After hearing Kamen Rider Girls in the first two Kamen Rider Battride War titles, it feels a bit strange that the group didn't return to sing Battride War Genesis' theme. My guess is that it might have to do with their album...
You know that the universe is about to explode when Segata Sanshiro appears in not one but two games. Besides his appearance in Project X Zone 2, the legendary mascot of the Sega Saturn is reprising his role as Takeshi Hongo...
As we get closer to Halloween, the folks at Bandai Namco have channeled their spiritual energy to bring us a new trailer for Kamen Rider Battride War Genesis. Honestly, it looks like it isn't much of an improvement over the ...
Wow. That was fast. I didn't expect for Bandai Namco to upload Kamen Rider Battride War Genesis' first trailer so soon. Then again, the Tokyo Game Show '15 is almost here so it would make sense for them to start building peo...
If there's one thing that the Super Robot Wars series does right with their trailers, it's that they tend to fill people's hearts with a huge surge of hot-blooded energy. In most cases, this high dosage of enthusiasm can res...
It's been a month since 3rd Super Robot Wars Z Part 2 hit Japan and the next title has been revealed. Titled Super Robot Wars BX, this upcoming game's being made for the 3DS and it plans to improve on the features from Super ...
Attention, people; Bandai Namco has launched a 14-minute trailer for 3rd Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku Hen, which is the perfect cure to obliterate anyone's bad mood. This time around, we're treated to more of the usual action...
Even though Kamen Rider Summonride contains a few features that should've been in the Battride War series (such as a co-op option), I'm still on the fence on whether to Drive the Game or not. As a series of new images enter t...
As Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax prepares for its console debut in November, the game receives a new trailer that gives us the rundown on the title's content. This time around, we get to see Izaya, Accelerator, and Dokuro-c...
When Bandai Namco announced that they were giving Kamen Rider the Skylanders treatment in Kamen Rider Summonride, I will admit that I was a bit curious about the title will play. Now that the team has shown us the ...
Aug 27 //
Persona 3 The Movie #2: Midsummer Knight's DreamStudio: A-1 PicturesDistributed by: AniplexRelease Date: June 7, 2014
Much like Movie #1, Midsummer Knight's Dream cuts off a lot of the fat from the Persona 3 story so that it can make its way to the end goal within the allotted run-time. What this means is that there are zero social link side stories, and ultimately very little of the school-life portions that help to make the game's so endearing. That being said, I think in the name of letting the full Persona 3 narrative breathe, these were necessary cuts. The film already suffers from how chopped up the original storytelling was, and bringing in the optional content would have only made the pacing suffer more.
Unlike Spring of Birth however, the portion of the game that Movie #2 covers is both eventful and ties into the larger plot at large. The film essentially kicks off with Aigis' entrance, and it ends on a huge story beat that also happens to serve as a strong cliffhanger. In my Persona 3 The Movie: #1 piece, I noted that in order to give the narrative a proper through-line, Yuki was given an extremely apathetic personality. The goal was to show his gradually growth into a person who could depend and care about others by the end of the movie, and it works. This time around, the underlying theme becomes “do we really want to go back to everyday life?” The notion of a fear of normality is shared across most of the cast: Yuki is afraid of losing his place, Fuka wants to be useful to the people she cares about, Ken has finally found a new family. The list goes on, but ultimately the heroes now have a true objective (destroying all the large Shadows), and are unsure as to whether they actually want to see it through or not. The seeds of confusion are planted by the primary antagonists, the Persona-users that comprise Strega, who would see the Dark Hour continue eternally if they had their way.
Much of the film's focus is on Aigis and her super powers, but the emotional core rests in Ken and Shinji's laps. If you despised Ken in the original game, this isn't going to change your opinion, but I for one never had much of a problem with his character. He's an emotional elementary school kid who has no family to turn to, is given a powerful weapon, and is jarringly made aware of the tragic truth behind his mother's death. After barely appearing in Spring of Birth, Shinji gets plenty of screen time here and happens to have one of the funniest moments across both films thus far.
My biggest complaint yet again is the general disjointedness of the movie. Often times the characters will go from hanging out at a restaurant to fighting a main boss Shadow back to back with only a calendar transition to let the audience know that time has passed. On the one hand, the film series has finally introduced its main antagonists and end goal, so it actually feels as though the characters are working toward something. On the other hand, that hasn't erased the fact that due to the nature of the source material, lots of time gets skipped over frequently. That being said, I understand that this is a unique problem that's present when adapting the Persona franchise for TV or film, and I'm willing to accept that these films aren't going to try and find an alternative. It's just something that bares mentioning regardless.
On the technical side of things, A-1 Productions has taken over animation duties for AIC ASTA, and it certainly shows. Aigis gets the brunt of the great animation cuts, with her introductory action sequence being a real showstopper. There's still some off-model wackiness that goes on here and there, but on the whole it's solid across the board, and a decent enough step up from the first movie. It's certainly leaps and bounds better than the original animated cutscenes in the Persona 3 game. Shoji Meguro's soundtrack is an electric mix of music from the game and new themes which blend together nicely. His work is rarely ever anything less than great, and I'm looking forward to grabbing the soundtrack CD whenever it's made available. I also want to give a quick shout-out to the best use of the Persona 3 battle theme ever: you'll know it when you see it.
Persona 3 The Movie: #2 had the monumental task of not only introducing the core story for the remaining films, but also its primary villains and the rest of the cast. Despite thr brief run time of 93 minutes, it manages to do that as well as impress with some great action sequences and some drama to boot. I wasn't sure what to expect with the studio switch from AIC ASTA to A-1 Pictures, but clearly it was the right move.
I had my doubts about trying to adapt Persona 3 into a series of films. It's a huge game with a massive cast, lots of various subplots, and way too much content to tackle in such a short time span. To my surprise however, the movies have been doing a noble job of it. While nothing can replace the experience of actually playing the original source material, Persona 3 The Movie: #2 Midsummer Knight's Dream is a great watch for fans of the game. If you have friends who have always wanted to dip their toes into the franchise without the time investment, you can do a hell of a lot worse than sitting them down with the films.
8.0 – Great. A great example of its genre that everyone should see, regardless of their interest.
Baby baby baby baby baby Despite its pacing problems and general lack of an overarching story, I enjoyed Persona 3 The Movie: #1 Spring of Birth. As far as animated film adaptations of long games go, I think it did a novel job of compressing hours of...
Oh my. I never expected to see the day that the Kamen Rider franchise would receive a game that'd be similar to Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and Nintendo's Amiibo toys. Then again, both Kamen Rider and Super Sentai have their...
