations and even their running. Coming from a place where there is a degree of 'cheap' feeling from some of the past games in the series, this was an incredible high point. Whoever were the animators for the gameplay elements were utterly on point. They even went so far as to have different 'get up' animations from where an attack string ends if the animation is played out, a detail completely unneeded but it adds a lot of depth.

If anything, there is some inconsistency in the quality between components. As mentioned, the characters and their animations deserve accolades. From the varied levels of their bouncing assets on display to their different stances and slashes, it radiates quality. The levels are very well designed graphically as well, even if players just dash through them. Knowing Idea Factory's ho hum ability in the past to make interesting dungeons (oftentimes literally just boxes), it is cool seeing some of these cliffs, forests and villages. Then there are things like equipment, or the 'sphere grid' and they are let downs.
While there is a multitude of varied attacks for all the girls, they do not really matter in the end. Some attacks are simply just worse. Take the buxom young lady Asuka who has one attack that is quick, multi-hitting with AoE effects, and a good deal of damage to it. Likewise, she has an attack with a very long start-up as she crouches (getting pummelled the whole time), then jumps up with a single slash. It is cool that each lovely lady has all these varied attacks, but some are simply so much better. Many characters are just outright better.

Ultimately though, the game is fairly easy minus the artificial grind it imposes. Players can use whoever they want, whatever bad attack they want and still prevail. The one issue is the grind. Each new level that gets unlocked often has a 'recommended level' 3-5 levels higher than the one just reached. The enemies are only harder due to taking and giving more damage. It scales too quickly, making the game feel longer than it really should.

Another let down was the grid system. The concept is very cool, but the execution was weak. There are some slots that the player can slot various orbs in. These might be to boost item drops, raise HP, or deal extra damage. The customization is really cool. However, the bonuses are so low, even when upgrading the orbs late in the game a single orb might be something like 'raise attack damage against bosses by 2%'. This is not very exciting, especially when there is a limit to only 5 per type.

Overall, while there are some problems, like the grid or the grind, the game is a pretty good hit. It is fun seeing all the sexy anime ninjas flipping around with their fancy attacks. While the story does not go anywhere, the game is really just about scantily clad girls battling and it delivers on that. If they shore up some of the weaknesses, a second game would also be an easy recommendation.

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Final Score
Paradoxically, [i]Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars[/i] is both too long and too short. The ingredients are there to make a surprisingly awesome game, such as a type of sphere grid, tons of different moves and equipment. However, in reality it is largely a button masher that needs far too much grind which artificially inflates the length. Overall, it was surprising how good it actually was, and there is hope they make a second one.

7

/10

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