Queue the artist’s favourite phrase “Boobs are life, ass is hometown” as Europe (and the other places of the world, I think) got their release today (18th March 2016) of Senran Kagura: Estival Versus while the US got theirs on the 15th of March. I’ve ordered the Asian Non-Region locked edition, which is in English and it’s on it’s way to me from Play-Asia. They shipped it last night (my time) and I’m hyped like a little kid in a candy store. But enough of that – on to the main beef of this piece.
I personally think the R18+ rating is too harsh for a game like this. You play as a female ninja from the roster, and you’re fighting (and stripping!) enemies on your way to victory. There’s the sexually suggestive one-liners that the girls say, Haruka is a complete tease and HAPPY BOOBS.
As for the rating, I can understand why SK: EV would fall into the MA15+ (Mature Audiences 15 Plus) category straight away since you’ve got almost-naked female bodies without genitals or nipples – confirmed as there was a bug that unintentionally made some outfits fail to load in the Japanese release that was fixed in a Japanese bugfix update – so I can also understand that this game is NOT for kids to play. “Mummy, what’s those big things that jiggle?”. Heck, the 3DS Senran Kagura games got M and MA15+ respectively (correct me if I’m wrong).
But for an R18+ rating on a game like this? I haven’t seen game play footage apart from the trailer because I don’t want to spoil it for myself but the game doesn’t have any sex scenes nor is it a hentai (porn) game. Those types of games get an X18+ rating. Yes, X-Rated games are a thing now after that classification came back from the graveyard.
Sure, SK:EV might have funny sexually suggestive dialogue and some characters that are a tease – I’m looking at you, Haruka – but I’d love an better explanation from the Ratings board why SK: EV deserves a R18+ rating. “High impact sexualised gameplay, online interactivity” doesn’t really explain much – why is it high impact? There’s no drugs. There’s no gore or gibs. At the very least, a R18+ rating is better than having characters get censored and/or clothed up because reasons. (Ahem, I’m looking at you, Nintendo of America).
Anyway, until I have my hands on a copy I can only sit on the fence. I hope to get it next week so I can jump back in and look at the new game in the series. I’ve included additional stuff that I’ve wrote since publishing this and a few more images below.
Given the second 3DS game did have close-ups of your clothes stripped character when you failed a mission… maybe that’s what tipped them to give the game a R18+ rating. That being said, Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed got M (Mature) for “Sexual references, sexualised imagery and coarse language”. Then again it’s more a brawler (but – spoiler – be stripped and you die) and doesn’t feature almost-naked ninjas battling it out in the middle of a field. Go figure, I guess.
For those wanting to know the PS Store description of the game, I’ve attached the screenshot from my PS4 below. I’ve censored my name from the screenshot as I don’t want randoms searching and adding me on PSN (Yeah, say what you want – I’m anti-social). If you do want to add me for whatever reason, just contact me via Twitter or something.
…and for good measure the Australian Government Classifications Board rating of the game.