Jul 29 //
Salvador GRodiles Kamen Rider Battride War II (PS3 [Regular Edition Reviewed], Wii U) Developer: Eighting Publisher: Bandai Namco Games Release Date: June 26, 2014 MSRP: Regular Edition: ¥ 7,689 [PS3, Wii U], Limited Edition: ¥ 11,286 [PS3, Wii U]
Starting off with the latest Kamen Rider series, Kamen Rider Battride War II focuses on Kamen Rider Gaim, Baron, and Ryugen, as they’re sent into a strange movie theater. In this mysterious cinema, the three Riders meet two ghost-like children and suspicious fellow who goes by the name of Sinema. As Kamen Rider Gaim’s characters try to assess the matter at hand, our heroes end up being taken to various realms that Sinema sends them to. Of course, these areas are based off of the Kamen Rider movies from the Heisei Rider shows.
First and foremost, Kamen Rider Battride War II’s plot is very straightforward. Gaim and his crew travel to different stages until they meet up with the other Heisei Riders. Then the players have to help the Heisei Riders win their signature battles in their corresponding films. Aside from that, the game throws in a few surprises when Sinema decides to change things up for our heroes, which acts a way to add variety to the story. Sadly, Battride War II's Chronicle/Story Mode wasn't executed well.
Instead of utilizing elements from every Heisei Rider film in existence, Eighting chose to use one film per Rider show. Because of this decision, players were forced to re-battle the game's bosses more than twice. Ironically, this choice was an element that affected the first Battride War game’s quality as well, so it’s a bit disappointing to see that Eighting didn’t learn from their previous mistakes. On top of that, the most of Battride War II’s movie stages are missing certain Riders and monsters that played a major role in the original Heisei Rider films (such as Shadow Moon from the All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker film). Perhaps if Eighting chose to split each film into three stages to represent the movie’s key points (beginning, middle, and end), then we could’ve gotten the chance to battle every Heisei Rider movie villain during the game’s Chronicle Mode.
If there’s one good thing about Eighting's involvement with the Battride War series, it's the Riders themselves. Players have access to three special finishing moves that can be executed with the Triangle, Circle, or Triangle and Circle Buttons together. When you press the Square Button, you'll be able to execute the Riders' normal combo. Despite the title’s simplistic combat actions, each Rider is capable of changing various forms, which changes the way how their combos and special moves work. While they could’ve added some branching combos to each character, Eighting still managed to capture the feel of using our favorite Bug-Eyed Heroes against hordes of enemies. Thankfully, Kamen Rider Fourze Base States and Gaim Zenith Arms are capable of doing different moves based on when you press Triangle during their combos, so players at least have the option to use a character with a broader move set.
Aside from capturing each Rider’s fighting style, Eighting managed to improve Battride War’s II gameplay. For example, Kamen Rider OOO’s Tajador Combo now has an actual move set, and players are able to equip different Super Forms to Riders like Fourze and Wizard. While we’re on the topic of powerful transformations, if a player changes into a Rider’s Super Form, then they’ll be able to unleash the hero’s ultimate finishing move on your targets. Afterwards, you’ll be able to play as a Super Rider until your special gauge goes down; thus granting players the ability to feel like a true Kamen Rider.
In addition to the Riders' Super Forms, Battride War II added an Ultimate System where players can change into the Riders' Movie Forms. Unlike your Super Transformation, the Ultimate Special only increases your strength while slowing down all enemies and bosses on screen. If a Rider lacks an Ultimate Form, then they’ll remain in their Super Form while receiving the Ultimate System’s benefits. Besides the game's two destructive specials, players can now cancel their combos with the X Button. Depending on the Rider that you select, players’ll get to roll, jump, or use a special ability when they cancel a combo.
Other gameplay features include the Assist Rider System, which allows players to summon a Rider to hit an enemy or boss with a special attack. Thanks to this system, a good chunk of the Heisei Rider series’ Secondary Riders are now usable in the game. While it’s unfortunate that Kamen Rider Accel, Birth, Meteor, Beast, and Baron are the only playable Supporting Riders, it’s nice to see that Battride War II put some of the other Riders to good use. Best of all, the main Riders can be set to Assist Characters as well, so you’ll have a ton of combinations to experiment with. Since the new system allows you to summon an extra attacker, I found this feature to be very useful when I needed to break out of a boss' combo. All in all, the game's new elements allows players to implement more effective strategies against Battride War II's challenges, which act as a nice warm welcome to the series.
When you’re not playing through Battride War II’s story, players have the option to test their skills in the game’s Survival Mode. In this segment, you’ll get to fight your way through random stages while overcoming various handicaps, which is very similar to the Rider Road Mode from the first game. If you managed to reign supreme, then you’ll be rewarded with special Figures that can be used to improve each Rider’s ability. Unlike the first Battride War, the Figures can now increase a Rider’s stats while retaining their special abilities. On top of that, the Toys are now capable of leveling up in battle, which adds a neat layer to the game itself. Unfortunately, Survival Mode is the only way for you to unlock Figures, so you’ll want to switch between the title's two options if you want to awaken your favorite characters true potential.
Despite Eighting's attempt to improve Battride War II’s gameplay, this didn’t save the title from its flaws. Besides battling human-sized bosses, the team decided to add giant adversaries to the game’s sequel. While this concept sounds great on paper, the battles themselves were annoying to get through. Since it seemed that Eighting didn’t program the large boss’ hit-boxes properly, I found it very difficult to land a hit on most the title’s huge enemies. Compared to games like the Monster Hunter series, I felt that my attacks had little to no impact on the title's ginormous foes. Thankfully, these battles weren’t frequent, so it wasn’t enough to turn Battride War II into a terrible game. Other than that, it's still unfortunate that players can't run over enemies with their motorcycles, and the lack of a co-op option continues to be two minor recurring issues that have yet to be resolved.
Besides my issues with most of the game's mechanics, I encountered a few glitches in Battride War II that prevented me from clearing certain stages. On a few occasions, I fell through the stage, which meant that I had to replay the entire level all over again. Luckily, I only encountered this bug twice, so there’s a chance that it might not happen too frequently. Other issues include the game's sound muting in most areas, and a freezing issue that occurs when you continuously use your Ultimate in any area that takes place in the castle from the Kamen Rider Wizard movie. While none of these glitches have messed with my game file, they can be annoying when you’re doing great during certain stages in Battride War II.
As for Battride War II’s graphics, the game looks no different from the first title, as it still looks like an early PS3 game with HD PS2 quality environments. In fact, many of Battride War’s previous assets were recycled in the second installment. From the stages to the Riders and enemies from Kuuga to Wizard, none of these aspects were given a graphical update. While the Kamen Rider franchise has been known for reusing sets and locations, this doesn’t mean that Eighting should use the designs from the previous game without improving them. Despite being a person who favors gameplay over graphics, I felt that Battride War II could've look a bit better to warrant the title’s retail price. On a more positive note, the second game’s animations are better than before, which meant that Eighting touched up the characters who didn't receive new moves and/or Forms.
