Following The General Purpose Japanese Games Thread!

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  • Ror 16 Jan 2020 17:26:10 20,224 posts
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    This thread is to discuss those Japanese games that fly under the radar, and don't tend to get their own threads (so not necessarily your Final Fantasies, Monster Hunters or Yakuzas), and sprung out of an idea of turning the Steins;Gate thread into a general purpose Visual Novel thread. It was suggested that a broader approach would be more useful, so here we are.

    Use this thread to talk about and bring attention to anything from indie level stuff up to the latest Shin Megami Tensei, Tales of, SciAdv, or whatever else you think fits the bill.

    I'll get us started with a couple of upcoming releases.

    Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore

    Out tomorrow on Switch, a port of the 2015/16 Wii U Shin Megami Tensei/Fire Emblem crossover. Think of it as something of a Persona-lite with FE characters filling the place of your Personas, set around the Tokyo Idol industry.



    Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen

    I'd like to bring a bit of light to this one, as I just recently watched the 2006 anime based on the original game from 2002. Prelude to the Fallen is a remake, out next month for PS4 and Vita (digital only on the handheld). It's a mix of visual novel and tactical RPG, in which you play an amnesiac man (no, wait, come back) who awakens in a fantasy land, and centres on the conflict that comes to engulf the land, and how the protagonist's past is interwoven into it.

    You may have seen, or even played, the PS4 titles, Mask of Deception and Mask of Truth, which are sequels to this game - the original having never released in the west. I really enjoyed the story and cast, so I'll be grabbing this one. All three are also coming to Steam at some point (I think next month for the sequels, currently no ETA on Prelude to the Fallen).



    Please add your own suggestions and get the discussions started below.
  • Rogueywon Most Generous Forumite, 2016 16 Jan 2020 17:31:59 9,005 posts
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    Yeah, this feels like a thread that was needed. EG's coverage of Japanese gaming that isn't Square or Nintendo is generally thin and threads struggle for momentum on the forums.

    I'm into the second half now (I think) of Atelier Ryza. Fairly impressed by this so far. Hadn't played an Atelier game since Rorona, back in the early days of the PS3 and the series seems to have improved a lot since then. The removal of the diary-management/time-pressure aspects generally helps with what's obviously supposed to be a laid-back game. The crafting is decently deep, which is generally the main draw of the Atelier games.

    Also considering a plunge into the Trails of Cold Steel series, but want to see whether the third installment gets a confirmed PC release.

    Then, of course, March brings us Persona 5: The Royal. There goes my summer.
  • uiruki 16 Jan 2020 17:38:01 5,249 posts
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    Iíll probably treat this as a kind of New Vita Thread.

    Iím currently playing Ryu ga Gotoku 7 (unlocked last night!) - 5 hours in and itís been pretty much linear but some great cutscenes and I really like Ichiban. Some good references to the new battle system too.

    I also picked up Alliance Alive HD on Switch and thatís really good too. Great soundtrack, fun (if not quite as highly tuned) Saga style combat and some great character writing so far.

    Iíll be picking up 13 Sentinels when I get back to Japan next month as well after being blown away by the demo following a slow start; Iím no visual novel person but thereís a lot of interaction and choice, top class visuals and voices, a fun battle system and a tremendous soundtrack. Itís like having a new Dodonpachi soundtrack with just the battle music!

    Edit: I also see that Ryza is ďcheaperĒ on steam for the next day or two so Iíll probably pick it up. I was a little disappointed by Lulua but Iíll give it a chance. Nearly got the Dusk collection on Switch when it came out on Boxing Day (Escha and Logy is one of my favourite games ever) but couldnít quite justify it.

    Edited by uiruki at 17:42:32 16-01-2020
  • Rogueywon Most Generous Forumite, 2016 16 Jan 2020 17:44:01 9,005 posts
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    Oh, also waiting to see if there's going to be a new Super Robot Wars game for 2020. These typically release around March (we've had three years of an annual cycle), so I'd have expected it to have been announced in December, but no joy so far.

    2017's SRWV was pretty impressive. Brought the old multi-franchise cross-over series onto modern hardware and, basing itself on the Yamato 2199 story as its touchstone, was a decent space-opera.

    2018's SRWX took a lighter tone but was also decent, improving the mission design in particular. Unfortunately 2019's SRWT was a big step back and largely best forgotten.

    If you've not played the main-series Super Robot Wars games previously, that may be because licensing reasons makes them basically unreleasable in the west. But the non-Japanese Asian releases are both region-free and English-translated and V and X are worth checking out.

    Unfortunately, they also put out a mobile gatcha-game last year which seems to be doing quite well. Wouldn't be surprised if they were focussed on that now instead of a new proper installment.
  • Malek86 16 Jan 2020 17:47:02 10,162 posts
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    I'm getting through my third Knights in the Nightmare playthrough. It's a travesty that nobody picked it up for a European release, but I know that the DS market at the time was too focused on casual gaming. Had to import it from the USA. Still, totally worth it.

    I wonder if Sting will go back to making games eventually. I'm pretty sure right now it's just a small staff dedicated to keeping up their mobile RPG and occasionally porting old stuff to Android.

