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Magical Console .Hacking – PlayStation JapanStyle March 2013

March 16, 2013 Written by Heath Hindman

The PS4 has been revealed — and it’s surprisingly called the PS4 after all — and confirmed to have no hardware-based backward compatibility. You know what that means. It’s time again to buy old consoles and fill a fallout shelter with them! So here’s what I picked up:

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my second copy of Ni no Kuni. Trading it into the store won’t get me a worthwhile amount of money, because the game is a year and a half old here in Japan, plus the All-In-One Edition (which includes the DLC) came out more recently. The same idea applies to eBay; I can’t get much cash because the international versions have been available for a while now, and mine would be less preferred to an English version or the Japanese All-In-One Edition. I guess, since I’m building a gaming fallout shelter, that it wouldn’t hurt to have two copies of such a great game, anyway, eh?

Let’s roll on with the column proper, eh? よし! 行くぞう!

~Famitsu Reviews~

Weekly Famitsu gets great news scoops, interviews, and images, and also has fun reader-driven features like the Most Wanted. These are some of the reasons that it’s Japan’s most popular gaming magazine. The reviews, on the other hand, are not taken seriously by anyone here. I find it funny when gamers from around the world defend their favorite or most anticipated games by saying things like, “Yeah, well, it scored 35/40 in Famitsu,” as if that’s hard to do. To people in Japan, it means nothing, so why would be of any importance to people outside of Japan? The fact is, it’s hard to get a low score in Famitsu. A good tip for any young game designers out there: release your game in Japan first, so that Famitsu can review it and set the tone by giving it high marks. I wrote an article about this, and a bunch of Japanese gamers agreed with it, even not seeing the point of discussing Famitsu reviews. Well, gaijins keep yapping about those marks meaning something, so let’s take a look at the most recent issue, shall we?

Atelier Meruru Plus (PSV) – 9/9/9/8
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate (3DS) – 7/8/8/8
Dead or Alive 5 Plus (PSV) – 9/9/9/8
Disgaea D2 (PS3) – 9/8/8/8
Little Busters! (PSV) – 8/7/8/8
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS) – 9/9/8/9
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 (PS3) – 10/9/9/9
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 (PSV) – 9/9/9/9
Pretty Rhythm: My Deco Rainbow Wedding (3DS) – 7/7/6/8
Pro Baseball Spirits 2013 (PSP) – 8/8/7/7
Pro Baseball Spirits 2013 (PS3) – 9/9/9/9
Pro Baseball Spirits 2013 (PSV) – 9/9/9/8
Tiger & Bunny (PSP) – 8/7/7/7

When you count the different versions of each game (which we might as well, because they’re getting different comments and different scores), that’s a total of 13 reviews, the absolute lowest score among them being 28/40 — or in other words, a 7 out of 10. Holy crap. And it was some who-cares game to boot. Next time your stupid friends talk about something getting a good Famitsu score, as if that means something, link them to this and/or remind them that 70% of Famitsu reviews land North of the 30 mark. Japanese people don’t care about Famitsu reviews, so why should anyone else?

~How Heavy Is This Rain?~
Studio Japan is currently working on a game called Rain, and the team just launched the game’s official website and Facebook page. I get a vibe similar to things like ICO and The Unfinished Swan when I watch the videos, so I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes on this one. Here’s a trailer:

I hope the main character is named Jason.

~Game Releases~
Beginning with the handhelds!
For PS Vita -
You’ve probably read that the PS Vita has been seeing some great sales in Japan lately. The system had been moving around 10,000 units a week, but since the end of February, has had two straight weeks of topping 60,000. This is no doubt thanks to the significant price drop and several key pieces of appealing software, namely Phantasy Star Online 2, Soul Sacrifice, Tales of Hearts-R, and Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus. I’ve spoken at length about the Vita releases coming up this month, so to save everyone some time, I’ll link you here and move on to the other systems.

For PSP -

Already released this month for PSP include Ultraman All-Star Chronicle (pictured above), Winning Post 7 2013, Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment, Frontier Gate Boost+, Uta No Prince-sama All-Star, and a Best Price (think “Greatest Hits”) version of The Legend of Heroes: Zero no Kiseki.

Don’t let the name of Sword Art Online fool you; it’s not actually an online game. It’s an offline game about people in an MMORPG, not unlike the .hack series. Here, check out a trailer:

High-profile releases for PSP coming later this month include Tiger and Bunny: Heroes Day on the 21st, then Megpoid The Music # and Fate/Extra CCC on the 28th. And of course, there are practically innumerable love adventures and visual novels being released for Sony’s original handheld every Thursday. Still.

For PS3 -
PS3′s month began with some shooters that are now old news to the West, Crysis 3 and Far Cry 3. It also got its own version of the now-former Vita exclusive Hatsune Miku Project Diva f, which sold quite well in its opening week. The big releases just a couple of days ago were God of War: Ascension and Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix. The new God of War is also available in a special bundle with a limited edition controller for $100 (the game itself is $60). This peripheral is not unique to Japan, but it’s nice to see it coming here. Uncharted 3 also hit the Greatest Hits line this past Thursday, so congrats to Naughty Dog.

A rare case of games being released on a Wednesday, the 20th will be big for PS3, as it unleashes One Piece Pirate Warriors 2, Pro Baseball Spirits 2013, and Disgaea D2. All of those franchises sell big numbers here, and smart money is on One Piece to lead the software charts. They’re coming out on Wednesday in order to catch the sales wave provided by the national holiday on that day, the Spring equinox.

The last big release of the month comes on the 22nd, when the Biohazard Anniversary Pack arrives. For about $90, players can snag the Resident Evil Director’s Cut, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3: The Last Escape, the Revival Selection (which is RE4 and Code Veronica), Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, all bundled in a commemorative box.

For PS2 -
Yes, the PS2 is on this release rundown for the first time since PlayStation JapanStyle’s beginning. Thanks to Final Fantasy XI‘s PS2 version still being somewhat popular in Japan, the PS2 technically claims a new release this month, in the form of Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin. I’ll bet they don’t find it! Players will begin seeking on Wednesday, March 27th.

~Till Next Time~

Oh yeah, and here’s my other new acquisition, the .hack//Hybrid Pack, which includes a movie and a fighting game on one blur-ray. I love .hack, but somehow forgot that this exists. I’ll probably write an article about it once I’m through. Man, I just realized I did a lot of shopping this week. I gotta slow down. Well then, till next column, I’ll be trying to enjoy what’s here instead of overspending on more. You do the same!

~じゃあ、また来月ね~