Music wise, the game's soundtrack was disappointing, as each track felt like a generic freeware song or a rejected Kamen Rider battle theme. Sure, “Break the Shell” by Kamen Rider Girls was amazing, but one tune isn’t enough to save Battride War II’s entire music track. Luckily, players are given the option to create a Custom Soundtrack with any song that's on their PS3 console. On top of that, you also have the option to decide when the game plays your selected tracks (such as the menu, stage music, or the Riders’ transformation themes), which can be set to each Rider as well. Thanks to this feature, players can bypass the game’s mediocre tunes.
Overall, Kamen Rider Battride War II had the potential to be a great game for the franchise's viewers, but the title's various flaws held it back from becoming a fine product. Even then, it was still a blast to obliterate waves of enemies with the Riders that Battride War II had to offer. While the title has enough content to please most Kamen Rider fans, I recommend waiting for Battride War II to go down in price before diving in. In the meantime, if you’re interested in a good Kamen Rider action game, then I recommend checking out All Kamen Rider: Rider Generation 2 for the PSP or DS, since it’s a beat em’ up title that contains over 50 Riders and villains.
6 -- Alright (6s may be slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy them a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.)
Journey through the Decayed Back when Kamen Rider Battride War was first announced, many toku fans were excited over the fact that they were getting a Dynasty Warriors-like game that featured their favorite Heisei Riders from Kamen Rider Kuuga...
It's been three weeks since we last saw the Kamen Rider Girls play Kamen Rider Battride War II. Now the idol group is back to try out Kamen Rider Kiva, Den-O, Gaim, and Wizard. Unlike Bandai Namco's last video...
It was only a matter of time until we got to see Kamen Rider Battride War II's Gaim Zenith/Kiwami Arms DLC in action. Lo and behold, the folks at Bandai Namco uploaded a brief trailer that shows off the Mighty Warlord's...
I had mix feelings with the original Kamen Rider Battride War game. While the first title's playable Riders were very close to the ones from the TV series, Battride War felt like an incomplete game. Thankfully, Battride ...
Bandai Namco's latest PS3 Mobile Suit Gundam game is going to be one hell of a package. Gundam: Side Stories isn't just a single game, but rather a collection of six new and remade old titles from the Side Story series. I ha...
The past few months of Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth trailers have been fairly brief. Character overviews, brief bits and pieces of battles; there hasn't been a beefy video exploring the entire game in quite some time.
Ace Attorney is easily one of my top five favorite video game series. It's weird, it's got fantastic characters, and the music gets my blood pumping at all the right times. I loved Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, and to say I ...
I played Acquire's open world strip-action game, Akiba's Trip 2, when it came out in Japan this past year. While it wasn't exactly a mind blowing experience one way or the other, I had my fun with it. I think there are defini...
I may not be terribly fond of giant franchise that is Sword Art Online, but even I can respect something for being ridiculously popular across a wide variety of demographics.
With Bandai Namco's Sword Art Online: Hollow Frag...
Taiko no Tatsujin is great. You may not know it, but there was once a time when these games, albeit with an altered soundtrack, actually made it out of Japan. Unfortunately for us, this stopped years ago, but Japan has contin...
I'm a sucker for RPGs that take place in modern settings. I get it, we all want to visit strange new worlds and unfamiliar places, but there's something utterly captivating about looking at normality through a less than norma...
Mar 10 //
Elliot Gay Releases for the week of February 23 - 29:
Ar no SurgeGustOnline Price: $67.99
Ar no Surge is an interesting game for a few reasons. For some, it's the long awaited new Ar Tonelico title, while for others, it's Gust finally making good on their promise to make the Surge series into something more than just an odd visual novel/dating simulation. I can't speak as to whether it successfully satisfies either of those crowds, but I can't fault them for trying.
Ar no Surge combines the mythos of Ciel no Surge and Gust's Ar Tonelico series into one game, serving as both a prequel and a new potential launching point. Familiar characters from both series make appearances in key roles, and music is once again a major part of the thematic focus.The game follows two sets of characters, Delta and Casty, as well as Earthes and Ion. Each group starts in a different place, but ultimately these two narratives supposedly come together in search of the truth of the world. If nothing else, it seems a bit more grounded/serious than the weirdness that plagued Ar Tonelico 3.
Character models look good but I'm not exactly sold on the combat system yet. You battle enemies in waves as a pair, but the whole thing looks a bit bland. I've yet to try the free demo on JP PS+ though, so take what I'm saying with a grain of salt.
I have a lot of respect for Gust, but to be quite honest I'm more excited for the eventual next Atelier game right now. I'd recommend against importing for now; even the bland Ar Tonelico 3 managed to get itself localized.
Soul Sacrifice DeltaSony Computer EntertainmentOnline Price: $49.99
It's hard to believe that it has already been a year since Soul Sacrifice first hit store shelves in Japan. It marked the beginning of the Vita finding its footing (even just a little) in Japan, and the system has been relatively stable ever since. It was a great little game with an interesting story based on Arthurian legends, had some cool bosses, and a unique take on the hunting genre. There were certainly problems with game balance and content, but it was a solid first effort.
Soul Sacrifice Delta is to Soul Sacrifice as Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is to Monster Hunter 3. Delta takes the original SS and expands on it, tweaks it, and polishes it up. Fifteen or so new monsters, new combo magic, upgraded visuals, more music, and new story chapters have all been added to the package making for a beefy experience. I've only spent six hours with Delta, but I've already seen a load of new content that have helped to make the whole thing feel fresh despite how much I played the vanilla version. On a mechanical level, I think this is a far superior game; it feels as though the development team have figured out what works and what doesn't. The leveling system has been refined, and players are no longer scavenging for offerings to power their magic on the battlefield. You can now align yourself with one of three factions, making for a more interesting online experience as well.
I can't wait till we get to the point where these kinds of games stop getting called Monster Hunter clones. Capcom's giant franchise has spawned a new genre, and I'm more than happy to welcome new attempts at doing something different with the formula.
Chances are pretty solid that Delta will get localized, so I recommend waiting. If you understand Japanese though, I recommend importing. The vanilla version's English language release made changes that I think took away from the narrative.
[And that's that! A short list of releases, but I've been enjoying Delta quite a bit so it isn't a complete loss. This week brings with it a handful of new releases, so look forward to the next edition of Go West!]