    Edited by Malek86 at 17:48:44 16-01-2020
  • uiruki 16 Jan 2020 17:47:58 5,249 posts
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    SRW is one of those games where I donít think I have enough previous knowledge to be able to enjoy it. If I didnít have FGO and the test then I would probably have a look at the phone game; FGO has done a good job of getting me into the Fate series.

    Edit: shame that Sting arenít doing their own thing in terms of those weird game designs anymore. I did enjoy their Dungeon Travellers dungeon crawlers but they definitely werenít suitable for outdoors play in spite of the name!

    Edited by uiruki at 17:51:00 16-01-2020
  • Rogueywon Most Generous Forumite, 2016 16 Jan 2020 17:53:47 9,005 posts
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    SRW generally requires wide rather than deep previous knowledge. Each of the games is a self-contained story, but they draw on the plots, characters and mecha of a bunch of anime franchises. Some of those are old stalwarts that make pretty much every installment (Gundam Zeta, Mazinger Z), but they also rotate in some really old/obscure shows (Daitarn 3, Wataru the Hero, Mightgaine) and newer shows/movies from the last couple of years (Buddy Complex, Cross Ange, Expelled from Paradise etc).
  • uiruki 16 Jan 2020 17:56:38 5,249 posts
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    Thatís the problem! For all that I am fluent in the language and everything, I donít actually know much in terms of classic (or modern, really) anime aside from common knowledge. Luckily 13 Sentinels seems to have a lot of non-anime references, like the Stuart Gordon classic Robot Jox. He directed Reanimator!
  • rice_sandwich 16 Jan 2020 18:47:46 6,453 posts
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    Anyone played Clannad? As a niche game it's rather pricey (£40) but I guess it's typical of the genre price wise. I only see myself ever playing VNs on the Switch - or maybe on the surface go - and wonder if it's worth taking a look at? Back in the day I was a big fan of choose your own adventure books and VNs seem like a modern equivalent.
  • Rogueywon Most Generous Forumite, 2016 16 Jan 2020 19:02:43 9,005 posts
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    @rice_sandwich Yeah, I've played Clannad. It's old, but it's generally regarded as one of the "classics" of the genre.

    Be warned that it's very old-school. Lots of branching paths, different endings and a need to see various combinations of endings to unlock others (and, indeed, the whole second half of the game). The story starts out as one of the usual highschool comedy/romance things, but does eventually go some darker places. Generally considered a bit schmaltzy by modern standards (and very much following the same template as other Key titles like Kanon and Air). Might be worth a try, though, depending on your tolerance for anime romance hijinks.

    Had an excellent anime adaptation by KyoAni back in the '00s.
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 16 Jan 2020 19:08:55 3,957 posts
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    Re. Super Robot Wars games, I watch very little anime and the only big mech series I ever watched was Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans which I gather is quite different from a lot of the series but I was really enjoying SRW V (still need to finish it though) including its story despite that. I bought X for Vita and the Gundam G Generation (2 cartridges for a game was intriguing, even though I know others have that too) Skipped T so far but may get it at some point but quite pricy and missed it cheap on PS4. Not bothered with the new G Generation game (which oddly is available officially on Steam in the West).

    The first Utawarerumono is pretty good too. If you liked the sequels you should like the prequel, I played the hacked with voices and fan translated PC version a few years ago (before playing the sequels).

    Dungeon Travelers is One of the games on my backlog. I have been tempted by the sequel 2-2 on Vita in Japanese too (I think DT1 may be available too).

    I am currently going through the Trails series but only up to chapter 4 of SC so still got 3rd, the Crossbell games and the 3 current Cold Steel games to play.

    @rice_sandwich - not played Clannad but if you want a game with lots of choices you should try 428 Shibuya Scramble if you have a PS4 or PC. It was my game of the year in 2018 and is a really good VN.

    Edit - also wanted to mention that I enjoyed the Wii U Tokyo Mirage Sessions and it is a fun SMT lite (thematically) with a good battle system. The EG review was awful though and I got mega begged for either posting how had the review was in focus and facts or because I didn't then automatically cry about the censorship (I thought it made one chapter thematically odd and the costume censorship was oddly uneven but it didn't detract from the game at all in my opinion).

    On another note of 'forgotten gems' I enjoyed Death Mark (which got a little attention land Spirit Hunter Ng (which was completely ignored by most of the media). Fun little horror asventure/VN games with a dungeon crawling aesthetic (no fights except puzzle based bosses that fit the story). Both available physically on PS4 and Switch with DM also having a Vita physical (and NG got a digital release on Vita too).

    Also Zanki Zero was one of my favourite games of last year too, a bright colourful post apocalyptic survival dungeon crawler with VN elements by some of the Danganronpa team. Available on PC and PS4. The censorship was cried about again and it again really didn't negatively affect the game at all for me (and I would generally say I prefer uncensored media). ZZ was my highest played PS4 game according to State of Play 2019 too.

