Go West! Week Twenty-Five: Trails of Persona


Welcome ladies and gentlemen to another action packed week of cynical Japanese game commentary via your friendly neighborhood Go West!. 

This week is a big one folks. Two fan favorites hit shelves on Thursday and are both guaranteed to sell gangbusters. Oh and there was also some game about plumbers or something but I'm not going to be talking about that since nobody cares.


Anyhow, follow me after the break as I reach out and follow the trail all the way to the truth.

Releases for the week of July 22-28:

Playstation 3:

Persona 4: Arena
Publisher: Atlus
Online Price: 6,630 Yen ($84.90)

Region locking controversy be damned, Persona 4: Arena is a fantastic game and one of the most enjoyable fighters I've played in years. The game is jam packed with content that's guaranteed to make Persona 3/4 fans smile and giggle with glee. Take for instance something as small as the UI design. The menus are super stylish and do a great job of invoking nostalgia of the previous two numbered titles. The main menu shuffles between different character sprites chilling out in Inaba, and if the Persona 3 cast is onscreen, the game automatically plays music from P3. It's a small detail that adds a lot to the whole experience.

I've talked to great lengths about the quality of the fighting engine here, so I'm just going to hop over that. The story mode is a real crowd pleaser that I recommend only to folks who have beaten Persona 4. The game also has quite a few Persona 3 spoilers as well, so consider yourselves warned. Other content includes a rather robust and difficult challenge mode, a solid training mode and an introduction that teaches game basics to new players. I purchased the PS3 version of the game and after playing some thirty matches online, I can safely say that the game runs smooth as butter here in Japan. Whether that's the case in western territories is still up in the air.

As far as fighting games go, you'd be hard pressed to find a new release as feature rich as Persona 4: Arena is. The fighting is complex and strategic but has a lower barrier of entry for players who just want to have a good time. Are you a big fan of Persona 3 and 4 but aren't so hot at fighting games? You can buy P4:A for the story mode alone and still get a good bang for your buck.

Import only if you have a console that matches the region you're purchasing from.

The Super Dimension Fortress Macross Hybrid Pack
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Online Price: 6,630 Yen ($84.90)

Another Go West!, another Bandai Namco hybrid pack. This time around Macross is up to the plate, packing the feature film Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? with a brand new game. Much like the previous Macross Frontier hybrid releases, I wouldn't expect too much from the game considering how short the other two were. It's more of a bonus you get for purchasing the movie on BD.

Big Macross fans probably won't have any problem dropping down the cash for just the movie alone, but I can't recommend this to anybody who is looking to make the purchase specifically for the game. It's more than likely not worth it.

For everybody else? Import away!

Playstation Portable:

Nayuta no Kiseki
Publisher: Falcom
Online Price: 5,700 Yen ($72.90)

Approximately one year after Ao no Kiseki's release comes the sixth entry in the popular Falcom RPG series. Part of the same series that Trails in the Sky started, Nayuta no Kiseki takes place in a completely new world with an entirely new cast of characters. Furthermore, the game is an action RPG not entirely unlike the Ys franchise that Falcom is famous for. The president of Falcom has said in multiple interviews that he wanted Nayuta to be a sort of entry game; gamers who were always curious about the Kiseki series but were intimidated by the length can jump right in. No prior knowledge of the franchise is necessary to enjoy the game.

At the same time however, Nayuta no Kiseki is undeniably a Kiseki game in many not so clear ways; the way NPC dialogue changes after every minor event or just the writing in general. The game is also quite the looker, quite possibly being Falcom's best looking game to date. The art design on display here is fabulous. As per the usual, the music never fails and the level design is quite cool and unique. The one issue I've been having with Nayuta no Kiseki is that I find bosses to be far easier than they should be. Granted, I'm playing on the normal difficulty to it's entirely possible that Hard mode could give me what I'm looking for.

If it wasn't for the fact that this is on the PSP, I'd say that the chances of Nayuta no Kiseki coming overseas were extremely high. As it stands though, I can only hope that XSEED or another smaller publishers snatches this game up. Unlike the Trails in the Sky trilogy or even Zero and Ao no KisekiNayuta doesn't come with any franchise baggage. 

If you have solid Japanese skills, I highly recommend this one. For realziez. 

