Welcome ladies and gentlemen to Go West!, your favorite column for your weekly dose of Elliot playing and talking about games so you don't have to!
This week sees a scattering of game releases across all the consoles, with two very big entries in a long running franchise arriving to wipe the floor with everything else for the next few months.
After all, who can resist the urge to catch them all? Again. And again. And again.
Not this guy!
Follow me after the break as I go outside and throw balls at moe anime girls in the hopes of turning them into my fighting slaves.
Releases for the week of June 17-23:
K-On! Houkago Live HD Version (Playstation 3)
Hougako Live is an HD port of the PSP rhythm game from last year, so if you played that you'll know exactly what you're getting yourself into with this one. Given the shocking lack of K-On! videogames on the market, I imagine this'll probably do pretty well amongst the super otaku crowd. I've never played it (and won't), but it looks like Sega reused a lot of the gameplay mechanics from their Project Diva series. In that sense, you can at least trust that it'll play well.
K-On! does absolutely nothing for me, so I could care less about this one. If you're a big fan though, you could probably do a lot worse than to import Houkago Live; there's no chance this is going west. The language barrier should also be quite low if other rhythm games are any indication.
Shutsugeki!! Otometachi no Senjou 2 (Playstation 3)
This is apparently a strategy RPG game, though I'd prefer to think of it as anti-clothing propaganda. Look at the disturbed face of the anime character above; clearly she's being attacked by the clothes that are clinging to her body. As the main character, it's your duty to use all sorts of weapons (tanks, missiles, grenades) to destroy the evil clothing parasites so that she can once again be free.
I have absolutely no idea what this series is about so I won't even claim to know what I'm talking about. I guess if you played the first game and dug it, you'll like this too? The language barrier is strong with this one. Don't expect this to ever go west. I'd sooner turn into a giant cat woman before that happens.
Arcana Famiglia: Yuureisen no Majutsushi (Playstation Portable)
I'm as quick as any to rag on otome or galge that have silly as hell premises. Living in Japan, you see a lot of crap floating around, making it hard sometimes to find the diamond in the rough. There are good games out there, and Arcana Famiglia looks like it could be one of them. An otome game at heart, Arcana follows a special guard unit of the mafia called the Arcana Famiglia. Through a contract made with a guardian named Tarroco, these soldiers are able to use the power of the arcana, fighting in a tournament called the Arcana Duelo. The main character, a girl named Ferichita must use her powers to defend her master from outsiders, working alongside her fellow arcana wielders.
I've seen games from this series floating around before and found myself immediately attracted to its dark, black-heavy art style. For all I know, Famiglia could fall into the same old tropes that 80% of other otome games fall into, but I'd like to believe this could be something cool. I'll wait on a price drop before I take the dive though.
If you dig otome games, you could probably do a helluva lot worse than this. Strong Japanese reading ability is a must though!
Kenka Banchou Bros. Tokyo Battle Royal (Playstation Portable)
Kenka Banchou is one of Spike's major series, having made a new game nearly every year for the past few years. They're 3D brawlers that take some open world game elements and simplify them a bit for portable play. I enjoy them, but I actually preferred the spin off from last year, Gachitora, which was essentially Great Teacher Onizuka in video game form. I guess that was only a one off though as Spike has once again returned to letting the player control a delinquent instead.
This time around there are two main characters, brothers in fact. Expect the same kind of craziness as before, just more of it. Kenka Banchou has made it west before, but I'm doubting we'll ever see another PSP entry over there. If anything, it's a shame that Gachitora ended up getting overlooked.
I have a confession: I never completed Pokemon Black or White. I bought a copy of White, played and enjoyed it but once I got to the Elite Four I got distracted and never went back to it. I will say though that BW was the first time in years that I cared enough about a Pokemon game to actually buy and play it. The whole thing felt pretty new to me and scratched that nostalgia itch just right.
That being said, BW2 is a bit of a departure from the normal formula. Rather than simply releasing the same game with some small enhancements like they usually due, Nintendo made a direct story to the original, moving forward through time and making changes all over the place. This isn't a new region, but there's enough new here to justify the number. BW actually saw some measure of success for actually having something that resembled a real story and cast of characters, so Nintendo probably wanted to capitalize on that.
I picked up a copy of Black 2 today using some of my points at the local anime store, netting me the game for free. I'm looking forward to seeing what's new here and hopefully finishing the damn thing.
I wouldn't recommend importing unless you absolutely have to have your dose of Pokemon sooner rather than later. Pokemon games will always go west.
[And that's all for this week folks! A somewhat slim week with a few big releases. Next week is looking pretty ok as well, but as we head further into summer, releases are getting to get sparser and sparser. Fear not! I'll be here as always to suffer through endless galge and otome games. You can count on it. If you can't get enough of me or Japanese video games, check out Red Sun Gamer, a weekly podcast about Japanese games and living in Japan. We're awesome, I swear. See you folks next week!]
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