"Journalist" Misses the Point in Criticism of Senran Kagura: Reflexions
By Kasaix • 8 months ago • 11 comments

It's odd, feeling nostalgia for the days when videogames were being torched for being too violent. At least gamers had an edgy and dangerous reputation. Nowadays, people like Dom Reseigh-Lincoln of Nintendolife suggests that any hint of a girl showing skin is immediately all about a guy feeling powerful. I mean, maybe? There's bound to be guys like that out there. Given how many guys play videogames with hot girls in them, the odds are there. However, guys might also just like to check out some skin, or even form some emotional connection with the girl, like that guy who married his dating sim waifu. So, here's an archive link to this guy's "review" of Senran Kagura: Reflexions. I'll be taking some snippets just to mock him in context, but for the full monty of bad journalism, HERE'S the link. 

As an aside, I'm almost certain his head would explode into a cloud of fedoras and nonsense if he had to review Doki Doki Majo Shinpan!.

Did you read it? I mean, he misspelled the girl's name! It's not 'Asuke', it's Asuka! Did you even play the game? He did it more than once. Before we tear into the man, and we definitely are, because he gives gamers a bad name, let's discuss what the game actually is.

It's an ecchi dating sim, where players romance Asuka and use the Joy-Con to feel the jiggle physics as they give massages. That's it. It's an ecchi dating sim, not exactly out of this world. To drive this home, here's the trailer:

Now let's tear this dude apart step by step.

“All pretences of making this anything other than an excuse to ogle overdeveloped schoolgirls have departed, and what you’re left with is Senran Kagura Reflexions. For all intents and purposes, it’s a ‘romantic massage simulator’, where you meet Asuke – one of the main heroines from the wider series – and run your virtual hands across your body. It’s presented as love story, with your reflexology sessions supposedly designed to help Asuke ‘find herself’. Ahem.”

You can taste the fedora from that one. Also, 'Asuke'. Where's Jeremy from CinemaSins with his *ding*? Anyway, while this tries to describe some of the mechanics and story of the game, it's more like Dom here is trying to tell on the game. Like "You guys! It's not a standard Senran Kagura game! There's no fighting, it's all about copping a feel on Asuke!" Yeah, like in the trailer and gameplay they show off. I assure you, people knew what they were getting into when they bought the game. 

"We should point out this game isn’t designed to be all-out porn - even the Nintendo of today has its limits - but rather a part of a Japanese subculture of sexual identity known as ‘Ecchi’. Games that fall into this category are usually meant to represent flirting and barely-contained sexual tension, rather than represent the act itself. Be that as it may, that doesn’t stop this dating sim from really pushing the envelope when it comes to content on a ‘family friendly’ console. In other words: this game is definitely NSFW."

It's like an outsider trying to explain concept they just heard about to people who have been enjoying those concepts for years. And getting it wrong. I have never used the term, but I'll use it now: dude is cringy as hell. I was reading on to see if he tried to explain NSFW too. Also, the Switch has Wolfenstein II, Doom, and Outlast on it. He works on a site called Nintendolife, surely he knew this. So gore is good, boobs are bad. Gotcha. 

Despite his best intentions, he goes on to accurately describe some game elements with an overtone of disgust, if not anger that he had to type out the words. He tried to call players pedophiles by pointing out that Asuka is only a high school girl. Riiight. Just to crush that bit, the player character's age aside, seniors in high school are typically around 18. If you call 'pedophile', get some facts right. Also, Japan is stamping down on fictional underage sex, so this would not have gone uncontested.

Now we come to the core of his issue with the game.

"Depending on the exercises you’ve performed, this vessel will change colour, revealing new sections of a heart-shaped image. Fill them all and you get to enjoy an even more ‘romanitic’ scene with your virtual ‘friend’. Each one of these reflexology sessions is represented as a ‘dream’ or Arc, which is presumably why one such ‘dream’ sees you role-playing as brother and sister with so much sexual overtone it’s not even funny anymore - it’s just plain creepy. There are plenty of others, all unlocked by massaging a particular part of her hands, but all of them just boil down to overt male power fantasies. It’s presented as romance, but we all know it’s just cheap titillation."

Dude, it's an ecchi game, titilation was the point. It's the actual point of the game. I mean, how could it be anything else but a dating sim meant to get players excited? If you think it's creepy, that's fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, he goes about it in such a way as to insult players who like the game, which is not fine.

As for 'overt male power fantasies', like I said before, odds are good that some players go in for that. But not all. There are those who probably just want a good time meeting Mr. or Ms. Palmerson. Yet others would want that emotional connection. All of that is fine, as long as they're enjoying the game they bought (or pirated). 

Last tidbit before I royally screw with the guy.

Outside of this main ‘story’, you can also perform freeform massages, should your ‘heart’ so desire, or head into the Dress-Up mode and customise Asuke with various revealing costumes that show off a cleavage that defies all laws of physics. You can even turn her into a Diorama and adjust everything from her expression to the angle of her posture. Progressing in the main story unlocks more items for customising Asuke, and with DLC planned for additional characters from the series, there are hours of ‘fun’ to be had.

Nice, DLC characters. I love me some Asuka, but Senran Kagura has as many waifus as Dead or Alive. Now to ruin his day: as harsh as Dom has been, this is likely a good advert for the game. He tried to degrade the game by pointing out all the ecchi moments, but he just lead people to trying to find all the good stuff, even pointing out that there's post-game content planned. I wasn't even planning to buy the game, but if/when I get a Switch, I'll be keeping an eye out for a sale. 

Now for why I really wanted to torch this guy good: guys like Dom here give gamers a bad name. We already have to deal with our hobby or profession being under constant attack by Bible-thumpers, angry mothers with too much free time, and polticians, all of whom have no idea what they're talking about. First they were too violent and lead to murder, now they're sexist and degrading to women. I don't care if it's just some idiot who doesn't know his Joy-Con from a dog bone, guys like this need to be answered, or their misinformed, perhaps outright misleading, opinions become the only ones out there. 

But I leave it to you, how do you feel about this guy's opinions on Senran Kagura: Reflexions? Is it just a power trip for guys, or just a solid dating sim? Sound off in the comments below!