Time Dance Mafia – PlayStation JapanStyle Feb. 2015

February 12, 2015 Written by Heath Hindman

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As I’ve been watching the Japanese sales charts with the new year, I’ve been wondering when PS4 versions of multiplatform games will finally start to outsell the PS3 versions without question. As it is — and as it’s been since PS4’s launch — we’ve always had to wonder. But when Far Cry 4‘s PS4 version outsold the PS3 version rather handily last week, and did so all while being in short supply, I thought that 2015 had marked the official changing of the guard. I stand corrected this week, as Dragon Ball Xenoverse went the other direction. Welp.

Maybe the DB fanbase simply hasn’t upgraded to the new gen yet? (Wait, that could apply to most people.) It is fairly common to value graphics below other aspects of a game in Japan, which has been one factor in the nation’s hesitation to move up. Both versions were the same price, so I don’t think that’s a factor, unless of course some shops were independently cutting the price of older gen versions. I doubt that happened, though; if anything, I’ve actually seen the reverse, here in Japan.

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In Japan, he’ll have plenty of unsold PS4s to hide behind.

 PS4 versions will be the US equivalent of $2, $5, or even $10 below the PS3 versions. It’s been like this for Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes at a couple of shops I frequent. It seems weird on the surface, but they’re doing what most businesses do: lowering the prices of the products with visibly lower demand. If the PS3 versions are selling more, then those versions keep their high prices longer. I guess that makes things easier for me!

All of this makes me wonder about Dragon Quest Heroes, which releases on the 26th. Its PS3 and PS4 versions have different prices, by like 10 bucks. Will the lure of sharper visuals and 60 frames per second (versus 30 on PS3) be defeated by the chance to save some cash? The PS4 has that hot Metal Slime bundle going for it, though, so I dunno. It’s hard to say. PS4’s ride has been such a roller-coaster in Japan, not much could really surprise me at this point.

I’ll go ahead and give quick thoughts on a few games I’m playing.

Yakuza 5 (PS3)

Maybe I’m spoiled because I’m playing this on my PS3 while I still periodically go back to Ishin on my PS4, but I disagree with the notion that 5 is the best Yakuza game. When it gets localized, I’m sure people will say that it’s the best, but I don’t share that opinion. It’s not a problem with the generation gap; Yakuza 5‘s flaws aren’t limited to hardware. No, it’s more of a pacing thing, for me. Instead of a great mix of story, exploration, and combat in this perfect balance we’ve enjoyed in previous games, Yakuza 5 too often goes for huuuuuge story sequences followed by marathon battle festas.

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It’s like, imagine never eating dessert after a meal…and then one day suddenly, you’re forced to survive on nothing but cake for an entire weekend. It might sound nice, until you think about how that would actually feel.

I love most other things, though. It’s got a great story, cool music, and I love-love-love seeing more cities than just Tokyo. It’s got Fukuoka, Sapporo, Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya set for your exploration pleasure, though sadly, there are invisible walls more often than in previous games (I guess with five cities but still only one disc, some cuts had to be made). Osaka has been my favorite so far, and of course, so amazingly similar to the real place. I expected Sapporo to be my favorite in this game, but I found that Y5‘s version of the city was too restrictive in where I could go and what I could see.

 Omega Quintet (PS4)

Bullet in the fucking head.

I wanted to love this game. I really did. I love cute Japanese shit, right? I like Hatsune Miku, I love Girls & Panzer, I enjoyed Uta Kumi 575. I like the sexy anime shit too, as I gave good marks to Senran Kagura. But this…doesn’t look like the eventual review is going to earn the praises I gave to those games.

So far, I’m finding the story unbearable, the graphics inconsistent, the music ear-bleedingly bad, and combat boring. The battles are getting gradually better, but wow have they been taking their fucking sweet time. It’s a good battle system, but I think it’s padded out where the fights still take way too long. They drag on in ways that don’t feel like the natural progression of an RPG fight, just someone saying “Hm, can we make that take longer? Hey, give the monster more HP” and calling it a day.

I’ve still got a long way to go, but wow has the early going of this game been awful so far.

Chrono Trigger (PSP)

Though officially wrapped up  just six short weeks ago, I can’t help but go back to this from time to time. One day, I’ll actually get all of those endings. I recently made a retrospective video about this game, which has spoilers, but the game is 20 years old. So… I just start shouting them out during the video. It’s not the best-looking thing in the world, but I did what I can. I hope you enjoy it.

Okay, that about does it for me here.

Thanks as always for reading the musings of a PlayStation gamer in Japan.