Welcome folks to yet another edition of Go West!, in which I talk about the latest and greatest (worst) Japanese games on the market.
After taking a break last week due to a slim release schedule, we're back in full force with a strong lineup of titles that are bound to make everybody shoot rainbows out of their eyes.
Image Epoch is looking to show the world how JRPGs are made, while Square Enix takes a step back and looks toward the past for inspiration. Meanwhile, Namco Bandai Games takes every franchise ever and somehow manages to make a game out of it.
Follow me after the break as I spin around in circles and dramatically scream at the sky.
Releases of the week for 9/30 to 10/6 and 10/7 to 10/13:
Online Price: 7,340 Yen ($92.90)
Oh Image Epoch, you keep trying over and over, yet you still can't seem to catch a break.
Before I go into talking about it, I should clarify that I've yet to play Tokitowa, though I'm planning on it. I have however watched over six hours of gameplay, and in the very least I can say that Image Epoch's latest release has a host of issues. Beyond the incredibly weak story and super cliche characters resides a game that appears to be lacking in content. I saw a combined total of four enemy types in the videos I watched, with a ridiculous lack of variety in the environments as well. The battle system looked fun enough, but everything around it seemed relatively weak.
I'm more than ready to eat my own words though, and you can bet you'll be reading first impressions on the front page a couple weeks from now. As it stands, I'm extremely skeptical even if I do think that what Image Epoch is trying to do is legitimately interesting.
There's been word that Image Epoch is planning a localized version of Tokitowa for the west, so I'd wait it out a bit before choosing to import.
Online Price: 5,760 Yen ($72.90)
This is the one. This is the biggest of the big this week, and in my opinion a return to form for the folks over at Square Enix. I've put six hours into the final version of Bravely Default, and let me be the first to tell you that it's every bit as good as you hoped it would be. With a scenario penned by Naotaka Hayashi of Steins;Gate fame, and a score penned by Revo from Sound Horizon, Bravely Default feels like a classic RPG from the 90's that everybody just kind of forgot about.
The story kicks off fast and furious, wasting no time introducing the four main characters and their individual goals. Diverse villains cycle in and out, each one possessing a different job that unlocks once you've beaten them in battle. If you've watched any of the gameplay trailers, you already know that Bravely Default is a beautiful looking game. What I'm sure you didn't know about is how fantastic it looks in 3D. Each pre-rendered background is layered in such a way to best take advantage of the 3D effect. This might be the first 3DS game I play through entirely with the slider turned up.
Revo's score is a mix of heavy electric guitar and a strong orchestral background. Coming off of Ys Celceta, I was surprised by just how much Bravely Default's soundtrack reminded me of some of Falcom's best. That's as high a compliment as I can give it. If you haven't given it a listen yet, check out the wonderful battle theme here.
There's been no word from Square Enix about a possible localization, and given Final Fantasy Type-0's depressing fate, there's no guarantee that this is going to make it west. Keep your fingers crossed folks, because it'd be a damn shame if Bravely Default didn't get the love it deserved.