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Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games! - JAPANATOR
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Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games!


11:00 AM on 12.08.2012
Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games! photo



Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to a jam packed edition of Go West!. Week 36 is practically leaking games from every single orifice, due in no small part to there being no Go West! last week. As a result, here I am buried under a metric ton of Japanese releases.

Huzzah!

We've got a lot of ground to cover, so follow me after the break as I fight witches while riding yakuza wyverns. Or something.

Releases for November 25-December 1 & December 2-8:

Wii U:


Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
Capcom
Online Price: 5,151 Yen ($64.90)

Releasing a Wii U premium set that comes with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is a brilliant idea on Nintendo's part. Hell, I picked up a Japanese Wii U today at launch and ended up going with the Monster Hunter pack as well. As for the game itself? My system is still updating (hah), so I'm unfortunately in no position to talk about the game proper, but for those of you who have been following the 3DS version, it's pretty much the exact same game. 

Except for a few very big differences.

The most obvious one being that MH3U is in HD. Textures have been updated, and icons have been fixed so that they're not a blurry mess on HD sets (looking at you Portable 3rd HD). Ultimate was a beautiful looking 3DS game with some fabulous lighting effects thanks to Capcom's MT Framework. This has allowed them to up-port in such a way that Ultimate still looks quite great. It's not the next gen Monster Hunter many of us want, but this is still a pretty damn solid way to pass the time until that title arrives. 

The other big difference is that Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the Wii U has full online multiplayer built in. Unlike the 3DS version of the game, you'll be able to take your badass hunter online with three other friends. As many MH fans are aware, the hunting genre is one that really does lean heavily on players helping one another out. Having a veteran player around to teach you the ropes is the difference between giving up seven hours in, or becoming a monster slaying mamajama.

Other additions include the ability to transport your save file back and forth between the Wii U and 3DS version, something I'll be taking advantage of quite a bit I imagine. 

I'd hold off on importing this one. Capcom's bringing both versions of the game west, and there's no reason to buy a JP console just because you can't hold off for a few months. 

Playstation 3:


Super Robot Wars OG 2
Bandai Namco Games
Online Price: 7,690 Yen ($96.90)

It only took a bajillion years, but Bandai Namco's cross over mech anime strategy RPG extravaganza has finally made its way to current generation home consoles. Rather than going the licensed route on their first outing, BN has returned to its OG series. As expected, OG 2 sold super well its first week, burning through most of its shipment at just over 200,000 copies. 

I have a hard time balancing my love and hatred for strategy RPGs, and Super Robot Wars both fascinates me and frustrates me with its long and beautiful attack cinematics. On the one hand, they're just so goddamn cool. On the other, they're completely non-interactive and after 50 hours, I find it hard to stay excited about them. Nonetheless, SRW fans know exactly what they're getting into here, only now the whole thing looks beautiful in HD. 

Feel free to import this one since we all know it'll be a cold day in hell before this hits western shores. 

Yakuza 5
Sega
Online Price: 8,405 Yen ($105.90)

Yakuza 5 is so goddamn expensive that it has completely put me off to buying it in the immediate future.

Seriously, even by Japanese pricing standards, this is ridiculous and Sega really needs to take a long, deep look at itself in the mirror. Shame on you Sega! Go to your room and think about what you've done!

All [non] jokes aside, There's a reason why the Yakuza series has made it to a fifth game. Despite being very different titles, the Yakuza series is very much so Japan's Grand Theft Auto, and 5 seems set to light up the charts with its multiple cities. Hell, I'm excited to visit the in-game version of Fukuoka, a city I hold very near and dear to my heart.

As for whether or not you should be importing this, it's kind of up in the air. Sega has done a really good job of bringing nearly every game in the franchise over, and considering this is a mainline title, I don't think fans should have much to worry about.

Plus, who really wants to pay $105.90+? 

Xbox 360:


Love Tore: Mint Version
Boost On
Online Price: 6,597 Yen ($82.90)

You all remember Love Tore right? That delightful Xbox 360 game about dancing with hot high school girls and winning their love via your crazy moves?

No? You'd rather forget about it?

Ok. You win. Let's all just move on with our lives.

PS Vita:


Fate/Stay Night [Realta Nua]
Kadokawa Shoten
Online Price: 6,024 Yen ($75.90)

This is actually a bigger deal than some of you might realize. Fate/Stay Night found a lot of its massive success due to the original Realta Nua release for the PS2. By stripping the game of its pornographic content, Type Moon was able to reach a much wider audience that has stuck with the franchise to this day. Hell, just look at the numbers that this Vita port did last week: over 30,000 copies sold. For an old visual novel like F/SN, that's quite impressive. Also, unlike practically every VN ever made, F/SN was never ported to the PSP, making this the first time the game has been playable on the go.

What does this mean for you folks? Quite a bit, potentially.

In the past few years, a surprising amount of visual novels have made their way overseas in official capacities. Games like 999, Virtue's Last Reward, Hakuoki, and even the Phoenix Wright games have helped to make western audiences a little bit more open to the idea of a game that is composed of primarily text. Last year, Aksys Games localized and released Fate/EXTRA, a dungeon crawler with a strong focus on story, told mostly through text. Next year, they'll be releasing the Hakuoki spin-off action game. If there was ever a time for Fate/Stay Night to get picked up, this is it. Don't lose hope folks.

This new port features brand new Ufotable animated openings for each of the paths, sharp visuals and an extra bonus game. While there's no new story content, it's not hard to argue that this is the definitive version of Fate/Stay Night. If you're confident in your Japanese skills, definitely pick this one up.