Huzzah! New things to play! Welcome back to Go West!, your [yet again not] weekly column about Japanese video games, sushi, and longingly gazing outside at the soon-to-blossom cherry trees.
This entry is coming to you folks a bit late, but at least ther...
Sega's Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd hits Japanese Vita and PS3 consoles on March 27. If you're a fan of rhythm games, I have no doubt that you probably already have that date marked on your calender. This series is popul...
The first Soul Sacrifice for the Vita was an interesting take on the hunting game genre. Fast paced and a bit more easy to grasp for people new to the house that Monster Hunter built, it was dark, had a fantastic soundtrack,...
Getting sick of all the J-Stars news? I certainly hope not, because here's the next serving! According to a leaked scan of this month's V-Jump, there are five more combatants joining the already sizeable cast; three as fully ...
Feb 12 //
Puyo Puyo Tetris (PS Vita, PS3, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U)Developer: SegaPublisher: SegaRelease date: February 6, 2014Price: $50.99 [PS3: $50.99] [Wii U: $51.99] [3DS: $50.99]
I've been playing puzzle games for a very long time, despite having never been any good at them. Tetris got a whole lot of attention from me on the original Gameboy, but it was Puyo Puyo that made falling blocks truly amazing for me. Originally developed by Compile, the arcade version's big claim to fame at the time was its focus on two player competitive modes. While Tetris eventually ended up adding head-to-head to its repertoire, the basic game mechanics stayed mostly the same. In Compile's series however, players were constantly forced to think quickly about how to create combos and send useless garbage over to the other player's side. The competitive element was strong, and it felt good watching another player, be it your friend or the CPU, struggle under the weight of colorless puyo blobs. It was fast paced, exciting, and perhaps just as importantly, super cute thanks to the odd cast of characters taken from Compile's other series, Madou Monogatari.
So here we are, 13 years after the initial release of Puyo Puyo for the MSX and Famicom systems. In what can only be described as one of the oddest crossover games I've ever seen, Sega has given birth to Puyo Puyo Tetris. It combines the two massive puzzlers into one package, bringing both styles of gameplay together for the first time. If this sounds crazy to you, that's because it probably is. It's so crazy that it actually works.
Puyo Puyo Tetris is a a package of significant volume, featuring game modes for every type of possible player. This means that if you just want to play Puyo Puyo the traditional way, you can. Feel like taking on a game of Tetris? Go right ahead. It mostly definitely feels as though Sega designed this game to celebrate these two beloved puzzle franchises.
New modes include PuyoTeto Mix, Swap, Party, Big Bang, and Tokoton. The first of the bunch combines Tetris blocks and puyos together on the game field, forcing you to think ahead for when the rules change without notice. It's frantic and incredibly demanding, but also quite exciting. Swap mode has you playing only Tetris or Puyo Puyo as a timer counts down. When that timer hits zero, the other game is swapped in. This creates a situation where you have a limited amount of time to push ahead of your opponent before you're forced to focus your attention elsewhere. Party allows players to pick whichever game style suits their needs. Big Bang is played entirely in Fever mode, making for high speed puzzle battles in which the goal is to do damage to your opponent's life bar. In my experience, these matches don't ever last very long, making it great for short bursts. Tokoton takes you through six different rule sets. Each of these modes are available in local and online multiplayer.
Regardless of your play style, there's something here for everybody. The online tools are also extremely robust, allowing for ranked matches, non-ranked matches, watching replays, and a setup for an entire country-wide puzzle league. I've only played a few matches online, but the latency was fine. For the record, the PS3 and Vita versions are cross-play, and so are the Wii U and 3DS versions. The feature set is the same across the board, so feel free to pick the platform of your choosing.
This wouldn't be a proper Puyo Puyo game without a ridiculous story mode. Fortunately, Puyo Puyo Tetris brings the heat. The Adventure mode is a sprawling quest that tells the story of what happens when the denizens of Puyo Puyo's world meet the new characters from the Tetris side. It's cute, it's genuinely funny, and it's a great way to learn the mechanics of both games. I know that for some folks, the idea of a story mode in a puzzle game seems odd, but the cast of Puyo Puyo has always made for lots of funny moments.
Puyo Puyo Tetris continues using the art style first used Puyo Puyo Fever, which means the it's bright and resembles pop art. The UI is friendly and easy to navigate, making for a stress-less experience. I purchased the game on the Vita, and have thus far encountered no slowdown or graphical issues. I'm fairly certain the game runs at native resolution as well.
When Puyo Puyo Tetris was announced, I have to admit that I had a good laugh over the whole thing. Who in their right mind would really get that excited over a crossover between two puzzle games? The whole thing seemed ridiculous to me. I'm more than happy to admit that I put my foot in my mouth on this one, because Puyo Puyo Tetris is the most fun I've had with a falling block game in a very long time. The whole package has been refined and polished, with so many different ways to play and share your experience.
If you've ever been a fan of either of these series, I can't recommend Puyo Puyo Tetris enough. This may very well be a game of the year contender come the end of the year.
A fantastic celebration of two classic series Those of you who follow me on Twitter have probably read my tweets hyping up Sega's new crossover puzzle game, Puyo Puyo Tetris. A few folks have expressed confusion toward my excitement, going so far as to wonder if I'm...
Feb 01 //
Elliot Gay Releases for the week of January 26 - February 1:
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Full BoostBandai NamcoOnline Price: $76.99
Let me tell you two useful pieces of information. First off, Gundam Extreme Vs. Full Boost is an expensive game, whether you're importing or buying locally. Secondly, it's also one of the best multiplayer arcade games currently available.
Yeah, I just dropped truth bombs all over your faces.
Full Boost is the upgraded version of last year's Extreme Vs release, meaning it has more mobile suits, more fields, more everything. Balance has been tweaked and tier lists shuffled around, which of course means that veterans are either going to have to relearn their mobile suits, or find a brand new one. Considering how expansive the roster is at over ninety giant robots, most people won't be left wanting for new combatants. Arcade mode provides a suitable challenge, and the list of giant bosses is far improved over prior Vs titles. There's nothing like taking on the giant Shamblo from Gundam UC. Two player splitscreen is still included in the package, though now the battle field is split vertically instead of horizontally. It's an odd change, but I found it rather easy to get used to the new perspective. The arcade mode is now playable online with a friend, so if you want to take on E route with your far away pals, you totally can.
But really the core of Full Boost is its two vs two multiplayer, and it doesn't disappoint. I was only able to jump online for a few matches before I was summoned to play locally, but in the brief time I spent with the game it ran smoothly and without any hiccups. I got my ass kicked, but it didn't at all feel like it was the result of heavy lag. I've been playing hours of local MP since picking up Full Boost on Thursday, and while there are some frame rate issues, these weren't present when playing online or single player arcade modes.
