Welcome back to Go West!, your one stop for info about all the best Japanese releases of the week. We've entered the sixteenth entry of this column as of today. Do you readers know what that means?
Absolutely nothing. Well, except that Oreimo 2 for the PSP utterly beat out Persona 2: Eternal Punishment for highest sales of the week. I know, I'm confused too.
This week we have a wide variety of titles ranging from your average otome games to vertical shooters developed by a company that lives in a cave I guess. There's a little bit of something for everyone, so follow me after the break as we try to jump into the next world line and probably fail.
El psy congroo!
Releases for the week of May 20-26
Steins;Gate (Playstation 3)
I'm sure for many of you the anime series was your first contact with Steins;Gate. All things considered, it was pretty damn great. The original visual novel from which it's based on? That much better.
As far as visual novels go, Steins;Gate sports some impressive production values and an aesthetic that just puts it above and beyond what a lot of games in the genre attempt. Its cast of characters, a bunch of well-meaning and kind of crazy dorks, is easy to like and cheer for. The story, while occasionally falling into the standard plot holes inherent with this kind of narrative, manages to be compelling, dramatic and more importantly, emotional. It's a fantastic game that deserves a massive audience, so I'm incredibly glad that 5pb realized that porting to the PS3 could improve their sales. The Xbox 360 is a corpse over here.
Honestly, I have no idea if this will ever go west in an official capacity. There's been a lot of talk of our pals over at JAST possibly grabbing the rights, but the whole situation appears to be rather complicated. Hopefully you folks won't have to wait too long either way; Steins;Gate is not a game to miss.
Steins;Gate: Hiyoku Renri no Darling (Playstation 3)
Two Steins;Gate games for the PS3 in the same week? Huzzah!
Hiyoku Renri no Darling is essentially a parody game that takes the S;G cast and throws them into a story significantly more focused on romancing the women. If you were a fan of the original game and want more from the characters or maybe felt that Okabe should have gone after 'X character' instead, Darling is for you. From what I've heard, it's a pretty funny and light experience so if you have the cash laying around and can read Japanese, go for it.
Even if the original game heads west, don't expect this one to.
I'll probably be waiting on a price drop. I'm definitely interested though.
The IdolM@ster: Gravure For You! Volume 8 (Playstation 3)
Here we go again.
This latest Gravure For You! pack is all about wedding dresses and... uh... pastel bikinis. I know how much you've been waiting for the latter.
So I have to ask; are any of you folks actually buying these BD/Game packs? I know we have some pretty big IdolM@ster fans here at Jtor, but I can't help but wonder if anybody can provide some real impressions of these 'expansions'.
Mushihimesama HD (Xbox 360)
Cave shooters are awesome. This is one of those irrevocable facts of the world and I'm sure that if you've ever played one, you probably agree. Unfortunately on a financial level, Cave isn't doing so hot these days. In fact, they're edging closer and closer to being a company that doesn't exist anymore.
Which means we all should be buying their games. I actually played Mushihimesama for the first time a few days ago on my iPhone and I've been having an absolute blast. Unlike the Dodonpachi series, the aesthetic really appeals to me and the slightly more simple gameplay systems feel fantastic. Yes, I understand that over $80.00 is a ridiculous price for this kind of game, but if nothing else you should grab the iOS version and go crazy. Shooters don't get much more pure or fun than this.
Also keep in mind that Mushihimesama HD is region locked.
Samurai & Dragons (Playstation Vita)
Samurai & Dragons confuses me to no end. This is actually a packaged version of a free game, except this comes with some bonus items and paid items that you'd have to purchase in-game if you had the download version.
Using a free to play model, Samurai & Dragons is a mix of town building/management gameplay, a card game and an online, 4 player action game akin to Phantasy Star Portable or Monster Hunter. Being free, the visuals are certainly not going to blow anybody away and I personally found it to be kind of dull. There are better games you could be playing for the PSP or Vita, so I don't see the point in paying nearly $50 dollars for some extras.
Boku wa Koukuu Kanseikan : Airport Hero 3D Haneda with JAL (Nintendo 3DS)
This is a game about planes. You fly them. You can also be a hero in 3D.
Elminage Gothic: Ulm Zakir to Yami no Gishiki (Playstation Portable)
Elminage Gothic is the latest entry in the classic dungeon crawling RPG series. I admit to not knowing much about it save that the games have been around for a little while now. The aesthetic kind of straddle the line between what you'd expect from something more western, but still with that obvious Japanese influence. Case and point; massive breasts. With Wizardry a shell of its former self, I hear that Elminage does a good job picking up the torch. Dungeon crawling fans might want to take notice.
This is likely not going west, so make sure you have RPG import experience before taking the dive.
Juuza Engi ~Engetsu Sangokuden~ (Playstation Portable)
Juuza Engi takes place during the Han Dynasty in ancient China and seems to involve ancient creatures and beautiful men.
More importantly is the fact that was developed by Idea Factory, meaning we've found our IF game of the week! At this point they've become something of an old friend to this column; I can't even begin to imagine the horror of a Go West! with Idea Factory rearing its beautiful, bi-shounen head.