It’s the crossover fans have probably been wanting for years—Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars has released on the PS4. Featuring kawaii and often buxom heroines from two popular franchises, did this resulting hybrid game come out as anything more than just something nice to look at? Find out in our Neptunia X Senran Kagura PS4 review.
Neptunia X Senran Kagura PS4 Review – Amnesia Again?
Neptunia X Senran Kagura is almost equal parts visual novel and action RPG. There are a lot of interstitial cutscenes, though here we are using the term liberally—most cutscenes are fully-voiced, but consist of little more than lightly-animated depictions of characters talking and occasionally rocking back and forth as they are “hit” by an effect. If you’re at all familiar with visual novels, then you’ll know what we’re talking about. It’s very easy reading, though some of the bits can be cringeworthy or awkward. In true Neptunia form, though, the story does often break through the fourth wall and talk to the player directly, usually with Neptunia complaining about whatever mechanic or trope has just been used to advance the story or explain something away.
The story features antagonist Yoh Gamer who has invaded the land of Gaminjustri (yes, it’s Gaminjustri, not Gamindustri, in this one), where up until her invasion there were two warring factions—the Compa style of fighting represented by the Goddesses, and the Honeypa style as shown by Asuka and the shinobi. They may claim to be in a ruthless struggle, but each time we are shown their fighting it never gets very far before something causes the groups to pair up and fight a common foe, or something else happens to delay their seemingly inevitable clash. It’s a simple story to follow with a lot of extra filler material. Since it’s told in a visual novel method, expect to do a ton of reading as things progress.
Neptunia X Senran Kagura PS4 Review – Stacking Combat
Combat in Neptunia X Senran Kagura occurs in real-time, and involves taking a pair of fighters into a dungeon area to clear enemies. The character models are actually pretty good and fit the art style (cel-shaded), especially on the playable characters. Their outfits are the typical skintight and skin-showing fare you’re used to seeing in either franchise, with plenty of… erm, “wiggle room” for each woman’s ample chest to bounce around, seemingly if you so much as glance in their direction. This isn’t anything surprising for these games, and you probably know what you signed up for when you booted this game up.
There are a few attack options to change things up, such as holding L1 to slow down time and perform special moves which use a stamina bar. These special moves trigger another meter to show up, and using another special attack before that bar depletes adds on special status effects or other bonuses to the attack, in addition to filling up the bar again. Meanwhile, when characters have transitioned into their various “super” states, extra moves can be utilized with the R1 button. For most battles, these extra options feel like overkill since basic enemies don’t really put up much of a fight against even regular moves. What’s more, the stamina bar fills back up very quickly, and each regular attack that hits an enemy helps to quickly fill the bar.
Neptunia X Senran Kagura PS4 Review – Runs on Anything
As with most games from either franchise, Neptunia X Senran Kagura probably runs quite well on last-gen hardware—we played it on the PS5 and can report no issues here. While character models are detailed and stylized, environment graphics leave a lot to be desired. Most locations are entirely forgettable, and have a feeling of making you boxed in as you move from section to section clearing enemies. Since most cutscenes are almost entirely static, there’s no real sense of connection between areas.
Audio work in Neptunia X Senran Kagura features fully-voiced main campaign cutscenes, along with music that feels like a blend between the two franchises. The result is a surprisingly satisfying mix, with the action/arcade-like sounds of Neptunia having wind and string instruments you’d find in Senran Kagura thrown in to transport you to a world that is somehow modern/futuristic and yet ancient at the same time. While there are English voice options, most fans will want to leave that set to Japanese, since the various characters were written with particular voice actresses in mind.
Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars will appeal to longtime fans of either series, but outside of that it’s an average action-oriented JRPG plus visual novel that anyone can easily get the hang of. There’s plenty of titillating fanservice to go around, even if Sony insists on at least some of it being censored for the Western release. It’s a safe bet if you can’t get enough of Neptunia and the rest of the Goddesses or Asuka and the other shinobi, but otherwise there are more traditional games that are probably a better use of your time.
Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars review code provided by publisher. Version 1.01 reviewed on a PS5. For more information, please see our Review Policy.