The sad truth is that Full Boost will never see an English language release. The good news is that the Vs series has a strong following in NA, and you don't have to look very far for guides and videos on how to play. In fact, I recommend the Official Topic over on NeoGAF if you're thinking of jumping in. There's very little Japanese in the menus so this is a very import-friendly kind of game.
Disgaea 4 ReturnNISOnline Price: $59.99
I love SRPGs, but I have a very difficult time playing them on a large TV screen. I personally find that these sorts of experiences are best when taken in small chunks at a time, which is why portables are the perfect platform for them. I've always dug the Disgaea franchise, but every time a new entry hits stores, I end up waiting for the eventual portable release.
Case in point: Disgaea 4 Return.
If you've already played D4, you know what to expect from this rerelease. It features all the DLC from the prior version, and also includes a few brand new story campaigns. The game looks super sharp on the Vita's screen, especially compared to the blurry sprite work of Disgaea 3.
All said, Disgaea 4 Return is a great port of what looks to be a great game, so I'm looking forward to digging in more when I have some free time. I'd be willing to bet NIS is going to bring this one west, so I suggest holding out till then.
Ebikore + AmagamiKadokawa ShotenOnline Price: $48.99
I've had my eyes on Amagami for a long time.
You see, Konami's Tokimeki Memorial was my first experience with a true dating sim. I'm talking the kind of game that requires you to build stats, study hard, and plan dates so that you can woo the girl of your dreams. TokiMemo did some incredible things for its time and essentially went on to create an entire genre, one that seems to have faded away in recent years.
Amagami is something of a spiritual successor. It takes the TokiMemo formula and adds a new layer of paint to it. I don't know if mini-games have the same amazing goofiness seen in Konami's franchise, but nonetheless I respect that they went back to the genre's origins. Ebikore + Amagami is a port of the PS2 game from a few years back, but doesn't have much in the way of new goodies. Instead it sports a higher resolution so that players can better enjoy the really strong art.
I'm actually very tempted to pick this up at some point. Those who have watched me stream Tokimeki Memorial know how fun/funny these sorts of games can be. Unfortunately, the high price tag is holding me back right now.
I doubt this'll ever make its way west, so if you're up to the challenge, don't be afraid to import.
Toushin Toshi: Girls Gift RPGImageepochOnline Price: $60.99
I asked folks on Twitter, and they answered.
The next reader-voted game I'll be covering is Imageepoch's Toushin Toshi, the remake of an eroge RPG from back in the day.
You win. I hope you're all happy.
I've only played a few hours into it so I'm not exactly in a great position to speak in depth about it, but thus far Toushin Toshi seems like a totally competent RPG in many respects. The battle system, one on one first person-ish combat, is fast and to the point. The visuals are colorful and the UI is easy to navigate. The soundtrack seems to be fairly solid and the whole thing feels like a more complete game than Imageepoch has produced in years.
That being said, there's just something about it (beyond the harem antics) that's leaving me cold. I can't quite put my finger on it yet, but rest assured I'll figure it out by the time I have full coverage up on the site.
In the meantime, wait patiently as I piece together my thoughts. On the plus side, it's nowhere near the train wrecks that were Time & Eternity and Exstetra. That's gotta count for something, right?
Arabian Doubt: The Engagement on DesertQuinRoseOnline Price: $59.99
The heroine, the men, the civilians; nobody is an innocent in this sequel to one of QuinRose's most beloved titles.
Our heroine is the princess of a country of criminals, the sole daughter of the king of thieves. Having grown up around so much evil for all of her life, all she's ever wanted was to fall in love, have a normal marriage, and live a normal life. She doesn't want to be in a relationship built on evil. Her father gives her an ultimatum: raise 10,000,000 gold in 25 days and she doesn't have to marry the husband of his choosing. Through some miracle, she manages to win, and proclaims that from here on out, she'll do as she pleases.
She was supposed to have inched closer to normality...
Our heroine returns home one day only to find it empty, a single letter from her parents left behind. They've embarked on a journey, leaving the kingdom to her. Despite knowing that her country is rotten to the core, she decides to stay and lead while her folks are away. It is then that a diplomat from a neighboring country comes on official business. By some stroke of bad luck, it's her ex-boyfriend! Will our heroine ever be able to find a normal life?
This is QuinRose bringing their A-game with the sequel to one of their quirkier otome games. I just wish they'd hurry up and make the jump to Vita. Fellow otome developer Idea Factory has already started to release titles on Sony's latest handheld, so I can only hope it's just a matter of time.
If you're looking for a fun and quirky otome visual novel, QuinRose is always a safe bet. Jump on in if Japanese isn't a problem.
Shinobi KoiutsutsuIdea FactoryOnline Price: $58.99
Let's have a warm welcome for Idea Factory's first otome game release of 2014, Shinobi Koiutsutsu!
Insert applause here.
Our 16-year-old heroine lost her parents at a very young age, and subsequently was forced to raise herself. She worked and worked so that she could pay for school and rent, all the while following her dream of becoming a ninja. One fateful day, she meets the head master of the most prestigious of ninja schools, and is invited to take the special student exam. In order to achieve her dream of being a badass ninja, she accepts the invite and makes it in. On her first day however, some strange ninja technique has made all the men fall in love with her?!
Not really putting your best foot out with this one, eh Idea Factory? I like the idea of ninjas, but a school? Seriously? You couldn't just have it not take place in a high school?
QuinRose wins this week's battle.
[And that's that for this week! Expect Toushin Toshi coverage going forward as I play more of the game, and keep your eyes peeled for next week's edition of Go West! I've got a pretty good rhythm going here, so who knows, maybe this will manage to be weekly for a while! Huzzah!]
Imageepoch returns in a blaze of glory Welcome to the latest and greatest Go West!, your [why-do-I-even-try-to-be-timely] column about Japanese games, life in Japan, and Idea Factory.
Ladies and gentlemen, this week is actually a very special one. The latest...
Jan 25 //
Elliot Gay Releases for the week of January 19 - 25:
Sengoku Basara 4CapcomOnline Price: $65.99
Are you ready to put your guns on? Are you ready to party? If the answer to both of these questions is "yes," then Sengoku Basara 4 was made for you.
The latest in Capcom's fairly long running series of hack n' slash games, Sengoku Basara 4 doesn't look to try and shake up the formula too much. You still get to pick from a roster of Sengoku era generals and kill hundreds of people while trying to become the one true ruler of Japan. If you've played a Dynasty Warriors game, you probably have a fair idea of what to expect here. Where Sengoku Basara has always set itself apart is in its overall tone and aesthetic. If I were to describe it in one word, it'd have to be "whatthehellamIevernlookingat." Yes, I cheated.
