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Hello Kitty, Goodbye World – PlayStation JapanStyle December 2012

December 10, 2012 Written by Heath Hindman

I think I’m going to tell people I’m writing a novel. I’m not, but I want to tell people that I am. So when they ask “Why is your JapanStyle thing usually posted near the middle of the month instead of on the first?” I can be like “Well I’m just so caught up writing my novel.” I’ll use this for like two years until they start asking about progress reports, after which I’ll tell them it’s become a trilogy. Here’s some gaming news from Japan.

~News Bits And Heath Rages a Little~

Square Enix recently gave the Vita an indirect middle finger by announcing a Dragon Quest VII remake for 3DS. The insult is not the system of choice or the remake existing — those are fine. What stings is that this was just announced within the last month and already has a release date on it. Final Fantasy X was announced for Vita over a year ago and doesn’t even have a release year declared; Dragon Quest VII for 3DS has just been announced and is already scheduled to arrive in stores on February 7 of 2013, in Japan. That’s kind of a kick in the balls. The Vita won’t sell without support from third parties, yet the third parties see the current low sales and hesitate to jump into the fight, creating a sort of vicious cycle. It’s like how all the jobs in certain fields require experience, but you can’t get experience without getting into one of said jobs.

Dark Souls II will go multiplatform, even though Dark Souls was PS3 exclusive in Japan. This kind of thing happens more often than you might think; for example, in the very near future, Metal Gear Rising Revengeance will make its debut exclusively on the PS3. Considering what I said above, does this make Vita the new 360? Eh, probably not.

Here’s a battle trailer for the upcoming PSP RPG Digimon Adventure.

And have a look at the story:

~Game Releases~

Last Thursday was the first game shipment day of December in Japan, and as I write this, shoppers can get their hands on some great stuff, mostly in the form of discounted stuff. Here’s the breakdown per system.

For PS3
Today marks the budget-line releases of the Devil May Cry HD, Saints Row The Third, and Biohazard Revival Selection. The big gun, however, is Yakuza 5. I’d say it’s a contender for top honors on the software charts, but then I remember that the Wii-U comes out on Saturday, so all bets are off.

Battlefield III Premium Edition‘s 8,800 yen price tag might seem like a lot (it’s like $107), but the special boxed version of Romance of the Three Kingdoms 12 will be going for 11,340, or $137. These pricy boxes, along with the less-expensive and non-special ship simulator Port Royale 3 will all be hitting PS3 on the 13th.

Highlights of the 20th include a new Fist of the North Star game and adventure title White Album 2, and that about closes out the month for PS3.

For PSP
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and, weirdly enough, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix are both being added to the Square Enix’s ultimate hits line today. I don’t understand why they don’t just make Final Mix the default, but, whatever. Final Fantasy Type-0 also hit the discount line, meaning the year-old adventure of Suzaku is going for 2,980 yen. Check my review right here on PSLS to see what you’re missing. Unfortunately, the market for PSP and Vita isn’t so hot right now, so Square Enix is having a rough time ponying up the money for international publishing rights to the theme song. And writing a new one isn’t exactly an easy task. Therefore, localization may be a ways off, if it ever happens at all.

The 13th mostly continues the discount train — to be expected of a seven-year-old system. It does get a new Arcana Heart game and Jikkyo Powerful Pro Baseball 2012 on that day, though. The 20th is like, official adventure day for PSP, as it gets nine new ones that day, one of which is shared with Vita. It also gets the RPG One Piece: Romance Dawn, complete with PSP hardware bundle.

For Vita
The PSP and PS3 are pretty much phoning it in this week with mostly budget re-releases, but since Vita is still less than a year old, it doesn’t really have those to offer. For this reason, we see no new Vita games until the the 13th, when it gets Spy Hunter and Jikkyo Powerful Pro Baseball 2012 (pictured below).

On December 20th, one might see that the Vita is getting five new games and say “Oh hell yeah! Sony and those third parties are finally bringing the big guns, just in time for the Christmas sales!” until you see what those games are. One of them is AKB 1/149 Love Election (see screen-kissing videos in last month’s column), which it shares with PSP. Three of them are levels one, two, and three of a cram-school study buddy, so that’s not exactly what serious gamers were hoping to see on Sony’s new handheld. And the last soldier standing on that battlefield is Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified, a soldier which should have never been on a battlefield to begin with. That, right there, is how the Vita officially caps off its first year in Japan. That’s what makes up its anniversary week, and final week of December — a dating sim that it shares with PSP, an academic non-game, and Crap Ops. As a hopeful Vita owner living in Japan, that frustrates me. I’m sorry that this is the second time I’ve pretty much flipped over a table because of the Vita situation, right in the same column.

~Famitsu’s Most Wanted~

Here are the top 20 most wanted games, according to Famitsu’s reader poll. The Wii-U is out now, but number six is what it is because the polling ended before launch and before the magazine went to print.

20. Tales of Hearts-R (Vita)
19. Soul Sacrifice (Vita)
18. God Eater 2 (Vita)
17. DmC: Devil May Cry (PS3)
16. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)
15. Dynasty Warriors 7 (PS3)
14. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle (PS3)
13. Grand Theft Auto V (PS3)
12.Final Fantasy Versus XIII (PS3)
11. Shining Ark (PSP)
10. Ace Attorney 5 (3DS)
9. Luigi’s Mansion 2 (3DS)
8. Summon Night 5 (PSP)
7. Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage (PS3)
6. New Super Mario Brothers U (Wii-U)
5. Shin Megami Tensei 4 (3DS)
4. Metal Gear Rising (PS3)
3. Dragon Quest VII (3DS)
2. Fantasy Life (3DS)
1. Monster Hunter 4 (3DS)

~Nonsense~

Seeing Christmas lights on the outsides of houses is less common in Japan than it is in North America, but you’ll still see them here and there. The cute display above belongs to someone down the block from me. I had to snap a shot because of the excellent Japanification of Christmas that it shows. Awesome.

We put up our tree this weekend and had our Christmas party on Sunday. Just as described last month, the food consisted of a mixture of things my wife and I grew up with and things the locals here grow up with. I had one plate that had the perfect juxtaposition of mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, garlic bread, two pieces of egg sushi, a riceball, and a big slab of raw salmon. Welcome to Japan. メリークリスマス.