Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Release Date: May 11, 2022


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PC Preview - 'Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars'

by Cody Medellin on April 7, 2022 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars is a crossover action RPG where, once enemies, the nations of Heartland and Marveland must forces to defeat the invading mechanical ninja army!

Buy Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars

Of the many spin-offs for the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, the ones that have stood out the most are hack-and-slash action titles. Hyperdimension U: Action Unleashed and MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune vs. Zombies were in the same vein as the Musou offerings, but they were highly enjoyable due to the cast of characters involved. They were also developed by Tamsoft, a company that has had a hand in developing the more action-oriented Senran Kagura titles. It makes sense, then, to hand it the task of developing the crossover title, Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars.

Like a good number of the Neptunia spin-offs, this one doesn't take place in Gameindustri. In the land of Gamninjustri, two countries have been at war for almost a century. The ninja of Heartland practice the Compa style, while Marveland practices the Honeypa style. One night, as another fight commences, an airship fires cannons at the castle of Heartland before deploying robot ninjas of their own. It turns out that a new entity known as the Steeme Legion has entered the fight with the duo of Yoh gamer and Tatsuko, who are determined to put everyone under their rule. Setting aside their differences, the Compa and Honeypa schools join forces to take down the new threat.

For those who haven't played any of the Senran Kagura or Hyperdimension Neptunia games, you'll find that roughly half of the game is comprised of cut scenes. Each time you enter a scene, you can expect a ton of dialogue to come your way along with still pictures of each character. The mouths have generic movement animations. It's structured like a visual novel in this way, and it even includes the option to automatically advance dialogue, so you aren't constantly hitting a button to reach the next set of lines. The story may feel a bit nonsensical at times, but the characters have always driven the urge to sit through it all. From what we've seen so far, there's a bigger emphasis on characters from the Neptunia games more than the Senran Kagura ones, but we're hoping that changes as you get further into the story.

One thing that caught us by surprise was the game's instability during those long cut scenes. By the time we reached the start of Chapter 2, a little over 90 minutes in, we encountered two crashes during cut scenes. The second one wasn't too bad, since we reloaded to the spot immediately before the crash occurred, but the first was terrible, and we had to sit through a post-battle scene followed by another set of scenes, the opening movie, and an introductory chapter cut scene to return to where we were before the crash. There doesn't seem to be a way to reproduce the crashes consistently, except for being in a cut scene and with the frequency at which it occurred in those 90 minutes, it can be enough to deter people until the bug is addressed.

The other half of Neptunia X Senran Kagura can be best described as a mix of styles from both games instead of an adaptation of what worked in Tamsoft's previous spin-offs. You start with a menu system that's like the early Hyperdimension Neptunia RPGs; everything from shopping for items to talking to townsfolk is done via menus. Getting into actual gameplay pops you into dungeons similar to Neptunia; they're decently sized with only a few branching paths to find secrets. The fighting is closer to Senran Kagura, as you have a basic attack that can be chained with kunai or shurikens for combos. You can pull off super moves with a special meter, and you can also use jutsus that start with basic attacks but can be chained to deliver bonus effects, like poison damage or a quick defensive buff. There's some depth, but button-mashers will feel right at home. As a bonus, the game uses a tag system where you can switch out protagonists mid-fight to deliver combos and have someone heal; it's something that neither series has played with before. It works well, but we'll need more time to see how effective it can be.

So far, the presentation is quite good, even if it isn't pushing the envelope in any area. On the PC, both series have stood out in the past for displaying solid anime visuals at a high frame rate, and that trend continues. You'll be hard-pressed to find any blurry textures or flickering polygons. Sound-wise, the music hits well enough, and while fans of an English audio track will miss that option here, the Japanese voice track does a great job of demonstrating the right mix of seriousness and whimsy. Finally, the load times are quick enough from a regular SSD that you have no time to read all of the text on the load screens; it's a good sign for those who might skip all of the scenes to quickly jump into the action.

As it stands now, the PC port of Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars is good. It looks quite nice with very fast load times and a good handle on the action. The crashes during the visual novel sequences are the one thing that need immediate work, as most players will run into them. When we post our review next month, we'll be sure to note whether this was fixed with any patches.

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