Sengoku Basara 4 takes things even further into crazy town, with the addition of new grunt enemies that can work together to put you down. This doesn't sound like anything nuts until you actually see it happen in-game: enemies link up to form giant human pyramids, rolling wheels of doom, and even tornadoes. You haven't lived until you battle against human tornadoes while in a theme park with a roller coaster in the background. Yes, that's a thing that actually happens.
As per the usual, SB4 has a great OST that blends arcade-style beats to more traditional sounding Japanese tunes, making for an energizing score. Visually, Sengoku Basara 4 is definitely a bit better than its predecessor, probably due to the fact that this latest entry is PS3 exclusive rather than Wii/PS3 again. Character models look great and the whole thing runs at a fast clip. It's not an amazing looking game by any stretch of the imagination but it gets the job done with its colorful art style.
Unfortunately for folks out west, Sengoku Basara 3 sold terribly when it released over there. This doesn't come as much of a surprise, but it does make 4's chances of localization look rather dire. My fingers are crossed for you guys and gals.
Utakumi 575SegaOnline Price: $67.99
The latest rhythm game from the folks at Sega, Utakumi 575 is an original IP that uses the 5-7-5 haiku structure to construct music using the Vocaloid software. It's a very complete package with lots of tracks, costumes, locations, and a whole editing suite so that players can insert their own haikus into songs. The whole shebang runs at 60fps and native resolution, which is even a step above Sega's own Project Diva F. That being said, these are very different beasts, and just because you like Project Diva doesn't mean you'll enjoy Utakumi 575's special brand of music action. There's a bit of a barrier in place for folks who don't know Japanese, and the whole affair is a lot less flashy than Project Diva.
I'll have a full preview up next week, so be sure to check it out if you're interesting in giving Utakumi 575 a shot.
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of ZCapcomOnline Price: $62.99
The first new Dragon Ball Z in quite some time, Battle of Z tries to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack by being a team based multiplayer battle game. Players can make teams of four and fight it out with each other using any of the 70 playable characters. The story mode covers pretty much the entire Z saga, but the real focus here is definitely on the multiplayer.
I'm pretty sure that at this point you're either excited for this or don't give a crap. If you're on the rocks, check out the free demo on the NA PSN and see if it's up your alley. No reason to import this one.
-8Idea FactoryOnline Price: $56.99
From the outside, Rei Yaotome looks like your average high school girl. The sad reality is that she has the unfortunate ability to attract unfortunate men to her. The end result? She tends to get wrapped up in unfortunate incidents that have gone on to have an extremely unfortunate effect on her life.
Case and point: she ends up enrolling in Mogura Academy, also known as Z Academy. Here, unfortunate students from all around the country are gathered into one place so that they might fill in the blanks missing in their unfortunate personalities. Unfortunately for Rei, her penchant for attracting unfortunate men continues to torment her at Z Academy. The only way out? To find true love. By combining two unfortunates, perhaps the holes in their hearts can be filled up.
I typed the word "unfortunate" a grand total of nine times in the above synopsis. This might come as a surprise, but Idea Factory uses the word even more in the official Japanese version. I take off my invisible hat to them.
-8 is Idea Factory's first release of the new year, and it's quite fitting that it's an otome game for the PSP. From what little I know about it, it sounds like a quirky little romcom that might be right up some of your alleys. If you have a firm grasp on Japanese, I say give it a shot.
Happy New Year, Idea Factory.
Kiniro no Korda 3: Another Sky FEAT. JINNANKoei Tecmo GamesOnline Price: $57.99
Hey Koei Tecmo Games, I hate to break it to you, but including FEAT. JINNAN in your game's title in bold letters was kinda off-putting. But hey, I'm just some guy.
When Kanade Kohinata was but a child, she was fascinated by the violin. As the years passed and she became better and better at the instrument, she would go on to win many awards for her spectacular play. Now a second year in high school, she lacks the twinkle in her eye she used to have. At this rate, her future in the world of music will be all but gone. She decides to move away from home and attend a new school so that she might relearn music and rekindle her passion. It's at this new school, Jinnan Music Academy, that she meets increasingly talented fellow musicians. After months of practicing, she and her friends qualify for the country wide music competition. Will Kanade be able to regain her love for the violin and win first place with her friends!?
A closer look reveals that much like KT's other otome series, Kiniro includes some light RPG elements like being able to give NPCs food to gain their favor. Where things really start to get crazy are the rhythm game portions. As an ensemble, Kanade and her friends will play music at various tournaments and events. These segments play out like a traditional music game where buttons must be pressed in time with the music.
As far as I've heard, Koei Tecmo is a name you can trust when it comes to otome stuff. If you've been looking for something meaty to sink your teeth into, Kiniro might just be it.
[This week annihilated my wallet, and sadly it looks like next week is set to be even worse with Gundam Extreme Vs FULL BOOST, the horrifying return of Imageepoch, and a few other big games hitting store shelves. Wish me luck folks, and catch you all later!]
In which parties are had, and songs are sung Welcome, dear readers. Today is Saturday, January 25; a very special day by all accounts. Why is it so special you ask? The answer is as simple as understanding the universe.
Today is the 62nd edition of Go West!, your [prete...
Well that didn't take very long! After yesterday's news of four new characters, we have a leak revealing the two bonus villains that were teased via silhouettes. Of course, like many people figured, it's Toguro from Yu Yu Hak...
The roster for J-Stars Victory Vs. just can't stop growing, with the next issue of Weekly Shueisha Jump revealing that another four villains will be joining the fight. We have Madara Uchiha from Naruto, Akainu from One Piece,...
As revealed by this week's Famitsu and confirmed by Namco-Bandai, the next major installment of The [email protected], One For All, will be out in Japan on May 15. This release will be both digital and physical, and as usual there w...
It's surprising no one that there will be yet another Project DIVA game heading to home consoles, and it might just be the last release before we see it head to next gen consoles. But why waste a perfectly good dancing engine...
Nov 24 //
Elliot Gay Releases for the week of November 17 - 23:
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIIISquare EnixOnline Price: $75.99
Fun fact! I quite liked the original Final Fantasy XIII.
My first experience with the game was a 70 hour playthrough in Japanese back when it first came out, and despite its linearity, I really dug the battle system, music, and general world. I get why there are people who weren't fond of it, but I enjoyed my time with the game. Sadly, XIII-2 did nothing for me. It didn't help that SE decided to shift the focus to Serah, the one character I didn't give a crap about.
Enter Lightning Returns.
