Back in 2014, publisher XSEED Games released Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit! on the PlayStation Vita. Instead of the typical beat-em-up style gameplay the series up until that point had been known for both on the original Nintendo 3DS iteration and its follow-up Vita release released earlier that year, it was a cooking rhythm spin-off game. So now with its PC release, titled Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit! - Full Course, fittingly enough, is it undercooked or done just right?
The basis for the story in Bon Appétit! is the news of a cooking competition in which the winner gets a scroll which can grant them a single wish. As expected, word of this quickly spreads among the female ninjas and it becomes a free-for-all between them to each win the competition. Of course, this entire competition is a front for old man Hanzo who wants to see the buxom ninjas move about in tight-fitting aprons --- it wouldn’t be a Senran Kagura game without something to turn up the lewdness factor.
Like the original game and Shinovi Versus, Bon Appétit! features a story mode in which you play as one of the female ninjas. These story sequences use the visual novel-style narrative found in the previous games to explain why each of them is trying to acquire the scroll for themselves. If you’ve played either of the previous games you might be expecting a mix of normal dialogue with some double entendre mixed in, but in Bon Appétit! the latter is peppered in so heavily to the point where it’s cringe-worthy in a good way. If nothing else it’s impressive how XSEED Games was able to keep the exceptionally racy dialogue from not getting stale but at the same time turning things up to eleven in terms of how many ways they can make a sexual joke.
Of course, though, this isn’t just a visual novel game and that’s where the rhythm sequences come into play. After selecting your character you partake in a one-on-one battle with another fellow ninja in a cooking contest. But instead of fighting directly against your opponent, you do so in a rhythm mini game. Like how the Vita version uses the button presses, you have the option to plug in a controller on the PC version or optionally use the AWSD/directional arrows on your keyboard, depending on your preference.
On the bottom of the screen you’ll see two bars, which have buttons that correspond to the face buttons flowing from the right to the left. The goal is to time your button presses so they fall in line with the music. The game shakes things up as the song progresses, as you’ll also have to contend with notes which need the button to be held, notes which require a series of button presses and directional buttons to be held.
Each of the songs is broken up into three phases where Hanzo samples the dishes from both sides and makes his decision, which is based off the meter at the top of the screen during each phase. The goal is to get your meter further filled out than your opponent’s, as the loser during each phase as part of their clothing stripped off until they essentially have nothing left to wear with the typical anime-inspired naughty bit cover-ups that veterans of the previous games will already know of.
Things get even worse for the ninja who loses the battle as they’re subjected to a rather humiliating pose in which they’re essentially made into the full-course “meal” with chocolate and other dessert toppings sprinkled about on them. Basically imagine the stereotypical “sushi on a naked woman” image and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what happens here.
The issue with the story mode overall is that unless you’re a big fan of each of the characters it becomes a real drag due to the way things are unlocked and the variety of the song choices. None of the songs, which range from holiday-inspired tracks to instrumental themes, were particularly memorable even if they did work well when used during the matches. The series itself isn’t really known for its music outside of few tracks, so Bon Appétit! tends to stretch things a bit too thin in that regard. Considering the source material, it’s surprising more cute/pop tracks weren’t utilized here.
Like most of the Vita to PC ports as of late, Full Course includes all of the DLC built into the purchase, including both the costumes and the additional Gessen x Hebijo pack which were paid purchases for Vita owners. And there’s the additional bonus of improved visuals with the boost to 1080p graphics for PC owners.
If you played the Vita version, this essentially is a prettier, DLC all-inclusive version of the original game. It will be up to you if that’s enough to warrant a purchase. But for those who didn’t pick up the original and have access to a PC, this is easily the better version of the two available.Senran Kagura Bon Appétit! – Full Course was reviewed using a digital copy provided by XSEED Games. You can find additional information about Gaming Union's ethics policy here.
|PC players easily got the best version of the game, as all of the DLC is included in this version and there's upscaled 1080p graphics.|
|No noticeable input lag.|
|The sheer amount of sexualized puns present is certainly an accomplishment.|
|Song choice is a bit lacking.|
|If you disliked the lewdness in the previous games, this one turns things up to eleven.|
|If you already played the Vita version, this is same exact game with all of the DLC included plus better graphics.|