Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another riveting edition of Go West!, your [not-at-all] weekly column about new Japanese games, Idea Factory, and a writer who continuously makes bad decisions.
This week I opened myself up to you beautiful people and was met with monsters who just want to see me burn to the ground.
Releases for the week of November 3 - 9:
Akiba's Trip 2
Online Price: $68.99 (Vita - $63.99)
I honestly wasn't expecting to have such positive impressions of Akiba's Trip 2.
A third person sort-of open world action game, Akiba's Trip 2 is about running around an accurate recreation of Akihabara and beating the living hell out of vampires. These creatures don't immediately burn up in the sunlight; you have to strip them down to their underwear so that their skin is exposed to the light. In your quest to rid Akiba of this monster menace, you'll likely strip hundreds of men and women to their undies, though not before wailing on them with an anime poster or two.
The whole thing is pretty outrageous as far as premises go, but Acquire wears the goofiness on its sleeve. Lots of dialogue choices help you shape the main character in both funny and interesting ways, leaving it up to players to decide how cool or weird they want to be. Enemies all have quirky spoken dialogue for when you try to strip them down, and NPCs walking by freak out and flee the scene. It's ridiculous, but Akiba's Trip 2 marches proudly on.
The whole thing wouldn't work as well as it does if it wasn't for the ultra-slick presentation. I've been playing the Vita version of the game and I was taken aback by how great it looks. The UI is slick and easy to navigate, and the actual in-game graphics are impressive. The characters are cel-shaded, helping cover any lack of detail they might have. Digital Akiba is fun to wander around especially if you've been to the real place; dozens of actual locations are littered throughout the area. From what I can tell, the main story is fully voiced, another important feature for a game like this.
If anything, I'm a bit concerned that the combat could grow stale over the next however many hours. Right now the game has been drip feeding me new information (counters, nonstop strips), but it feels like my move list is relatively small. That being said, each weapon you use controls differently from the last, so it might just be a matter of having to switch things up as I progress through the game.
I bought Akiba's Trip 2 on a whim, but it has turned out to be quite the pleasant surprise. Thus far it doesn't seem to share any crossover with the first game, so if you're looking to import, don't worry about missing out. As for its chances of going west? Who knows at this point. XSEED bringing over Senran Kagura for the 3DS pretty much means anything is fair game.
Online Price: $59.99
Exstetra is that feeling you get in your stomach when you realize the bread you just ate was moldy. It's the headache you wake up with after a night of heavy drinking.
Exstetra is the game that you, the readers, wanted me to play and write about at length. Far be it from me to deny you all the coverage, so here I am with the game locked and loaded in my Vita.
I can already feel the chills running down my spine. Curse you all.
Long story short, Exstetra is a traditional RPG in which Ryoma, a high school student with no memories, is transported to a strange alternate world. As it turns out, Earth and this crazy fantasy place are both on the path of destruction. Fortunately, he's the chosen one capable of saving both worlds through his Prisma powers. He isn't alone though! Other Earthlings have been brought over to help, and by delivering a kiss to their lips, Ryoma can give them the power to fight the evil forces lurking in the shadows.
I'm not going to spoil the fun by posting my impressions of the game here. Be on the lookout for a First Impressions in the near future; it's going to be a grand ole' time.
Metal Max 4: Gekkou no Diva
Online Price: $64.99
While the Metal Max series might never have been huge, it was nonetheless a beloved set of RPGs with a unique premise. Taking place in a post apocalyptic Mad Max-like world, the Metal Max games put players in control of a group of characters each with their own vehicle. Instead of four party members swinging swords around, you had four people in tanks, jeeps, and a whole bunch of other vehicles. The 2D sprite work was pretty fabulous, and the art style the games had taken on over the past few years was appropriately gritty but still fun.
Enter Metal Max 4.
The latest entry in the series and the first new game on the 3DS, Metal Max 4 makes the jump from beautiful 2D sprites to 3D models, and the whole thing is worse off for it. This-- combined with a terrible new art style that just screams amateur-- brings the whole package down.
Metal Max may have never been completely serious in terms of the setting or story the games told, but one look at the above image just leaves me scratching my head.
This series deserved better.
Glass Heart Princess: Platinum
Online Price: $58.99
Himeno Kyouko is perfect. She's the pride and joy of the academy, though she does have one flaw: she doesn't know how to handle matters of the heart. One day, fellow classmate and potential love interest Tenma recommends that they form an idol group. Things go well, and she and her friends end up performing in front of the entire school. They win first place for most interesting exhibit at the school festival, and receive a special ticket for a four night trip to an island resort. Just what sort of hijinks are in store for Kyouko and her friends?
A quick glance at the feature list of Glass Heart Princess reveals a packed game. There are five separate story modes, with the biggest one being the island resort arc. I had high hopes for the game's narrative after seeing the above screenshot, but sadly it looks to be a pretty cut and dry harem story. Oh well.
If you're into that kind of thing, you could do a lot worse than an Idea Factory visual novel. Just be ready for nonstop Japanese text.
[That's all for Go West! 58. If there's anything you want to see coverage of in the future, or if you have a suggestion/criticism, feel free to share it in the comments below. I'm always up for switching things around and trying to improve the column. In any case, catch you all next week!]Photo Gallery: (4 images)
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