I played a little bit of LR back at TGS and came away surprised by how much fun it was. The one character battle system appeared (again, short demo) to have some cool depth, the areas were massive, and the music seemed strong. I have yet to pick up the final game, but I've been hearing mixed things all around. Some folks seem to be digging it a lot, and I know others who have already sold the game back. I do intend to play through LR before its western release, so look forward to impressions whenever that happens.
In the meantime, don't import. If you're a fan of the Japanese voice actors, you're better off waiting. Square Enix has announced that the JP audio will be a free piece of DLC following the release of the NA version.
Shin Atelier Rorona: Hajimari no Monogatari ~ The Alchemist of Arland ~GustOnline Price: $58.99
Every time an Atelier game is released in Japan, I tell myself I'm going to finally give this beloved franchise a fair shot. Time passes, and of course that never actually happens.
I am a man of false promises.
Shin Atelier Rorona might finally be the game to bring me into the fandom though. The reason is simple: it's a remake of the first PS3 Atelier game, one which many folks have said was the roughest of the bunch. If I can start in chronological order, I feel like there's a better chance of falling in love with the franchise.
So what exactly is new in Shin Atelier Rorona? Quite a bit actually. As is always the case with these kinds of releases, Shin has a load of new costumes not just for Rorona herself, but all your party members as well. There are a few new dungeons, additional party members, and brand new events to experience. Combat has also been revised and designed using the Meruru + battle system as a base. Perhaps the biggest change however, is the inclusion of brand new character models. The original Rorona used a chibi art style that didn't represent the original character designs very well at all. Gust has gone back and created new models that are much more accurate to the original art.
If you're concerned that Shin Atelier Rorona won't make it out west, don't be. Koei Tecmo has done a decent job of getting these games into English, even if they barely advertise them. My advice is to hold off for now.
One Piece: Unlimited World RedBandai Namco GamesOnline Price: $58.99
It feels like Ganbarion has been developing One Piece games for over a decade now. Of course a peek at their gameography reveals that their first game as a studio, One Piece: Grand Battle!, was released back in 2001.
Well then, I guess they reallly have been making One Piece games for over a decade. Whoops!
Unlimited World Red is their latest game, and it's quite the looker. When you've been dealing with the OP franchise for so long, I imagine you begin to really understand the characters on a fundamental level. Character animations are looking great, and the pseudo cel-shaded look gives the game a very clean style on the 3DS. Unlimited World Red is the first Unlimited game to feature four player coop action against bosses, taking a page out of the hunting genre handbook. Sadly, the multiplayer is local only.
I'd say there's a pretty good chance of Unlimited World Red hitting EU, but NA always seems to get that shaft when it comes to these games.
Snow Bound LandIdea FactoryOnline Price: $57.99
Geruda has lived a happy, peaceful life with her childhood friend Kai. One day, Kai finds a wish-granting mirror and decides to bring it home. Kai, Geruda, and the rest of the folks present look deep into the mirror when suddenly a blinding light explodes out of it. They lose consciousness and are enveloped in the mysterious light. When they wake up, the mirror has disappeared, and they find that a strange power has awoken within them...
Good ole' Idea Factory here to save the day with another romantic adventure featuring super powered characters. Huzzah! The art style is pretty bland here compared to IF's normal output, but it's still a lot better than most of their competitors.
I have no witty retort to offer here, so if you're interested in otome games, I say go for it.
Hanasaku Manimani5pbOnline Price: $58.99
Nanao was just an ordinary Japanese high school student. One day, she heads out to participate in a local summer festival, and ends up getting caught in a time warp that sends her far into the past. She wakes up in the turbulent Edo period, surrounded by unfamiliar sights and people. Struggling to figure out how to get back to her time, she's saved by a mysterious young man. The wheel of fate begins to turn...
I wish you could hear me actively groan as I wrote up the above synopsis. I can't begin to stress how tired I am of these time travel stories where Mary Sue characters get sent back to the past. If you're going to do a 'lost in time' style narrative, I'd like to see these publishers try their hands at sending folks into the future. That could have some interesting results, but oh well.
[And that's all for the 60th edition of Go West! GW! is now an old man and/or woman, so congratulations to us? Next week is looking like an odd one, so prepare for more snark and sass. In the meantime, thanks for reading and catch you all next time!]
Lightning strikes thrice Greetings ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the 60th edition of Go West!, your [inconsistently] weekly column about Japanese video games, a foreign guy in Japan, and Idea Factory.
When I first started Go West! nearly...
Nov 16 //
Elliot Gay Releases for the week of November 10 - 16:
God Eater 2Bandai Namco GamesOnline Price: $57.99
Folks out west might not realize it, but God Eater is kinda of a big franchise for Bandai Namco.
The original was one of the first games in a post-Monster Hunter world to put its own spin on the then-new genre. Rather than copy the slower and more deliberate gameplay of MH, God Eater went in the opposite direction by favoring fast ground and aerial combat. There was also a stronger focus on telling a story, and it certainly helped that legendary composer Go Shiina handled the score. The end result was a brand-new IP that sold hundreds of thousands of copies on the PSP, and still stands as the most successful non-MH hunting game to date.
Three years later, and God Eater 2 has finally hit store shelves. It's been a long and winding road up until now; the original reveal trailer from 2011 was met with a fairly negative response due to the shift in art design. Project G.E. then went quiet for an entire year. The week of Tokyo Game Show 2012, God Eater 2 resurfaced with a sharp but familiar art style, and the announcement that it was in development for both the PSP and the Vita.
Since then, Project G.E. has made great strides in terms of reaching out to the community and working with them to make changes to God Eater 2. The large demo launched over the summer served as a way of getting feedback from fans, and it seems to me like it was an effective strategy.
Long story short, God Eater 2 is an immensely fun game. It doesn't appear to be nearly as complicated or as huge a time sink as Monster Hunter 4 is, but I think it does an incredibly respectable job of presenting hunting fans an alternative to Capcom's series. The combat is fast and responsive, Go Shiina's soundtrack is as beautiful as always, and visually the game looks great on the Vita. The story that God Eater 2 has to tell isn't particularly new or groundbreaking, but it's a fun romp with a huge cast of characters.
If I had one large complaint, it'd be the lack of online multiplayer. I get that that isn't particularly a huge deal for many Japanese gamers; local MP is king here. That doesn't make it any easier to accept for someone like me who wants to play with friends far away. Adhoc Party is still way too much of a pain in the ass to use on a regular basis.
That being said, the developers have stated in interviews that they plan on updating God Eater 2 once a month with new free DLC and changes to the system underneath the hood. Hopefully if things pan out, they'll end up patching online into the game. It certainly wouldn't be the first time something like that happened.