Atelier Totori Plus
Gust
Online Price: 6,024 Yen ($75.90)

This is one of those franchises that I've always wanted to try, but never got around to. Plus gives me the perfect opportunity to finally see what all the fuss is about.

Even on the Vita, Atelier Totori Plus is a beautiful looking game. The semi-cel shaded visuals and charming art style do a lot to cover for the low detail environments and textures. This upgraded port also features a new dungeon, additional playable characters and new costumes. Given that I'm unfamiliar with the original game, I unfortunately can't speak to the extent of these new features. Sorry about that!

Unlike Ciel no Surge, Atelier Totori Plus is a fairly orthodox RPG, so I can totally see this making its way west. The localization is already done, so there wouldn't be a ton of work involved. I recommend holding off for a little bit, unless you're a huge fan of the franchise. 

Nintendo 3DS:


Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney
Level 5
Online Price: 5,555 Yen ($69.99)

Welcome back Phoenix and Maya, we missed you two like crazy sauce!

Oh hey Layton, Luke. I guess you guys are ok too.

That pretty much sums up my feelings on Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney. After spending ten hours with the game, it feels more like an AA game with some Layton puzzles as a bonus. The Layton games always had an investigation element to them, so the only thing to distinguish those portions from the AA half of the game is the puzzle aspect. The game is broken up into chapters, most of which seem to finish with a trial in which Phoenix tries to prove the innocence of an innocent. This is the same Ace Attorney you know and love, the biggest difference being that you now have to cross examine groups of people rather than individuals. Things can get a little crazy, but it's as exciting as you remember it to be. 

One thing that's really been taking me off guard is how great the production values are in Layton vs AA. Level 5 has never been known to slack when it comes to putting money into their properties, so maybe it shouldn't be so surprising. Nonetheless, Ace Attorney games have always been fairly low budget affairs, so seeing Phoenix and Maya with all the bells and whistles is genuinely exciting. The music is great, the visuals are fantastic, and the UI is beautiful. Character models take some getting used to, but once you see their crazy animations, you'll warm up to them as fast as I did.

Amazingly, Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney still hasn't been announced for an English language release. Considering how successful the Layton games seem to be in western territories, this strikes me as a huge mistake. This game is a great way to get people to reminder Phoenix and Maya, thus drumming up interest for AA5. Make it happen guys and gals!

UnchainBlades EXIV
FuRyu
Online Price: 5,786 Yen ($72.90)

UnchainBlades EXIV sold awfully last week. I think it's safe to say this short lived franchise is probably dead.

The UnchainBlades games are first person dungeon crawls, with characters designed by a huge group of famous and not so famous character designers. That's really its primary selling point; the gameplay itself isn't going to blow any minds, and the story is as cliche ridden as you can imagine. There's fun to be had here, but for $72.90, there are much better games out there. 

Skip this one.

Playstation Portable:


Kamen Rider Chou Climax Heroes
Bandai Namco games
Online Price: 6,024 Yen ($75.90)

These Kamen Rider fighting games seem to sell well enough to warrant a fairly consistent release schedule, though I'm not sure who is actually buying these. There's not enough depth here to draw in the hardcore fighting game fans, and I feel like younger kids would be more interested in the side scrolling beat-em-ups that give them instant gratification. 

I guess if you're a huge Kamen Rider nut, this'll probably quench your thirst for more rider kicks and flashy poses. Everybody else? Feel free to pass on this one.

Saint Seiya Ω Ultimate Cosmo
Bandai Namco games
Online Price: 4,992 Yen ($62.90)

Saint Seiya brings back memories. I have very clear memories of watching the show when I was a child, and it's probably one of the many reasons I do what I do today.

That being said, Ultimate Cosmo looks like a rather unfortunate cash in on the brand. It's a one on one 2.5D fighter with some light story elements. Now you too can recreate your favorite Saint Seiya moments! Sort of. Not really.

I love fighting games, but rarely are these PSP fighters ever worth the money they cost. I say pass.

School Wars
QuinRose
Online Price: 6,024 Yen ($75.90)

When Idea Factory fails me, I always know I can count on QuinRose to deliver the good times. 

After losing her father in an accident, our heroine has given up all hope of ever graduating high school. In a sea of despair, she's given a single opportunity to get an education. Transferred to the specialty school, Hareai High, what she finds is more than she's prepared to handle. As it turns out, Hareai isn't just a specialty school; it's a front for a training ground designed to raise soldiers and those who deal in mafia business/weapon's trafficking and the like. Vowing to graduate at all costs, our heroine makes it through to her senior year, which is where shit gets real.

QuinRose, if you were a person, I'd hug the ever living hell out of you. The premise for this game is ridiculous on so many levels that I couldn't help but crack a smile as I wrote the above synopsis. You win this round.

Import if you like insanity and have a firm grip on Japanese (but not your mind).

Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de: Oshie Nikki Portable
Minato Station
Online Price: 5,944 Yen ($74.90)

Interestingly enough, Oshie Nikki is much more than a generic visual novel; it's actually an escape game!

As the butler of the house, you accidentally get locked in a room with no way out. Being the butler, there's no way you can just break the doors or windows without receiving a heavy punishment. The goal of the game is to find a way out, all the while romancing the girls of the house. Or something.

Yup. Just got play 999 instead.

[And that's all for this week's giant edition of Go West! folks. Thanks for joining me, and feel free to leave any questions you may have in the comments below! I'd be more than happy to help if I can. You can also reach me via my Twitter account: @RyougaSaotome. See you guys and gals next week!]

Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games! photo
Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games! photo
Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games! photo
Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games! photo
Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games! photo
Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games! photo
Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games! photo
Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games! photo
Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games! photo
Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games! photo
Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games! photo
Go West! Week Thirty-Six: Games, games, games! photo





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