E3 2017: Hands-On at XSeed: Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash and Sakuna of Rice and Ruin

Every year, XSeed is one of my favorite booths to check out. I enjoy the Senran Kagura series, which is constantly getting sequels and spinoffs, and they usually have a few other interesting titles on the docket. This year, I got to check out Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash and Sakuna of Rice and Ruin.

Senran is a spin-off that changes out the normal brawler gameplay and replaces it with a shooter. Specifically, a shooter where characters are using water guns. Of course, it also adds some flare and wackiness one would expect from a Senran Kagura game.

The main gameplay mode is a 5v5 team deathmatch, to facilitate the four five-girl schools. The objective is simply to squirt opponents enough to KO them and to get more KOs than the enemy team.

There are a variety of guns to use, which can be equipped before each battle. Plus, each character has three skill slots and a few upgrade slots. These are filled with cards gathered through normal gameplay and can the player a ton of special effects. Skill slots give abilities that do damage or buff allies or whatever and the upgrade slots can do things like lower reload time with over 800 cards to collect.

In addition, characters have some mobility options including a very fast slide move and a water jet-pack to fly up through the air. Both of these are tied to the same water tanks as the player’s gun, which essentially eats into the player’s ammo. Since reloading takes time (the character has to pump water), managing water tanks is essential.

Honestly, I was not expecting much when I jumped into the game but I was very pleasantly surprised by it. The gameplay was very well done despite the change from the usual genre. And of course, it has plenty of the fan service one would expect from a Senran game.

Sakuna of Rice and Ruin was a game I knew almost nothing about going into my appointment. I was very impressed with the game and it is definitely on my radar now. And that was just with seeing the combat gameplay; the game also has some other aspects that weren’t in the E3 demo.

The combat reminded me a lot of a Vanillaware game, like Muramasa. The game is a 2D sidescrolling beat em up with a lot of mobility and combo options. Combos can go all over the screen with the player knocking enemies up into the air, back and forth, and then back down onto the ground.

The main character also has a grappling hook of sorts, which aids her both in platforming and in combat. If she throws it out and it hits a stationary part of the stage, she’ll pull herself to it. But if she hits an enemy and they’re light enough, she can pull the enemy to her, which is great for extending combos on foes.

The stages also had a lot of interactable aspects that were great for combat. One area I was fighting in had a big mushroom, which I could knock enemies into for a little extra damage. They would also bounce off the mushroom and if I hit them at the right spot, I could bounce them into some spikes on a nearby wall for even more extra damage.

I was very impressed with how Sakuna played. The combat felt fluid and I was quickly putting together basic attack chains to beat up the foes. The boss I fought, a giant toad, showcased some harder combat too and forced me to try to come up with new ways to deal with his attacks.

And the combat is only a portion of the game as Sakuna is also a rice farmer and growing rice is apparently a big part of the game. While playing I was also collecting materials which I was told were for an upgrade and crafting system. Sakuna seems like it could be a very solid game. Despite not knowing much about it before E3, it’s now one I’m actively anticipating.

Why not check out the latest E3 2017 news from PS Nation:

Written by Andy Richardson

Andy Richardson

A longtime PlayStation fan who enjoys JRPGs and rhythm games when he’s not tweeting about his parrot.

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