As for the chances of God Eater 2 going west are concerned? I have absolutely no clue. At best, I think there's a chance of it hitting English language territories as a digital-only game.
Seisou no AmazonesArc System WorksOnline Price: $58.99
Quietly announced, and perhaps even more quietly released, Seisou no Amazones is undoubtedly a game of some kind.
I'm 60% sure of this.
It's a shame that every article I've read about Amazones in Japanese magazines has done a terrible job of explaining what sort of RPG it is. One thing I do know is that it features a cast of female characters, many of them dressed like something out of a bondage magazine. A quick glance at the Official Website reveals that it's a first person dungeon crawl in which special attacks are discharged by rubbing the touchscreen (their bodies).
Yeah, I don't know either.
I highly doubt we'll ever see Seisou no Amazones go west, so if you're looking to potentially blow sixty dollars, be my guest.
Medarot Dual Kabuto/KuwagataRocket CompanyOnline Price: $57.99
You might not necessarily recognize the name, but I can guarantee you're probably a little bit familiar with the franchise.
There was a time when Medarot existed in English speaking territories as Medabots. Yeah, I see you in the corner nodding your head. Don't try to hide it.
At one time a JRPG series for kids, Medarot makes the jump into action RPG territory, not unlike Level 5's Little Battlers eXperience games. The core of it is still intact though; you mix and match from a huge number of different parts to create your ideal super fighting robot. The campaign looks to be quite lengthy, featuring a number of cameos from previous titles. Like all multiplayer action games over here, Medarot of course features 4-player local and online play for story missions, and a host of co-op quests as well. Huzzah!
This new Medarot release has two separate versions, each with their own exclusive bots. This isn't very likely to head west, so if you're looking for some nostalgic action, this might be a good grab.
Model * Oshare Audition Dream GirlAlchemistOnline Price: $56.99
I know there are probably folks out there looking at the inclusion of Model * Oshare Audition Dream Girl and wondering if I've lost my sanity.
No worries, I lost that thing a long time ago.
That being said, the reason I included this game is because it genuinely looks fantastic. It's a model simulation title in which you're able to create a super-customized avatar and take her through the world of Japanese talent. You take jobs at TV stations and events, write articles, bond with your co-workers, and find true love. Of course the big draw is the intense customization options for creating new outfits. There are over 5,000 different items you can use to pretty up your model avatar, and over 50 endings available in the game. That's kind of nuts.
Model * Oshare Audition Dream Girl is the sort of game that sneaks under most folks' radars, which is a total shame. If you're into fashion and simulations, I say give this one a shot. You might be surprised.
Arcana Famiglia 2ComfortOnline Price: $58.99
Being a sequel to a fairly popular otome game with an equally popular anime adaptation, Arcana Famiglia 2 is the kind of release that I really don't have much to say about.
According to the synopsis, Famiglia 2 takes place a few months after the end of the first game. Life returns to normal for the family, and signs of a peaceful winter begin to pop up here and there. A mysterious group of traveling merchants appears at the mansion, and Mondo starts to act strange. Thus begins the tarot cards' tale of the 'lovers.'
Yeah, I don't know what any of that means. I'm just going to assume that series fans can decipher some meaning out of the above.
If you're a fan of the franchise and have no problems smashing through Japanese walls, import away!
[And that's all for this week folks. God Eater 2 is undoubtedly the highest profile game to see a release on the Vita in Japan, so it'll be interesting to see what sort of effect it has on hardware sales over the next week. November 21 is looking positively stacked, so prepare for a big Go West! Catch you all later!]
God eating like it's 1995 Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to yet another edition of Go West!, your [running out of ways to imply not-weekly] column about Japanese video games, a man who has forgotten how to love, and Idea Factory.
This week we feast on gods.
Make of that what you will.
In the meantime, the rest of us will be talking about video games or something.
What do Puzzle & Dragons, The [email protected] and Tekken have in common? If you knew that they are all contributing songs to the new Taiko no Tatsujin game for Wii U, then you've looked at the header of this article and I...
Hot off the heals of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1's Japanese release a few weeks back, Compile Heart has revealed (via a Famitsu leak) that the Vita remake of the second game, Re;Birth2, will be hitting Japanese sto...
As far as first attempts at hunting action go, Namco Bandai's PSP game God Eater did a bang up job. Rather than outright copy Capcom's success with Monster Hunter, they went in a different direction by amping up the speed of...
Nov 10 //
Elliot Gay Releases for the week of November 3 - 9:
Akiba's Trip 2AcquireOnline 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.
ExstetraFuRyuOnline 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 DivaKadokawa ShotenOnline 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: PlatinumIdea FactoryOnline 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!]
In which everyone has sweet chocolate kisses 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 opene...
Rin Haruka Oh my gosh i just finished clannad after story for the second time and i need at least 5 more tissue boxes sniff sniff Hiroko Yamamura hikevinperdue Yeah! I ordered three things all at different times and they all came in at the same time. Thanks name withheld ordering company!Salvador GRodiles Since my condition hasn't improved that much from yesterday, my Jtor Live segment won't be happening tonight. If anything, it should be back this Saturday.Salvador GRodiles Since I'm feeling under the weather right now (curse you, spring season), this week's Jtor Live shall be pushed to Sunday.Anthony Redgrave Hearts over Hanekawa! <3Salvador GRodiles As a heads-up, this week's Jtor Live is being pushed back to Sunday. Anthony Redgrave Someone's got a new desktop background :DAnthony Redgrave I don't know what this is, but it's tres Adorbs!OverlordZetta I am choosing to believe Umaru randomly decided to make this reference and no one can stop me.Anthony Redgrave Just going to leave this hereAnthony Redgrave "In the name of the moon I will punish you!" with a posed lookAnthony Redgrave Double the Onodera. Double the festive fun!OverlordZetta I swear it looks like the Red one just wants to jump out and kill whoever is looking at the picture.Anthony Redgrave WoahOverlordZetta Hi everybody! I posted a blog about Symphogear today, but for some reason it decided to go up on the day I started it, rather than today. URL is here: http://www.japanator.com/blogs/OverlordZetta/symphogear-we-need-to-talk-34502.phtmlSalvador GRodiles As a heads-up, this week's Jtor Live will go live on Sunday.OverlordZetta Next year's Super Sentai robot has been leaked! And it... is a Minecraft robot: [img]http://i.imgur.com/2awbJSM.jpg[/img]OverlordZetta Why is Tsuburaya so much cooler than Toei? Coming soon to Crunchyroll, now (ep1 only) on YouTube: Ultraman Nexus! [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEwPG4yEiS4[/youtube]OverlordZetta I think some of you will be able to really appreciate this one. [img]https://i.imgur.com/jRneXHn.png[/img]