The worlds of Neptunia and Senran Kagura collide, and the result is exactly what you’d expect.
Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars finds the four goddesses of Heartland warring against the four shinobi of Marveland. So, from the Neptunia series you have Neptune, Noire, Blanc and Vert. And on the Senran Kagura side there’s Asuka, Homura, Yumi and Miyabi. They’ve been battling for control of Gamninjustri (see what they did there?) for a while now, but that’s all about to change. A new force called the Steeme Legion has invaded, you see, and its might forces the two warring nations to work together. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, and all that.
Chances are though, that you won’t care one jot for Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars‘ story. I didn’t. I tried to, but the dialogue is generally asinine, filled with gags that never hit the mark. There’s also just far too much of it. I’m not one to skip text, but every time Neptune and co. started one of their long-winded conversations I’d be sorely tempted to. It’s amazing how long they can drag out what eventually boils down to “I need you to go here and do this.” This is an action game, after all. I just want to slice and dice enemies and power up my characters.
The actual gameplay of Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars is entertaining enough when you do get to it, however. You essentially traipse through fields like you would any normal Neptunia game, only this time there are no turn-based battles. Instead, the combat is familiar to that of the Senran Kagura series, in that it’s real-time and action-packed. You have access to a wide range of attacks including fancy Ninja Art Skills which can be chained for greater effect, and both kunai and shuriken to attack at range. Each character has a Shinobi Extreme attack, too, that can be used when a gauge is full, while a system called Fuurinkazan Drive allows you to power up your character momentarily, capitalising on the power of fire, wind, forest or mountain.
As you’d probably expect, the combat isn’t going to wow you, though. All the ingredients are there, but they just don’t feel fine-tuned enough to be any more than simply entertaining. The camera, for example, often feels like it’s working against you, obscuring enemies readying up ranged attacks. You can zoom it out a little in the settings, but it doesn’t help a great deal. Using Ninja Art Skills can also be troublesome at times, with them targeting random enemies unless you lock-on first. But the lock-on system itself can be awkward to use. There’s also the fact that the outlandish nature of many of the enemies you’re up against makes it hard to anticipate their attacks.
Ten playable characters are available in Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars – the eight previously mentioned, plus two new faces – Yuuki and Goh. Your active party consists of any two of them, and you can quickly change between them in battle with the simple push of a button. You’ll want to in a bind, because the character in reserve will restore up to 50% of their health. As you play through the game they’ll gain experience and level up, increasing their abilities and granting access to new Ninja Art Skills. Characters can also be improved by placing Spirit Gems on a board, with those who carefully consider their placement reaping extra rewards. And of course, equipment can also be worn to provide various benefits.
With no difficulty settings on offer, those who attempt to head straight through the story of Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars might encounter the odd difficulty spike. A large number of side-missions called Requests are available, however, presenting you with the chance to level up your characters while also earning rewards. There’s also a Peaches and Cream Meditation mini-game, challenging you to maintain your balance while sat astride a giant, jiggling peach(!). Just taking part will grant a temporarily boost to your abilities, but success will also result in a reward coming your way.
For fans of the Neptunia and/or Senran Kagura series, there’s a fair bit to like about Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars. While I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for the game’s story, others may get on better with it. And while the combat isn’t great, it is at least enjoyable for the most part, with some pretty challenging boss battles. Add in plenty of fan-service that some are sure to appreciate as well as post-game content, and you have a game that will keep those who gel with it entertained for many hours. Those unfamiliar with either property involved in this crossover, however, probably won’t find anything other than confusion and disappointment.
Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars Review – GameSpew’s Score