Super Danganronpa 2
Publisher: Spike Chunsoft 
Online Price: 5,850 Yen ($74.90)

The original Super Danganronpa was one of the most surprising games I played last year. A strange cross between a murder mystery novel and an Ace Attorney game, Danganronpa saw you talking to characters, investigating creepy locations in a strange school and engaging in weird kanji battles. It was certainly a one of a kind experience... at least until Super Danganronpa 2 released this past Thursday. 

Danganronpa 2 picks up with a completely different cast of strange and interesting teenagers locked in a battle to kill one another if they want to escape with their lives. I've been actively avoiding even the most basic of spoilers about this one because murder mysteries are more fun when you have no info about them before going in. I'm planning on keeping it that way.

This is a definite import for folks who have great Japanese and want to try something new and cool. For everybody else, sorry. I highly doubt we'll ever see this franchise in English.

Shirokuma Bell Stars: Happy Holidays!
Publisher: Boost On
Online Price: 5,700 Yen ($72.90)

I took one look at the synopsis for this one and was so blown away by its inherent brilliance that I'm not even sure if I'm qualified to bring it to you all. 

On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus soars through the sky on his super special awesome sled, pulled by his reindeer partners. One night, the boy met Santa and together they flew across the starry night, delivering gifts left and right. 

Days and months pass by, and the boy is now a reindeer working for Santa. He's paired with a new Santa named Nanami and finds himself in all sorts of wacky predicaments. Sex may or may not ensue. 

Ok, that last part was me, but seriously. What. The. Hell.

Import this because you're a bad person. I don't even care what you do anymore!

Saihate no Ima Portable
Publisher: Cyber Front
Online Price: 5,700 Yen ($72.90)

Shinobu is a boy with telepathic abilities. 

Since he was a child, he's only ever really opened up to six close friends who he's always kept by his side. People hurt one another, but through this pain we realize that we are alive. It was through being together that Shinobu and his friends were able to move forward. They thought it would be this way forever. 

They were wrong.

Or something to that effect. It certainly sounds melodramatic, if that's the kind of tale you're looking for. Import only if you fancy yourself a skilled Japanese reader.

L.G.S ~Shinsetsu Houshinengi
Publisher: Idea Factory
Online Price:   5,700 Yen ($72.90)

Another week, another Idea Factory visual novel with plenty of pretty men who may or may not shed lots of blood. Unlike the previous Samurai tales, L.G.S looks to be full of strange magic and weird beings from alternate worlds. 

As this point, you sort of know what you're getting into with this kind of otome-ge. If you're into Idea Factory's particular brand of drama and violence, I say go for it.

Grimm The Bounty Hunter
Publisher: QuinRose
Online Price: 5,810 Yen ($74.40)

Oh QuinRose, you never fail to amuse with your absolutely crazy premises. Grimm The Bounty Hunter is fortunately no different.

In a world where law and law enforcement has failed, criminals are hunted down for bounties. Enter Grimm, an organization that gathers bounty hunters together and handles all the complicated stuff. Our main character possesses strangely super human strength and has just made her debut as a bounty hunter. Her goal? Become a hunter for the infamous Grimm organization.

Now exactly the kind of synopsis you'd expect to read for a game like this, but there you have it! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least curious.

Recommended for those of you who are tired of the "same old same old" otome-ge stuff.

Dunamis 15
Publisher: 5pb
Online Price: 5,560 Yen ($72.40)

This is an interesting one I've kept my eyes on for some time. Published by 5pb but not apart of the science adventure series, Dunamis 15 is about a group of clones who are stuck at a fake school used to imprison and experiment on clones. Things go wrong and the clones find themselves in a struggle to make it out of the prison alive, or die trying.

I don't know much about this one, but I'm willing to give any of 5pb's output the benefit of the doubt. If any of you beautiful folks have played this one before, make sure to comment below!

[And that's that peeps! Thanks for reading another cynical week of Go West! and I hope you enjoyed my pure rage and joy. As a question for this week, I'm wondering how many of you wonderful people have retro game collections. Living in Japan makes it very easy to accidentally start collecting, so I'd love to see pics or just hear about your game stashes! Don't forget to check out the Red Sun Gamer Podcast as well. See you all next week!]

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Elliot Gay
Elliot GayContributor   gamer profile

Elliot is an associate editor for Japanator and can be found contributing to Destructoid on occasion. He lives in Japan and can be found on Twitter @RyougaSaotome. more + disclosures


Filed under... #Go West! #Japanator Original #Nintendo 3DS #PS3 #PSP #top stories #Video games



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