    Edited by One_Vurfed_Gwrx at 19:18:48 16-01-2020
  • Rogueywon Most Generous Forumite, 2016 16 Jan 2020 19:14:31 9,005 posts
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    @One_Vurfed_Gwrx G Generation is just Gundam, isn't it? Licensing for that is much easier - Gundam's been widely available in the West for yonks and Sunrise keep the rights simple to make it easier to distribute worldwide.

    SRW's licensing problems come from the huge mess of different series it pulls together. Getting all of the copyright holders on board for a Western release is a nightmare, particularly as for many shows the music rights are held separately from the show itself.

    Plus some of the older (pre-PS4) SRW games contained Macross shows. Macross has probably the most complicated licensing history of all time and even within Japan, the status of some of the rights is unclear.

    Edited by Rogueywon at 19:15:03 16-01-2020
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 16 Jan 2020 20:05:06 3,957 posts
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    I meant surprised as they hadn't attempted porting the easier title (Genesis), I was aware theicensing was much easier but we usually only get he action Gundam games here.

    Another lesser known title this year I have my eye on is Langrisser 1&2 remake. The Japanese demo seemed a fun Fire Emblem-a-like so it is on my radar too (Switch and PS4)
  • uiruki 16 Jan 2020 20:25:26 5,249 posts
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    It seemed fine when I played it, just not really in the market for that kind of tactics game. Kind of feel for Ryo Nagi on that one - he does a bunch of new illustrations for it, then the publisher is all ďWe have DLC for the original artist too!!! Buy now!!!Ē
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 16 Jan 2020 22:06:25 3,957 posts
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    I think the western version is supposed to contain both graphics options. It caught my eye as it seemed a bit more classic Fire Emblem than the newer ones with all the extra fluff you have to go through just to get to the games. Have to keep an eye out for reviews closer to release though. Not familiar with Ryo Nagi though...
  • Rogueywon Most Generous Forumite, 2016 16 Jan 2020 22:35:24 9,005 posts
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    Looks like the NIS America sale on Steam this weekend. Any recommendations?
  • Ror 16 Jan 2020 22:48:41 20,224 posts
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    Ooh, thanks for the heads-up.
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 17 Jan 2020 00:04:44 3,957 posts
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    Rogueywon wrote:
    Looks like the NIS America sale on Steam this weekend. Any recommendations?
    Have you played The Silver Case games? I enjoyed those. The Yomawari games too, although they're a bit older (and I played on Vita).
  • Rogueywon Most Generous Forumite, 2016 17 Jan 2020 00:05:20 9,005 posts
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    I've got the first Yomawari. Played an hour or so then got distracted. May go back to it.
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 17 Jan 2020 08:44:38 3,957 posts
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    I suppose I should throw in the physical Asian release of Romancing Saga 3 for Switch in here too as it is a low tier Squenix game. I have Preordered it and it is due at the end of the month. Hoping the recently released and pretty well received Scarlet Graces gets a physical somewhere (and RS2 if 3 does well enough)
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 17 Jan 2020 08:51:51 3,957 posts
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    Rogueywon wrote:
    I've got the first Yomawari. Played an hour or so then got distracted. May go back to it.
    Looking at the actual NISA sale there is Killer 7 if you missed it first time around, Ys VIII (same again and be wary of port quality as not sure if it got fixed) and a couple of Experience Inc dungeon crawlers if those are of any interest to you of which Stranger in Sword City is the most modern (and apparently most challenging). Coven and the Labyrinth of Refrain is supposed to be good too and seemed decent from the demo. Sword City lacks fan service, not sure how bad Coven is but I haven't heard of it being particularly bad.
  • rice_sandwich 17 Jan 2020 09:01:11 6,453 posts
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    I started playing (reading) Raging Loop on the Switch last night. Positive first impressions although the main character appears to be a bit of a dick.
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 17 Jan 2020 10:15:50 3,957 posts
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    rice_sandwich wrote:
    I started playing (reading) Raging Loop on the Switch last night. Positive first impressions although the main character appears to be a bit of a dick.
    I have this ordered and it should be on the way as I heard it is supposed to be good, despite the uninspiring art. Playing through AI: Somnium Files first though...
  • Technoishmatt 17 Jan 2020 14:40:00 4,279 posts
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    Is this where I sign up for virtual dates with scantily clad Japanese school girls?
  • Rogueywon Most Generous Forumite, 2016 17 Jan 2020 15:46:59 9,005 posts
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    @Technoishmatt I think that's the Cyberpunk thread.
  • Ror 17 Jan 2020 15:50:28 20,224 posts
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    Matt, you want Kanojo VR.
  • Singularity 17 Jan 2020 16:11:06 3,250 posts
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    Well, TIL that Super Robot Wars games have nothing to do with scrap metal and Craig Charles.
  • Rogueywon Most Generous Forumite, 2016 17 Jan 2020 16:13:35 9,005 posts
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    @Singularity Craig Charles is best known for his role in Red Dwarf, a sitcom set in space. The Super Robot Wars games feature missions set in space.

    There you go.
  • uiruki 17 Jan 2020 16:22:37 5,249 posts
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    You want Robo Pit or Armored Core if you want to build robots for wars. Robo Pit if the robot bit is more important and Armored Core if itís the wars you are after.
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